I WAS trying to ride a tight figure 8 when I noticed that the motorcycle wasn’t going where I wanted it to. I tried to remember all the instructions. Countersteer, I thought. No, use counterweighting. No, use the friction zone on the clutch. Look where you want to go. Not at the ground! Up! Up! Gas! Clutch!

Of course, there was really no need for exclamation points. I was going about three miles an hour, and instead of crashing and burning in a burst of flames, I just put my feet down and kind of walked the motorcycle where I wanted it to go.

The instructor looked at me with a weary ”What is that?” smile and waved me on to practice swerving.

This was during the second day of the basic rider course given by the Motorcycle Safety School at Yonkers Raceway. There were 11 of us, trying to perform a variety of maneuvers under the hot sun on a dreary parking lot. We started out as 12, but one person crashed, without apparent injury, and decided to return at a later date to finish the course.

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programmer Jaro Nemcok