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The Scooter Crew

Keith Kizer | Published on 5/25/2023

The Scooter Crew Training Day
By Keith Kizer
Great example of paying it forward. On May 7th, I was invited to participate as a volunteer at a “learn to ride” event. So, my son Kendall and I hopped in the Mini Cooper and headed to Nashville. The entire day was geared towards the dirtbike crowd, knowing these are the building blocks to riding on the street.  
Even though the event is put on by the Music City Chapter's former President, Tom Cleppe, it has nothing to do with the AMCA or the Music City Chapter. Yet, the current President, Gary Sanford, and several MCC members were on hand to help. This event is sponsored by another Cleppe company called, The Scooter Crew and the event was one of their “Get our and Ride” events. 

This is the fourth year they have conducted this event. For a small group event, it was well organized. As you drove onto his small farm, you were greeted by someone to help you park and direct you past the farmhouse and barns to a travel trailer parked in a wooded area next to a creek. This trailer served as the sign-up area. As you approached the trailer you were greeted by several people who had a table of swag to give away and explain basic concepts and have you sign the insurance waiver. 

Next, you were directed down the hill to the creek where you crossed over stepping stones to walk up an embankment to the open pasture on the other side. This is where I was tasked to greet everyone who crossed the creek. Jokingly, I was instructed by Tom to look for wet boots. "If they couldn't manage the stepping stones, maybe they should be riding a motorcycle." As they reached the field, I welcomed them and talked about motorcycles, and quizzed them on their experience with riding or lack thereof. I then pointed out a series of three tents. 

The first tent was the gear tent where each person was fitted with helmets, gloves, boots, and pants if needed. No exposed skin or shoes below the ankle here. Safety first. The second tent was a staging area to relax, enjoy water or refreshments and wait for your turn at tent three. At the third tent, they went into a full explanation of how to use a clutch and basic operating skills to ride a motorcycle. Then each rider was moved to the field where they were paired with an available motorcycle and instructor. 

The elongated field was purposely left as high grass/weeds. In the field was mowed a wide path the length of the field to serve as a safety zone. No one was allowed to cross into the tall grass without an instructor. Straight ahead there were seven bush hog width paths (lanes) mowed the width of the pasture (about 50 yards) which acted as individual practice lanes. At the end of each lane was another instructor who assisted riders in negotiating a 180-degree U-turn and heading back to where they started. Prior to any new rider being allowed to actually straddle the motorcycle, they were taught to walk beside the motorcycle until they proved they understood the concept of clutch and brake management. 

Once a rider was proficient at riding up and down the lanes, they graduated to two circle tracks (one for small children and one for older kids and adults) to experience continuance of riding. Not all graduated to the circles and one young lady was not allowed to ride astride the seat. She could not grasp clutch usage. In all 135 people went through registration, 60 of which were instructors, assistants, or spectators. 75 first-time riders experienced the thrill of riding a motorcycle. They ranged from 3 years old to mid-30s. A couple of instructors had been through this course as beginners several years earlier. 

It was a three-hour day of instructions before the volunteers took to the fields. Kendall and I left just before that, but I wish we had time to stick around. It was a great idea and well-executed. Hats off to Tom and Nancy Cleppe. 

Great idea for other chapters to mimic. As Tom would say, “a bike on the road (field in this case) is worth two in the shed.”

P.O. Box 663, HUNTSVILLE, AL 35804