Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

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Archive for May, 2012

Stuart Munro

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I read about the recent passing of Stuart Munro in the CVMG newsletter.

In case you have never heard of him, Munro was the brains and driving force behind motorcycle safety training in North America for over a quarter century. Having worked as an instructor for 11 seasons at both Georgian College in Barrie and Humber College in Toronto, the story brought back lots of memories, both good and bad.

When I first started teaching it was to help work my way through college. Graduated licensing was about to begin in Ontario and there was a mad rush to get through the old system and not have to wait five years at class M2 just so you could pass another test in order to drink and ride. We were working every weekend and even doing week-night courses to handle the volume.

Back then, the demographics of the students formed a sunken bell-curve with lots of know-it-all teenage guys, a smattering of adventurous females and a bunch of midlife-crisis males returning to motorcycling after a family and/or a divorce. Most of the students took it pretty seriously and did reasonably well on our fleet of little 125’s. Fact is, many of the young know-it-all’s did know a lot. They had been riding dirt bikes for a decade already. The women were competitive and eager to learn. The old guys were rusty but mostly competent.

Fast forward almost 20 years (I took a few years off between my 6 years at Georgian and 5 years at Humber) and things had changed. The cocky young guys were now trying to move up from a skateboard to an R1. No place to ride a dirt bike anymore… The women were just as serious and competitive as before, but their numbers were up. Still no experience though. The old guys that were convinced that buying that new Harley would increase their chances with the strippers at their favourite watering hole were not returning to motorcycling. They were total newbies with the reflexes and coordination of well… a forty five year old.

I eventually quit to have summer weekends to myself after all those years but did have some fun and make some lasting friends along the way. Like anyone who has worked as a teacher, when I get together with former colleagues the stories inevitably turn to “the dumbest student I ever had” stories, but there were lots of really good students as well. In fact they far out-numbered the bad. I hope that at least some of the lessons took…

More on this subject and Stuart Munro’s legacy to follow…

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May 3rd, 2012 at 7:04 pm

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