Call me crazy (as I did myself quite a few times during the last two days), but I went and took a basic motorcycle rider's training course. My hands are sore from clutch and brake operation, and I have a few bruises on my legs, but most importantly, I have my completion certificate!
The bike you see on the left is a Buell Blast, and that is the exact bike I and 10 other students were training on yesterday and today. At 350lbs (159kg) the Blast is considered a light bike, but I gotta tell ya, it is a whole lot of bike to throw around the range, particularly when you have never ridden a bike, like yours truly.
I have to admit, the training course was a real challenge. More so than autocross. At autocross, all you have to pay attention to are your inputs. Even your worst mistake will not cause more than a spin and a faceful of dirt you kick up as you go off the course. Not so on a bike: Your posture matters as much as your inputs, in fact, it is one of your inputs; and if you make a halfway serious mistake, you end up on the pavement, sometimes with the bike on top of you. There were moments where I was close to walking away, but I am glad I didn't.
I made it through the course without any injury, and passed both the written and the riding tests. At one point, I came close to dropping my bike after practicing an emergency stop, but both the bike and yours truly have come out of the little adventure unscathed.
With the certificate of completion in hand, I will only have to take a written test at the local DMV to get my motorcycle rider's endorsement. Not sure about getting the bike though.