Luciana, her husband and another couple just did a private motocross class, and recommended it to their friend Al and his wife. Al emailed me:
"My wife is intimidated because she's never used a clutch and fears getting hurt - if you have any info to help address that it would be great."
In case you're wondering the same thing....here is what I told Al:
Sure, I definitely can and it's completely understandable. I took the course myself and although I did have some very limited motorcycle experience, it was about 15 years back when I did the MX clinic. And getting on the bike felt very new initially - and it felt big, even though the bike was pretty small. I'm 5'4", 105-110lb and it took me until mid-morning to get really comfortable. That said, it only felt a little big, not "OMG, this just doesn't feel right" huge.
In terms of the clutch, it's a different "dance" of foot and hand on a bike then it is on a car...so almost everyone in our classes is "new to a clutch", since most of our students are new to bikes. (Car is clutch w/ palm of the hand and gas w/ foot; Bike is gas with fingers and clutch w/ foot!) As Luciana will tell you, there is plenty of time in the beginning while you're moving the bike very slowly to get your foot and hand working together smoothly.
In terms of getting hurt, most people are simply afraid of the bike falling on them. I know I was. At the end of the class, we were doing turns on a hill (the instructor makes this optional, since some students are simply tired at that point, and would rather focus on their skills on the flat area). As I was messing up my turn, the bike did fall on me and I went from initial panic to "oh, that's it?" in about 3 seconds. I was actually happy it happened, so that I learned how simple it is. Also as Luciana can attest, there won't be any high speeds in this Intro Class. Some people are disappointed that they don't go riding fast out on the trails (and you might be Al...), but that comes in the Advanced Class.
I hope this little bit of insight helps and I'd be very happy to chat with her to answer any & all questions.
We've had so many different types of women in our classes (physical and mental) that I really can attest to everyone's comfort. In fact, our first "test class" at that location was the daughter of my snowboard instructor and her 2 friends; 3 slim, feather-weight 16-year olds. I figured I would get "real" feedback from them - and they loved it. (Although like me, they said the bikes felt "big" at first.)