Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Motorcycle Accompanying Services For Quebec Residents!

Robert M. Pirsig & His Son, Chris.
"You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness". 
- Robert M. Pirsig, 

Meet Bella, My Moto Guzzi V7 Racer!
There is something intoxicating, alluring and exciting about riding a motorcycle. All around the world the cultural phenomenon of motorcycling and its use in music, literature, film, advertising and art is widespread. The study of motorcycles as a form of cultural icon also serves as a basis for discussing gender, class, identity and community amongst academic settings. Whilst for others still, motorcycling is in itself nothing more than a therapeutic and rewarding experience. As they say, "you never see a motorcycle parked outside a therapist's office". Whether you're returning to motorcycling or starting from scratch, if you live in La Belle Province you may find the process of obtaining your license nothing if not expensive and frustrating.

Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec Regulations 



Obtaining a driver's license for a motorcycle (Class 6A) in Quebec is straightforward. Like most provinces in Canada, you need to complete a theory course and practicum. The latter can be completed in one riding season. However, unlike other provinces where you are allowed to ride solo after finishing your closed-track test (step 4), la Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) in its infinite wisdom and arrogance has opted to make it mandatory for new motorcyclists to wait eleven (11) months before being eligible to take their road test (step 5). Making matters worse, during these eleven months new motorcyclists must be accompanied by a full licensed motorcyclist. Otherwise if you are stopped by the police, for any reason, you can lose your probationary license, have your motorcycle impounded and face a hefty fine.

Why Does The SAAQ Enforce A Period of Eleven Months 
With An Accompanying Rider?


Think of An Accompanying Rider as Your Guardian Angel
Officially, the SAAQ states that this eleven month period with an accompanying rider serves as a means of helping the new rider become accustomed to riding a motorcycle in the real world. It also firmly believes that this somehow enforces responsible motorcycle ownership and encourages new riders to follow the rules of the road. It is the same basis of understanding that is also applied to individuals presently undertaking the passenger motor vehicle license (Class 5). Sounds almost reasonable, doesn't it? That is, until you realize that this mandatory sentencing does not apply to teenagers undertaking their license to ride a scooter or adults undertaking a similar course for the Can-Am Spyder. Not only can one complete the latter two courses in a day but be off riding soon afterwards on their own!

What If I Don't Know Anyone To Accompany Me?!


Everybody Needs A Helping Push From Time To Time!
Bureaucratic nonsense aside, despite repeated rumours that Quebec would eventually terminate this policy, it has yet to happen. So if you are seriously considering getting your motorcycle license then for the time being you will have to put up with this regulation. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who do not know anyone who can accompany them which means they cannot legally ride alone. Fortunately there are three simple options to get the experience you need for your road-test without getting into trouble with the law.

Option 1: Join A FREE Riding Group


Est. in 2012 The Dragon Riders Have Chapters All Over Quebec!
The Pro's & Con's Of Riding With Strangers
Despite your average biker's rugged appearance, you really do meet the nicest folks on a motorcycle. There are numerous riding groups in and around Quebec that you can contact like the Dragon Riders who have chapters all over the province. However, keep in mind that not all riding groups will accept someone who is on a learner's permit. The reason being is that the accompanying rider must pick you up at your house and than drop you off at your home. This includes remaining with you for the entirety of your outing unless of course you can meet up with or be part of a larger riding group whereby the ratio of full licensed members is not less than learners. The benefits to this, however, is that you can create a strong network of peers and find yourself inundated with outings, perhaps more so than you can handle or even want. The downside to riding groups is that you may find yourself in large unmanageable numbers. When you are new to riding, it requires tremendous skill and concentration to ride in numbers greater than five. Also, you are often at the mercy of the accompanying rider's schedule - meaning be prepared for long days which may not fit into your personal schedule. Finally, remember that these guys are doing this out of generosity and kinship. Thus, if you go this route, show some appreciation and respect by offering to buy your accompanying rider lunch or even a tank of gas. Trust me, it'll still be cheaper than going with option two. Just remember, not all riding groups are created equal and hence do your homework in advance. Don't commit to fees especially until you have managed to get to know the group first and see if it really is for you.

Option 2: Pay Your Motorcycle School To Accompany You!


1-514-505-MOTO
Pic © Training Wheels: Ontario's Motorcycle Training Schools
If riding in large groups is too intimidating or simply not your thing, then this is a good route to go, if not costly. In Quebec, all driving schools offer six hours of theory over two days; sixteen hours of circuit training over four days; and ten hours of actual road riding over three days. However, if you wanted to hire a certified motorcycle instructor to accompany you for a few hours outside of prescribed teaching times then it costs extra. The costs range from $65.00 per hour (Group Rate) to $100.00 (Solo Rate) depending on school and whether or not you will be using your own bike and how many people will also be partaking in the class. Groups would never be made up of more than five people at a time and classes would begin and end at the school itself. Thus, if you decide to use your own bike you would have to trailer it to the school and then home again afterwards. The benefits are that you get extra one on one time with your teacher who will likely treat the session as a proper class and hence educate you on what you need to improve upon. Unlike option one, the school also works around your schedule and will ride for the amount of time that you are comfortable riding and what you can afford to pay to ride that day. Another important advantage is that it's a great option if you do not own your own bike yet and hence, you can rent a school bike (usually included in the hourly rate but check before booking with your school). The disadvantages of option two is the hourly cost and the likelihood that you wouldn't be inclined to spend so much for each and every outing - hence less road time!

Option 3: Hire Bella and Me At An Unbeatable Price!


With over a hundred thousand miles of experience riding motorcycles, I am an all-weather biker that commuted daily in good ol'Irish weather for nearly a decade in the Republic of Ireland. I've treated all the women (motorcycles) in my life with respect and have taught at all levels of academia; including having worked as a motorcycle (Class 6A) and passenger vehicle (Class 5) instructor. The latter was in Quebec via Sur 2 Roues Motorcycle School and Permis Plus. Thus, I am familiar with the training that you will be undergoing via your certified motorcycle school and can supplement said courses with private one to one or one to group riding experiences with all the advantages of option one and two but with none of the disadvantages. With just over 110, 090 miles under my belt, I ride for the therapy and pleasure of it and would like to share my enthusiasm with learners. Presently I am working during the autumn and winter as a professor at a local college in Sherbrooke, Quebec. One of the many courses that I teach is titled Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies, but I digress. The latter employment means that I have my summers free to work around your schedule!

What Bella and I Offer


Flexible Hourly Rates: Whether you live in Sherbrooke or *Montreal, I will happily ride down to your house and take you out for a prescribed amount of time as agreed upon prior to my departure. My Hourly Rate is $30.00 for one (1) hour; $50.00 for two (2) hours; $60.00 for three (3) hours. 

Flexible Schedule: Simply put, because I have my summers off I can work around your schedule and give you the one to one attention that you need in order to better prepare you for your road test. I can meet you in the mornings, afternoons or evenings.

Home Pick-Up and Drop-Off: Bella and I will personally pick you up and drop you off at your residence. It may be possible to arrange to have me drop you off at another residence, however, keep in mind that in Quebec it is illegal to ride without an accompanying rider. Thus, you will have to make the appropriate arrangements to have a **friend accompany you home or trailer your motorcycle home. Naturally, I can always come back and collect you at a later date and time if you wish to arrange that as well.

Event Drop Off and Pick Up: Are your friends unable to collect you and accompany you to an event? Bella and I would be happy to do so for you. We will personally pick you up and drop you off at your event. This can be a one way trip if you have made arrangements with your **friends to accompany you back home. However, if need be, we can happily collect you after the event and return you to your doorstep at the end of the day.

Day Trips: You caught the motorcycling bug and, like me, feel like you can get lost in riding for hours on end. No worries, Bella and I would be happy to accompany you on your adventure in and around the beautiful Eastern Townships. We can arrange pick-ups and drop-offs as usual. A flat-rate of $100.00 for a six (6) hour day trip will be charged! It is both my personal and professional opinion that learners will be very tired by the end of a six hour journey. The six hours begin at the time of pick-up.

Weekend Trips: This is geared for learners with plenty of road experience and who may have an event they want to attend in Quebec. Bella and I would be delighted to accompany you on your adventure. We can also arrange pick-ups and drop offs as usual. A Flat Rate of $300.00 will be charged for two days. The price includes accommodation and nourishment for both Bella and I. Weekend trips need to be planned well in advance.

*Nota Bene: A non-refundable deposit of $20.00 travel expense is charged for customers. This covers my journey to and from Sherbrooke. This fee does not apply to day trips or weekend trips.

**An accompanying rider must be a full licensed motorcyclist riding a motorcycle. It is prohibited in Quebec law to accompany a learner motorcyclist in a passenger vehicle (i.e. car/suv/pick-up) regardless if the driver of said passenger vehicle has a full motorcycle license (Class 6A)!

Frequently Asked Questions



Are you a Touring Company?


No. I do not offer tours. I offer an accompaniment service. During this service we will inevitably "tour" around on our motorcycles, be it in the city of Montreal or the windy roads of the Eastern Townships. However, they are not structured tours as you would find with a licensed touring company. The itinerary is based on the interest of the learner and hence your interest will dictate the route, including the type of roads we take that day.

Are you a certified motorcycle school and instructor?


No. I am not a certified school and hence you cannot undertake your motorcycling licensing with Bella and I. Nor am I any longer a certified motorcycle instructor. I stopped working as a motorcycle instructor in 2014. Since then, I have been concentrating on my career as a college professor and more importantly, as a father.

Is it legal for you to act as an accompanying rider?


Absolutely! I wouldn't be offering my services if it wasn't. Any individual or person with a full license can act as an accompanying rider in Quebec. However, it would be illegal for me to give private lessons with Bella, my motorcycle. The latter means that you cannot "use my motorcycle" for the purpose of learning how to ride a motorcycle and be charged for it. This is why people do not use their passenger vehicles to give private driving lessons for renumeration. Insurance companies will not cover the cost of any damage as a result should an accident occur.

Do I have to have my own bike?


Yes. No Bike, No Ride. Sorry. However, if you need help collecting a motorcycle, as in, I meet you at the place where you are collecting your motorcycle, then Bella and I would be delighted to oblige. There is nothing better than picking up a motorcycle for the first time - used or new! 

Do I have to have my own insurance?


Yes. No Insurance, No Ride. Sorry. Learners should have the minimum 3rd party coverage when riding in Quebec. If you own a new bike than it would be foolhardy not to have full coverage. I know it's expensive but inevitably, you're taking a risk in not having proper insurance. Proof of learner's permit, registration and insurance will have to be provided on pick up. 

Do I have to have a learners permit (i.e. Pass the Circuit Exam)?


Absolutely. No Learners Permit, No Ride! Proof of learner's permit, registration and insurance all have to be provided on pick-up. These documents are key to ensuring that you have a trouble free experience with police should we be stopped for any reason.

Do I have to wear full motorcycle gear when riding?


All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT). I understand that sometimes the summer heat can be unbearable. If that should be the case, I strongly suggest that you bring a bathing suit. We can find a lake and go for a swim or have a meal while we wait for the worst of the heat to subside. Some of the craziest injuries happen at slow speeds, in town, so yes, wear your motorcycle gear!

Your prices are for one to one. Do you offer group discounts?


Yes, group discounts are available. However, I generally prefer to meet with individuals on a one to one basis for the first time. This helps me get a better understanding of your individual needs. Also, it prevents situations where less considerate riders tend to "leave the group behind" or worse, less mature riders ruin an outing for everyone by driving dangerously. Once I have gotten to know everyone and their skill level I would be more inclined to arrange group outings.

How many people will you take out at the same time?


The majority of motorcycle schools will have a ratio of one instructor to five learners at any given time on the road. Personally, I am of the philosophy that less is more. I believe that a group of no more than three learners is best at any time. This allows for the riders to gain experience riding in a group, but the small size of the group means that individual attention is still guaranteed and safety is maximized.  As romantic as it may seem to go out and ride in a group of fifty people down the highway, it's actually more of a hassle than you may realize. Furthermore, the kind of kindred group riding you are thinking of doesn't happen over night. Most groups that ride together do so on a regular basis over the course of years and hence, can anticipate each other's every move whilst riding.

Do you use a support vehicle? What if I break down?


No. As stipulated already, I am not a touring company. I strongly urge learners especially to have a CAA membership or similar. Your insurance company usually offers said services should you break down on the side of the road. However, rest assured, should something like that happen, I will remain by your side until assistance arrives. 

My bike is in need of some repairs and new tires. 
Can I still hire you to ride with me?


Your motorcycle must be in sound working order. It is your responsibility to maintain your motorcycle. Follow your manufacturers specifications for service intervals. Ensure that your motorcycle has a good amount of tread on its tires. Furthermore, upon pick-up, if I see that your bike is truly non-road worthy I will NOT take you out. The last thing you (or I) need is a trip to the emergency room because your bald tires blew or worse, you had catastrophic engine failure of some sort. Believe me, it's happened to bikers I know!

When I grow up I want to be Giacomo Agostini! Can you help me?


Great! But if you ride your bike like Giacomo Agostini with me you're going to find one of two things will happen. 1) You will lose sight of me entirely and hence be on your own! As a result you will likely go to prison for the rest of your life once the cops catch up to you (They always do). 2) I'll find you and you will wish the cops had found you first. Just kidding. What will happen is that you will find yourself on your own and hence will likely have to make your way back home by yourself if you lose me! Take your time, enjoy the experience and scenery and save the quarter mile laps for the track!

What kind of bike do you own and can it keep up with mine?


Bella is a 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. The heart and soul of the V7 range is a 750cc motor that has a modest output of 50hp. At 395 pounds, with 55 pounds of torque, shaft drive and an outstanding 22 litre (5.8 Gallon) tank, rest assured that she can keep up with the best of them and if not, well she will surely surpass the average motorcyclist eventually once they stop for gas. With a 500 kilometre range I'll be stopping mostly for you! Furthermore, the speed limit in Quebec is officially 100 km per hour on major highways. I am not so prudish that you wouldn't find me pushing 120 km per hour however that is about as fast as I would go. The only thing the police love more than catching boy racers in their Honda Civics is catching middle aged men on motorcycles trying to relive their boy racer years. As a learner especially, you should also be focusing on learning how to ride your motorcycle properly rather than trying to win a quarter mile.

Can you help me prepare for my motorcycle road test?


Absolutely! However, I am no longer a certified motorcycle or passenger vehicle instructor nor do I own a certified motorcycle school. I am not a substitute for the required lessons and attestation from a riding school, but I can provide the invaluable hours of practice required to gain proficiency on two wheels. I have helped prepare many Quebec learners for their final road test for both Class 6A and Class 5 vehicles.

Can you escort me to another Canadian province or USA state?


No. There are some parts of the United States of America that allow Quebec Learners to enter and ride. However, it is important to remember that the laws revolving around learner permits for motorcycles differ from province to province and state to state. Thus, it may in fact be prohibited to leave the province of Quebec with a learner. The latter is especially true for most Eastern States in the United States of America and some Canadian provinces.

How do I book a ride and pay you?


There are many ways which you can pay for Bella and my services. Deposits and or full payments can be made via PayPal or CIBC Interac E-Transfer. I will be looking into registering and signing up with Merchant Account Solutions (MAS). Specifically, I would like to use a wireless credit card reader like SmartSwipe, a mobile card reader that connects to and turns my iPhone or iPad into a credit card terminal. Ranked as one of the best credit card swipers on the market today, it's a quick, secure and easy way to pay for our services. However, if you would rather pay in good old fashioned cash, that is perfectly fine with Bella and I as well! Take note that payment is due upon pick up!

What happens if I cancel at the last minute?


Please advise me in a timely manner if you decide to cancel your ride. 24hours minimum would be appreciated. I understand that sometimes things come up at the last minute. I am very reasonable. I will refund any monies that have been paid in advance for said ride. However, if I have already left for Montreal, for example, than you will forfeit the $20.00 travel expense which is separate from the hourly rates.

Parlez-vous français?


Oui, je parle français. Je suis originaire de Montréal. Je vais essayer d'avoir le dessus traduit en français bientôt. Sentez-vous libre de me contacter en français.

I still have questions about your services!


Should you have any further questions or comments feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience. You can reach me at the following email address: mrjcorbin@hotmail.com

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