Learn to drive a stick without telling anyone

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Photo by Hagerty Media

Hagerty encourages everyone to learn how to drive a manual transmission, but what if one of our events is out of reach for a wannabe stick-shift enthusiast? Or perhaps your friends/family aren’t the best teachers, nor are they willing to sacrifice their own car as a teaching tool? You can avoid that hassle, as we found schools that specialize in teaching motorists how to drive a stick.

While not all of us (including the immune system of yours truly) are comfortable being in someone else’s car right now, this too shall pass: many of Lyft’s responsible rider rules apply here and likely will be the norm even after things cool down. So let’s see what we found in the world of manual transmission instruction.

Bay Area Stick Shift
Bay Area Stick Shift

Bay Area Stick Shift gives locals ample reason to learn to drive a stick, choosing the unique Scion XA as their chariot for two reasons: a center-mounted gauge cluster (so the instructor can eye the tachometer while respecting your space) and short gearing (more opportunities to shift on public streets).  I’d also add the Scion’s hydraulic clutch is easy to operate, but then again, how many cars sold in the last 20 years have a cable-operated clutch?

I was also surprised to find Shift Bay Area, a competing stick-shift schooling service, so it’s great to see the same market area can support two manual transmission schools.

Since we all don’t live in the Bay Area, it’s amazing what SEO-savvy websites pull up when you add “near me” in a Google search.

stickshiftdrivingacademy.com
Stick Shift Driving Academy

The Stick Shift Driving Academy is a group of manual transmission instructors, spanning across a large number of red pins on Google’s map (above).  And according to one of the academy’s Facebook Job postings:

“We sell stick shift driving lessons throughout the United States. Yes, really. We sold about 800 lessons in 2019 and are on track to sell about 1400 in 2020.

Those 2020 predictions might need a re-forecast, but the numbers are still reassuring: as more people spend their hard-earned money to learn how to drive a stick, the more likely they are to own a manual-transmission vehicle.  Perhaps for enjoyment, or perhaps to save a ton of money (cheaper to buy, often easier on fuel) on their daily driver?  No matter, it’d be nice to see a growth in manuals sold in showrooms.

If your local driving school doesn’t offer this service, perhaps it could offer the syllabus of the aforementioned network. Given the generally gloomy economic forecasts, those schools may consider it—provided they own a manual transmission car. Never hurts to ask.

And with this, someone can join a group of like-minded enthusiasts and know how to drive a stick seemingly out of the blue, scoring instant car enthusiast cred, and nobody shall be the wiser if that’s what you truly want.

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