Friday, November 26, 2010

Too Hot, Now Too Cold...

Too hot, too cold, too wet, too much traffic, too this, too that. All excuses given by the new motorcycle rider. Anything to avoid the inevitable dread of those first few hundreds of miles on two wheels. I know these excuses well, having used them myself for about the first three or four months of motorcycle endorsement in my own life, 8 years and 220,000 miles ago. Here's a photo of me in Riders Edge Class, August 2002:

I had the endorsement on my drivers license for about a month before I screwed up the courage to even shop for a bike. Once the new bike was in my garage, I used every excuse in the book to avoid having to back it out of the garage. I had this ongoing internal dialogue: "I really want to go out and practice but I really don't want to go out and mix it up with cars but I really need to get out there and practice but I really don't want to screw up. It's too hot. It's raining..." and on it went. Sort of a love-hate relationship: I loved the idea of riding my own motorcycle; I hated the anxiety and nerves I was suffering from inexperience. Here I am, September, 2002...brand new Yamaha:

I would have butterflies in my stomach and the sensation that I was about to cr** in my pants every time I would force myself out the door. Of course, the more I forced myself out there on the bike, the easier it became but, like running, it just takes persistence and a lot of discomfort getting past those first hard miles before it becomes an effortless activity. Here I am, I'd moved up from the little Virago to a V-Star 650 about 4 months after getting my license:

The "break-through" moment for me was taking a trip with a local HOG chapter to Big Bend, 18 months after getting my first bike. We rode non-stop to Marathon TX the first day. Then, two months later, I rode solo to Pensacola Beach FL for a long weekend. After that, the fears were gone, replaced by a healthier respect for the risks involved and skills needed to successfully overcome a variety of riding and road conditions. I sold the V-Star 650 and bought a V-Star 110 Silverado a year after I got my license:

I've come a long way from riding a cruiser-style bike, minimal gear (check out those fingerless gloves!) to riding a sport-tourer bike and wearing full gear all of the time (ATGATT). I've now ridden over 220,000 miles and traveled all over the country, on many multi-week trips, traveling solo. So now I'd like to "pay it forward" by helping a new rider get her mojo.

I've offered to meet up with a brand new rider who's really struggling. I've offered to go riding with her - follow along behind her - as she gets out on her new V-Star and practices. She says she's having a hard time turning right from a stop, and haven't we all been there at one time?? She got her license endorsement in June, went out only a few times to practice with her husband in her neighborhood and to a nearby church parking lot. Very soon after that she quit riding, claiming it was too hot. Then she got the bike out earlier this month and it wouldn't start after setting up for so long.

Now she has the bike back from the shop - after having the carbs cleaned and tank flushed - and has asked for some help. Wednesday was out because she had other plans. Yesterday was out for the same reason.

Today she begged off, saying it is too cold. Tomorrow should be cold in the AM but warm up to the high 60's or low 70's. So we'll see...

1 comment:

  1. As Per Fri Nov. 26th 2010! This is the new "MOJO Rider! LOU. Yes, I keep making excuses to get out there! On straight roads, no problems, but stopping and going and turning!?! Me and My bike wanna rest on our side, or SO I think! Barb, when you get back, We WILL go practicing! I have to get use to my bike. Its an 1100, and my Course Instructor told me to change it for the V*650, so I think this is part of my fear factor by being told this. I have got to get my MOJO on with this bike of mine and show it who's boss right? Yes!, you say! But as you know, those butterflies are still there, but I got to get them out. No more excuses. You talked to Shay and hopefully she and I will get together before you get back from Florida, If not, I'll be waiting for your call: saying to me...YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY AND I BETTER BE READY! For, I will be unable with an excuse then. :) Thank You so much for writing about me in your blog. I thought I would just read your blogs, and when I read where you wrote about me....about 1/2 way throught it, I realized you were writing about ME! I said OMG! and had my husband come look at it. Thank You for your confidence in me and writing this, I'll be waiting for your call! Especially want to hear about your Florida trip, since that is where I am originally from! To be continued.......