Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Saturday Ride

Last week was a busy week, with that and my broken toe, I didn't ride. Since Riley would be at his dad's house this weekend I was looking forward to getting on Patience and getting out for a little bit of practice.

Well, plans changed, as they sometimes do. We ended up riding with Bernie and Carol over to Seaside. Since Seaside is 20 miles away, and you have to go on the freeway, it looked like I was going to be bitch for the day. (Some might say I'm a bitch every day no matter where I sit.) But it was ok, we had a nice ride over there. I was kicking myself that I didn't have my camera, there were some great photo ops. After we got to Seaside we made several stops just for trivial stuff and then took the long way home.

We stopped at the coffee shop to get some coffee. Duh! We were just sitting around talking and Dave asked if I wanted to keep riding (with him) or go and get my bike and practice. I definitely wanted to go practice. Bernie had some work he was doing on one of his bikes so they were going home to do that. He has a windshield that he said would fit on my bike and we could put it on and see if I liked it, so Dave told him we would ride over to his house. What? He lives five miles away, and I have to ride across busy streets to get there. Hmmm, can I do this?

Dave assured me that I could do it. He told me just to stay calm and relax and I could do it, but could I try to increase my speed this time so we were at least going the speed limit. LOL.

So we went to get my bike. I started her up and tried to stay calm, telling myself I could do it. As soon as we pulled out of the first street I almost popped a wheelie, oh no. That freaked me out, and I really got nervous. Then Dave turned left, I went to put on my turn signal and hit the horn instead, it startled me. Dave heard the horn and pulled over thinking that I was honking at him. He asked if I was ok, and I said, "No, I don't think I am. I'm just really freaked out." He didn't know about my little stunt so he couldn't figure out why I was so nervous. He gave me a little pep talk, and calmed me down, and then we were off again.

I relaxed a little bit and told myself to just take it one stop sign at a time. And guess what? I remembered the clutch every time. I have this little mantra now when I go to stop. It goes, "Clutch and brakes, and downshift, clutch and brakes, and downshift." Hey, it worked. My stopping is getting much better, and I didn't have any problems with the turns this time, even some that were a little bit harder than what I'm used to. I was starting to feel really good. I had a few assholes that got on my ass, but I just kept my cool and kept going. Before I knew it we were at Bernie's house. Yeah! That was the farthest I had been away from home. I felt good. We sat and chatted for a little bit, and Bernie put the windshield on for me and we were on our way again.

We decided to stop by and see Wolf before we went home. The ride from Bernie's to Wolf's was even better. I felt totally comfortable, ok, almost totally comfortable. No wheelies, no stalls, just riding. I was keeping up with Dave (for the most part), and I was happy.

While we were at Wolf's, Dave asked if I wanted to try to make it to the coffee shop. Well, it isn't as far as Bernie's and I did that ok. One of the streets we would have to go down is kind of busy, but not too bad. I figured I could handle it. By this point, the nervousness was gone, and I was aware of the other cars and stuff around me, but not paranoid.

As soon as we pulled up to the coffee shop, I turned off my bike, and let out a "Whoo hoo!" People were looking at me like I was crazy, they had no idea what an amazing accomplishment this was for me. But I knew. This was so exciting for me. It's a great feeling to know that I just go a little bit further every time.

The ride home was good, although I did stall a couple of times, just a reminder not to get too cocky, I am still learning.


FLHX_Dave said...

Crazy biker chick! Parking on the sidewalk like you are the shiznit and all. You did good. The only part that really made me nervous was that part when you got off at the shop. You were way beyond excited. I thought you were going to pop a rivet or something.

Good for you!

IHG said...

Yay B.B.! Thank you for being so honest about how this experience has been for you. I have a crapload of respect for you since roads in California are far busier then anything here in Iowa. I'm putting money on that you will be riding Patience to Sturgis next year!!

Ann said...

I'm really happy for you BB! That's a great accomplishment! Can't wait to hear more stories as you learn!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your stories. It takes me back. The first time I rode on the highway, I had to motion for my husband to pull off. I parked at a Subway and walked behind the building and cried, I was so unnerved. I have a friend who is learning to ride, I am going to send her your link to encourage her. I like your jacket!!

Anonymous said...

You are doing great girl!!! just keep up with the baby steps, and dont get too far ahead of yourself.

You are definitely right about some little thing being really unnerving. it can totally throw you off! Earlier this summer i skidded a little when a traffic light changed on me unexpectedly, and my riding was "off" for the entire rest of the day!

It's funny, every time I see that you have a new post i get all excited like I can't wait for the page to load to see what it says. i am so happy for you. It is fun reliving the memories of when i first learned to ride.

Kathleen Jennette said...

You are riding down the street and riding your own ride! Yea girlie! Be proud of yourself now and just keep practicing. It's constant, so rest assured you will get the clutch thing down the more you play with it. I always, and still do, at any stop sign, gently let out the clutch til it "grabs" and play with that til the light turns, then throttle on. Keep that wrist bent down and you won't over throttle! Eyes forward and not down....You are sooooo good! I am so excited for your next experience and story to tell!

B.B. said...

Dave- Hey, I was just following the leader.

Stephanie- Thanks so much for the compliment. I see no use in being anything but honest with my experience.

Ann- Thanks! Don't worry, I plan on posting every little step along the way. :)

Marcie- I'm glad it isn't just me. LOL. Please do send your friend my link, we can encourage each other.

Mrs. RC- Thank you so much. It is really helpful to me when I read all of your experiences as well as the other ladies who ride. It makes me keep going, because I know that someday I will be there.

KT- Thanks! Thank you for the encouragement and the good advice. I can use both.

B.B. said...

Oh yeah, just a side note...we went out this evening for a ride. Nothing major to report, except that I'm so happy! And I'm getting better every time.

Lady R (Di) said...

Wow! You are doing great! I know it will sound redundant here, but baby steps will turn into leaps and bounds before you realize it. I felt all the nervousness again as I read through the story. I once got so nervous, I was scolding myself out loud to straighten out my head. When I noticed a guy in a truck next to me sort of looking at me funny,(his window was down of course!) I looked at him and said. "What the hell you looking at?" LOL! Harley told me to quit doing that, I never know who I'm talking to. I just said, "well neither to they!" I'm proud of you, your doing great.

B.B. said...

Thanks Lady R! That is so funny because I am constantly talking to myself while I'm riding. It helps!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Hey B.B.,

Woo Hooo!!!!!

Becky said...

You did really good. I know how much concentration it takes when you're learning to operate the bike AND watch out for traffic. That's awesome!


B.B. said...

Mr. M- Whoo hoo!

Becky- Thanks! I am really having a great time learning to ride, even though it is sometimes stressfull.

-Connie said...

WooHoo!!!!! I am totally living vicariously through you!!! I'm not liking this waiting around crap!!! haha!! I applaud you for going out on them Cali roads... I do not miss that traffic at all!!!