Learning to Ride, Part 1

I’ll never forget my first ride on the back of a motorcycle (okay – not counting that ride on the back of a dirt bike in 1981,heading down a forest service road to the Salmon River in Idaho).  This time, I was immediately and completely hooked!  I got off the bike and wooped it up as I ran and threw myself into the arms of my friend.  A passion for motorcycles was born that night for sure!

I spent the first year riding on the back of a 2003 Anniversary Heritage Softail (“the Springer”) and I loved every moment!  Some women long to be the driver from the get go.  Me?  I was happy sitting  in the back, watching the scenery and acting the part of the “traveling, babbling companion”.  Yep, that describes me pretty well.

In May of 2009, I took the motorcycle safety course at New River Community College, and while I passed the class without a problem, I was the only one in the class who dropped the bike … in a parking lot … yeah, a flat parking lot.  Despite that less than stellar beginning, I got my license the very next week and immediately started looking for a bike.

My good friend Billy helped me to find the perfect starter bike and I’ll forever be grateful to him for that.

Having an experienced biker with me gave me the confidence I needed to take what was for me, a huge step.  Billy had a friend who was selling a 20 year old Honda Rebel and I jumped at the offer.  He took me to meet the seller of the bike, checked it out for me, watched me ride it in a church parking lot (where I did NOT drop it) and even rode it home for me.

      

Looks like he’s riding a toy bike, doesn’t it?

Home for the bike for the first two months was a storage unit.  I live at the top of a fairly steep driveway so having the storage unit gave me time to gain experience starting on, and getting up, hills.  A nearby parking lot offered just enough of a hill to practice on (I look back on it now and chuckle that it presented even the mildest of challenges).  Soon enough I brought the bike home and I was riding as much as I could.

I had such great support from my friends during this time.  Billy kept encouraging me to get out of town,  into the country and to stop “waving like Miss America” when I passed people I knew.  Amy, Debbie and Jan insisted that I let at least one of them know when I left on a ride and when I returned home.  Once I got my first HD bike, the GOAs and Tim gave me my first leather in the form of a vest and my father even gave me a HD winter cap to wear under my helmet.  My friends have supported, encouraged, and been very excited for me!

Soon enough I was begging to ride with the big boys and I managed to keep up pretty well, considering that I was riding a little 250cc bike (I called it my “baby bike”).  Within 3 months I was ready to move up to something bigger.  I rode that little Honda so hard during one ride that the muffler vibrated right off the bike!  It was the perfect starter bike.  I encourage new riders to start small like I did.  The confidence I gained as a novice on that little bike was invaluable.  But after riding 1500 miles, it was time to move on up.  I wanted my next bike, my “middle bike”, to be one that would offer me more of a challenge but still not push my capability.

The kind of bike that would be was still to be determined.  All I knew is that I was ready!

7 thoughts on “Learning to Ride, Part 1

  1. Although I heard bits and parts of how you got into biking, I had not heard the “complete” story…thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re amazing, Laurie! I love knowing that you are happily biking and I love hearing your stories and reflections.

  3. Pingback: The Third and Final: What Will it Be? | Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

  4. I wanted to contact you personally, but I couldn’t find a contact email, hence I have buried this. Anyway, in your recent post about computer problems you have what looks to be a password in plain view. If it is a password, perhaps you should change it now. ???
    Dunno…

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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