Learning To Ride, Part 2

So the search for the “middle bike” was on and at the suggestion of a friend, I turned to Ebay.

Now, I had never bought anything off of Ebay, let alone a motorcycle, so I was pretty ignorant about buying and selling online.  I did have a basic idea about what I wanted in the next bike.   I knew I wanted a used bike – I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a new one only to find it wasn’t what I really wanted and I didn’t want to worry about messing up a brand new bike because of beginner’s mistakes.  I was also looking for a bike with mid range controls, meaning that the clutch and the brake were within reach of my short legs.  Other priorities included a lower seat height, low mileage and of course, it had to be within my price range.

A bike that seemed to fit my needs was available and I jumped into bidding.  I was the high bidder for a couple weeks, slowly increasing the amount I would pay, always staying within my budget but slightly ahead of the other bidders.  On the evening of the final bidding, I sat down at my computer, a gin and tonic by my side and played the game in earnest.

The problem with drinking gin and tonics while bidding on Ebay is that it’s easy to get excited and exceed the budget.  Which is exactly what I did.  Happily I moved onto my second G&T, entering in more bids and thinking “I WILL own this bike”!  Well … anyone who has bid for items on Ebay knows what happened next.

I lost the bike in the last 5 seconds.

Initially I was devastated, but when I woke up the next morning I was somewhat relieved.   Just two hours later, though, I received a call saying that the high bidder had dropped out!  I had won the bike AND they would let me have it for my original budgeted amount.  Needless to say, I was thrilled and the 2008 HD Sportster XL 883L with only 300 miles on it was  mine!!  Well, it was almost mine … first I had to get it home from North Carolina.

My good friend Michael agreed to drive me the two hours to pick up the bike.   Just like with Billy and my Honda Rebel, I was so glad to have an experienced biker with me.  Michael checked out the bike, loaded it up on the trailer and we headed back home to Virginia.


Buying the “new” bike, meant selling the old bike, so for a short period of time before I sold the Honda (not without some sadness I might add) I actually had two bikes in my carport!

I brought the Sportster home in November of 2009 and rode as many  miles as I could in preparation for the next phase in my biking life:  a 50th Birthday Solo Ride!   I gained experience by riding solo, riding with friends and with my local HOG chapter.  Slowly my confidence level grew and I was ready for my first solo trip.  I’d taken a long trip before (1000 miles) but this time I would be the driver and I would be alone.

In July of 2010, I left on a 925 mile, 5 day, 3 state trip, (which will someday be the subject of another blog entry).  I tamed the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee; rode through mountains and along rivers; on beautiful sunny days and during rain storms.  I also rode the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I ate at great local restaurants, visited fun local pubs, and every where I went people asked me about riding solo and celebrating being 50 years old!



I absolutely loved the freedom of those five days—no plan and the opportunity to spontaneously pick my route. I went from one town to the next, choosing the roads as I went along. The folks I met and who helped to guide me added depth to the ride. I often hear bikers talk about the wind in the face and the freedom of the road. I feel like I finally get it.  Even still, when I finally pulled back into Radford, that traditional end of the day beer sure tasted good (thanks Amy!).

So what’s next in this journey of learning to ride?

After 12,000 miles of riding, I’m dreaming about my final, “big girl” bike.  I’m still not sure what that bike will be but I do know that I am ready for it!

12 thoughts on “Learning To Ride, Part 2

  1. 12,000 miles! Wow! We can roadtrip to Maryland sometime and you can talk to my friend Peggy about a big girl bike. (No training wheels). But…your bike seems plenty big to me. Why bigger?

  2. Laurie, thoroughly enjoying the blog–your writing, your photos, and your story. I hadn’t realized this wasn’t THE bike.

  3. Thanks for replying, Ruth and Cindy! It’s not so much bigger as more room to stretch out. I do love my bike, but I specifically bought it with mid controls so I could easily reach the controls while learning to ride. Now I’m ready to not have my legs, especially my right one for some reason, to not have to be in such a stiff 90 degree angle much of the time.
    We’ll see what happens … it’s not like I can afford to get a new one anytime soon 🙂 and I do have a blast on this bike, for sure!

  4. Good for you woman!! I have a Kawasaki 440 but I never got as comfortable as you and after my husbands we don’t ride anymore. I think that’s probably been the hardest thing in life to give up. Keep on riding girlfriend

  5. The entire Blue Ridge Parkway…quite a ride! I wish you well as you discern the big step to your “big girl” bike. Sounds like fun. I have no problem conjuring up images of you walking into those local tappys along the road, striking up conversations, and meeting new friends. Keep rollin’!!!!

    • So good to know you are reading, Rick, and I’d love it if we could walk into one of those places together and have a beer. I miss hanging with you!!

  6. Laurie, thanks for explaining the rationale for hoping for a bigger bike. I, too, was totally at a loss for understanding the lure. Enjoy!

  7. Just reading all this really makes me want to get my permit and get my own bike so I can go when I want and not having to wait on Mike to take me. Someday I will have my own. Love reading all this keep it up.

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

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