New Rider Frightened On the Street
Hi, I took the MSF course a few weeks ago and didn't pass the skills test - 3 points away from passing, mostly because I had trouble getting my speed up enough and they take points off if you're not going a certain speed for the exercises in the evaluation.
I bought a bike that I really like the look of and is a good size for me... Kawasaki Eliminator 125 (small, but looks like a cool cruiser). I have practiced on three occasions in a nearby parking lot, warming up and doing the drills that are on the skills test, among others. I can now do everything that is needed to pass the test, including the figure 8, and I have gotten up to speeds of 20-25 mph on a straightaway.
My boyfriend and another couple we're friends with helped me practice, and it was really fun. Then they wanted to go for ice cream, and we rode about 1.5 miles to the town center on Memorial Day evening in relatively low traffic. I was scared to death! Even with one person in front of me on a bike and two behind as a buffer between me and tailgaters, it was pretty scary. We were probably doing 25, tops, and there were cars lining up behind us. I was shaky when we stopped for ice cream. On the way back, when it was time to turn off the main road onto our friends' street, I totally forgot all I knew about "slow, look, press, and roll," and didn't slow down enough, then took the turn too wide, on the clutch instead of downshifting properly before the turn and then speeding up while in the turn.
That really shook me up. Nothing bad happened, but it made me realize that if something I totally know how to do can just go out the window like that, I shouldn't be riding in traffic! But I feel like I'm slowing my friends down and I should be ready to go out and ride around.