Just getting started...

by Sandra

White Dragon

White Dragon

My biggest problem as a new rider MAY just be...overconfidence! I was a passenger for years and felt perfectly at home on the back of a bike. I had horses as a youth, and again felt perfectly comfortable in the saddle. I drive a stick shift car because for me driving is not a "chore" - it's more of a "dance", where my vehicle and I must work together to be smoooooooth. So, when I talked my husband into letting me get my own bike if he really wanted one, I just assumed I could do it - never really considered whether I'd have to learn how to drive all over again.

My Suzuki Boulevard C50 (800cc) was parked in the garage before I was signed up for MSF; I just HAD to take her out for a ride, to show my very nervous husband I could DO this...I was nervous and can only say that my entire thought process function shut down as I released the clutch...I panicked, rolling on the throttle while trying to grab the front break...shot out of my driveway and across our street, up the curb and laid my beautiful White Dragon down in the grass between street and sidewalk at the neighbor's across the street.

That maiden voyage did SO much to reinforce my husband's doubts about me having my own bike! He's still terrified I will kill myself. I had full gear on when I laid her down and walked away with a LARGE bruise on my left thigh and and even larger bruised ego. The bike had some grass in her foot rest, but was otherwise undamaged. I do sort of believe she has the spirit of a dragon (or at least a horse), she felt my inexperience, and she gave me my most valuable lesson: take charge or take the fall. This is NOT a game or a toy so pay attention!

I did not ride again that day; I called my brother and insisted he come give me a lesson ASAP, before my MSF classes, and before I became too afraid to get back on my ride. He was there that weekend and off to the parking lot we went! I am thinking of having another lesson with him, now that I'm licensed and thinking I'm so good - I still fight my bike, especially in turns. Watching him ride my bike, seeing how tight of a turn she can really pull off, seeing how far over she leans and stays perfectly stable, helps me to realize how to improve my skills.

My best advice is to remember that a bike is BUILT to stay upright. Although riding without thinking is suicide, trying to muscle your bike is just plain stupid and unnecessary. It's built for the job; as women we've already learned about leverage over brute strength...let the guys demonstrate their upper body strength - but it is not necessary to maneuver a bike. Use leverage; use our instinctive lower center of gravity; let the bike do the work.

Oh, and keeping my knees tight to the tank during a turn really helps me feel in control of a turn...possibly due to taking my own body mechanics out of the equation and allowing the bike to do what it was built for...it does not require my knee flapping in the breeze to complete the turn steady and true!

Comments for Just getting started...

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Mar 16, 2011
Thank You
by: Angela

I wanted to say thank you for your story. I myself have just started to learn to ride and your out if the driveway story is almost an exact replica of mine. I was scared to death and gave my boyfriend a heart attack. I have to say he was very encouraging and put me on a small dirt bike and had me ride for about a half hour and then told me I should get back on my bike so that I would not be to scared to get back on it. He was right now it is parking lot riding for me and thanks to all of you a good safety class. Thank you for all of the advice and stories.

Jul 05, 2010
Just getting started.
by: Rocco

I like they way you're analyzing and thinking about all the necessary skills you need to ride. You'll be a good rider.

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