My premature bike journey and how I wrecked my bike.
I live in New Zealand and I've encountered so many "speed bumps" in my quest to learn to ride.
To start off i've always wanted to learn to ride thanks to my uncles who rode bikes. As a little kid I used to miss the school bus on purpose because it meant my uncles would come pick me up on their bikes!
When I met my partner, who is a rider, he bought me a learn to ride voucher for Xmas. I went along to that and unfortunately I didn't pass the course. However, I felt like because my bf was friends with the instructors they didn't really take me seriously and just saw me as a ditzy young girl. They told me I should take the test on a scooter. I think my partner also didn't realize how serious I was about wanting to ride.
Needless to say I chose not to utilize their services again and enrolled with a different riding company. The instructors from this other course were more than helpful and I came out with my certificate and later passed the theory.
I was so excited to finally purchase my own bike. There was a great deal at the bike dealers and I signed up to finance a bike. Unfortunately, I got a call saying because I had a mortgage - I wouldn't be able to afford to finance the bike. I guess being 23 and owning your own home doesn't always work in your favour. Finance companies see it as a bad thing. Truth is the only reason we managed to buy our own home is because we live on very strict budgets.No matter what I said to them, I couldn't convince them that I could afford the repayments.
In the end I managed to get enough to buy a secondhand bike from my bf's work.
I'm 5ft 4 but have a short inseam so the Honda Vtr250 was perfect. I couldn't touch the ground, but I figured this was as close as I could get with the bikes I was interested in.
I was completely shocked by how heavy this bike was, even though its only 160kgs, but I'm 54kgs. I really struggled with handling the bike.
When we finally got the bike home, I tried to manouevre it out from our carport( which sits on a downhill slope). I dropped it and bent the rear brake.
When we took it to a car park lot the second time, I was practising turning right and i looked down and suddenly dropped the bike. I broke the brake lever this time.
Third time we were riding around and I was getting Much more confident, my bf took me to a wharf which is usually empty, except of course is time it wasn't. I was on a downhill slope and I figured I wouldn't be able to pull a u-turn yet, so I wanted, to stop the bike and push it around. I must have braked with the wheel slightly turned and down it went in front if everyone in the car park.
Now at this stage I was still not allowed to ride without my partner, as he was just trying to be protective. I begged him to take me to one of the university carparks so that I could practice my slow speed manouevres and emergency braking. Later I felt like I had achieved so much in that hour at the carpark.
He let me go riding with a friend. They took me through town so I could practice my stop starts at the traffic lights.
I had even learnt earlier to do hill starts by reading articles online . I was obsessed with learning to ride better.
Despite those 3 drops I was still more determined than ever to sort my riding out. Every time before we went out, I wouldn't let my bf help me pull the bike out. He said it was all about technique so I kept practicing and I finally got to the stage where I could pull it out if the carport all on my own.Eventually, I finally took the bike out on my own. I rode through my old street, onto the motor ways and even through the city. I was so proud of myself and felt confident and in control.
On valentines day he asked if I wanted to go riding and I said yes of course. I asked if he could take me back to the university carpark so I could practice my slow speed manouevres again. He agreed and off we went.
This time however he decided to take a scenic route with lots of turns and twists. He would tap the brake to signal to me that I was to slow down around certain corners.
We got to an intersection and he signaled left and I followed him, but when I went to turn he was going really slow.I keep trying to think what went wrong. i remember downshifting to slow down before the turn, i turned and he was really close in front of me and instead of braking i decided to go around him. I slipped on gravel and next thing I'm in a ditch. My poor bike was completely screwed. The front end dash and lights, mudguard etc were damaged completely. I looked at the clocks and said to my partner, "I've only had the goddamn thing for 455kms!!!"
I walked away with literally a scratch on my thumbnail.
There was no way we could ride it home so I had to call a tow truck. I was a little angry (in my head) that he had taken me though this route because after the crash he said to me "don't worry it's not your fault I've seen many experienced riders crash on this corner and that's why I was going slow". But why on earth did he even take me there when he knew it was dangerous and when he knew all I wanted was to go to the carpark.
The tow truck guy even confirmed that there had been several accidents on this intersection.
I then had to face the embarrassment of all my neighbors coming out to see my poor bike being unloaded off the tow truck. (It was late at night and the tow truck was soooooo loud hahah).
My pocket is now empty thanks to the tow.
I'm only insured for 3rd party fire and theft.
The bike isn't worth fixing.
I can't afford another bike for at least a year.
And to top it all off the comments I get from people are things like "oh you should have got a GN250" or "oh see you shouldn't be riding" or the worst "oh you should have got a scooter".
My bike riding days may be over for 2013, but I'm far from giving up. Riding was the best thing, and it gave me something to look forward to every day.