Riding Free

I recently found the courage and will to finally go get my motorcycle endorsement. I was nervous and slightly frightened. No longer would I have the roll cage and four wheels to rely on for safety. I tend to be fairly careful but being on two wheels feeling exposed was daunting to me to say the least.

But I wanted to learn. It is something I have always wanted to do but one convenient excuse or another made its way to the front of why I couldn’t or wouldn’t go out and simply learn. I suppose if it hadn’t been for my work at the truck company I wouldn’t have learned to drive a clutch either. Hey, why learn on a 5 speed when you can learn on a 10?

I took the introductory class via the Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Safety club for a nominal fee. It was a two day course starting on a recent Saturday beginning with videos and some reading material in class. After about noon the first day they had us out on Suzuki 250cc street bikes learning how to mount and dismount. By the end of the first hour we were picking up our feet and putting them up on the pegs. The first time I did that I knew riding was for me. The rest of the course was spent learning incrementally more challenging tasks like maneuvering at slow speeds, shifting, turning, and avoiding obstacles. By the end of the course I was confident enough to ride on my own.

The weeks after I spent dreaming of my motorcycle course and wanting to get a bike. What kind do I want? How much to spend? On and on I mulled over this or that. I sat on numerous bikes testing out Triumphs, Hondas, Suzukis, and Yamahas. I took into consideration ride height, comfort, excitability, on and on. Eventually I settled in on a Harley Fat Bob. It looked right, felt right, and was right for me. I wasn’t confident enough to drive it home but once it was home I took it out down the street and back learning the various things about the bike like shift positions, engine speeds, breaking, and about gear. Oh man, gear. It accounts for 75% of the ride comfort. It may be a no-brainer to an experienced rider. To me it was mind blowing. My first pair of gloves was a cheap leather pair with holes punched in the top. At 50mph on a 35-degree night that is painful.

Since the beginning of April I have been commuting on my bike from home to the ferry terminal. It’s been an immense amount of learning and confidence acquiring. It has also been an immense amount of fun. I hope that  have what it takes to go on some cruises around the peninsula later this year.

My kids love seeing me on my bike as does Crystal. I feel it has been a welcome addition to my crazy list of hobbies.

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