Thursday, February 17, 2011

If at First You Don't Succeed...

...Stomp your feet, scream, and maybe even cry. Go ahead, have a full blown tantrum if you must.  I'll wait.
I'm sad to say that I am NOT exactly a natural at learning to ride my new bike.  You can't imagine how many times I've wished that I had learned to drive a manual transmission when I was younger! I should have kept trying until I got it and not given up on it.  I don't like not being good at something, so it's been a blow to my pride to have to keep trying, and trying, and trying on this motorcycle.  Sometimes I can't even get it in first gear without stalling out.  Why?  Because I forget that I have to use the clutch.  Oops.  But honestly, I'm doing good to remember that I have to actually put it in gear in the first place.  Although technically I have to do that in my car too, it's just that in Roxie (my totally awesome Scion xA) I go from Park to Drive. 

I made an attempt to drive my bike around the neighborhood Friday afternoon by myself.  Eek!  You can't even imagine how nervous I was.  I just knew I was either going to crash it on my way to the safe loop area where I could practice without worrying about much traffic, or I was going to get it out there and then somehow mess up and not be able to get it back home.  I'd never taken the bike out on my own before!  Sadly, my fervent hopes that it would turn out to be a wonderful jaunt and that I would finally "get it" and be a pro rider before I returned home were quickly dashed. 

I lost count of the number of times I stalled out just trying to get it out of my driveway.  That whole "let off the clutch slowly while giving it just the right amount of throttle at just the right time" is pretty tricky.  I did eventually jerk and buck my way down the street to the stop sign.  But this was where my real worries lay.  I had to be able to go from a stop to a start WHILE turning, and immediately go over a speed bump, after which was another immediate turn in the opposite direction.  The maneuvering this requires is difficult enough for me, but when you add in the fact that there is traffic coming off the highway in one direction, plus traffic leaving a neighboring development coming from the other as well, it really got me worked up.  Did I mention I was turning left, so I had to cross both lanes of traffic?  Eeek!

I did manage to get through that intersection, but just barely.  I was still having trouble with trying to do a smooth take-off, and I felt like I was completely out of control.  Not a good thing when on a motorcycle! And by that time I was so frazzled my nerves were shot.  I couldn't make that second turn in time, and decided that was my cue to just turn around and head back home.  It was pretty sad that I only got out on the bike for about a quarter mile, and that I didn't drive it very well while I was doing it.  But I've got to say, considering how nervous I am about learning to ride a motorcycle, and considering I never could get the hang of driving a manual transmission when I was younger, I actually didn't do all that badly.  I may not be fearless, but the fact that I got on the bike on my own in the first place is a really big accomplishment.  I wanted so badly to find a good excuse not to go out.  While it didn't have the results I'd hoped for, I did have to pat myself on the back for trying and for making it through the intersection, even if I didn't get it back into that other neighborhood.  It may have been an ugly ride, but I didn't crash, I didn't drop the bike, and I didn't even cry!  I did stomp my feet a few times and my language was probably a bit colorful, but all in all it wasn't too bad.

I'm just going to have to keep at it and practice, practice, practice!  I like to imagine that one day I'll go out and everything will easily fall into place and then I'll return home lighthearted and carefree and I'll be able to laugh at my silly fears and wonder why in the world I ever thought learning to ride a motorcycle would be so difficult.  Hahaha!  (That's me practicing my lighthearted laughter.)

Images found here and here.


  1. Marvin - I'm doing a lot of practicing, and I'm starting to pick up a few things. Slowly but surely. :)

  2. Oh how fun! I have always wanted to learn how to drive a motorcycle. I drove a moped once and caught the hang of it pretty quickly but I suspect that isn't the same thing.

  3. Jen - I've never driven a moped before, so I have no idea if it's the same or not. Do you have to shift gears?