Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Confidence Takes Time

When I first decided that I would learn to ride a motorcycle solo, I had no preconceived ideas of what I would do with that skill. It was something I had always wanted to do, but had only gotten the courage after I had been through a bout with breast cancer. After that I knew there were many things I hadn’t done yet in life, and the desire to enjoy motorcycling was one of those that became the strongest urge at that time. I have never regretted the decision or looked back.

After completing and passing the Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginners class, I got my first motorcycle and started riding as much as possible. Of course as a new rider my confidence level was pretty low. I didn’t hesitate to go out on my own, but I was careful to plan my route ahead of time. There was a particular place where a slight incline came up to a stop sign which terrorized me at first. One area close to home has 3 traffic lights as you make your way up a steep hill. I feared that I would kill the engine taking off from a complete stop on the hill. I never did. Traffic was never a fear, as I learned to drive a car in the Silicon Valley so was used to fierce congestion and high speed freeway driving. Down hill twisty roads scared me, because I wasn’t able to slow enough to my liking. I remembered from the MSF class not to brake on a curve, watch out for gravel, etc.

As for the high speed freeway driving – it still is a challenge. Since I’ve been riding for more than two years, I have stayed mostly on the back roads. It is limiting. Now I am taking longer and faster rides. My motorcycle is light and small, but fully capable of going 100mph if I wanted to – I do NOT. My only drawback is that my tank only holds 2 gallons of gas, plus .2 gallon reserve. So I have to stop every 110 – 120 miles to fill up with gas. It isn’t a problem unless I am with others who have much larger gas tanks and don’t need to stop.

Now when I take some of those same routes I took early on, they are a piece of cake. I am so much more in control of the bike, more focused, and it’s more enjoyable and thrilling. When you’re learning you have to concentrate on basic operation of the motorcycle, maneuvering through traffic, and searching for turn-offs etc. It is almost overwhelming. Now I just enjoy the ride and the bike operation comes naturally. I only have to pay attention to other drivers on the road and where I am headed.

I have a desire to keep pushing myself farther and harder so as not to set limits that will keep me from fully enjoying motorcycling. I love riding, will do it until I am physically not able to any more, and count it as one of the things providing quality to my life. Now I just need to get a bigger motorcycle………

1 comment:

Jovita said...

I'm really grateful that I've found your blog. Even through I've only been riding for a few months I can totally relate to your experiences. Every time I turn... Look, Press and Roll goes through my mind. I just hope one day I'll feel as confident as you. Thanks again for the inspiration.