Motorcycle Monday: My First Solo Ride

I successfully completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundations Beginner’s Riders course and got my endorsement on my license.  You can read about that here.  Call me brave, call me stupid, mostly call me ignorant.

McGyver was still living in Germany, I had bought and moved into our new house in Shiloh, Illinois.  Most of the household goods came with me, including the 1998 Harley Davidson Super Glide.  The bike that made me start to fall in love with McGyver, you can read about that here.

While we were living in Germany, McGyver ordered a brand new 2003 Road King, not realizing that I was working with our dealer to order me a 2003 Low Rider.  When McGyver announced that he ordered a new bike, I knew that my plans for a new bike would have to wait.  I didn’t want to start our life off with two motorcycle payments, a car payment and a mortgage.  I wasn’t too happy that neither of us had communicated each others intentions, and I was even unhappier that McGyver beat me to the punch.

That’s not the worst of it, McGyver announced that he was going to sell the Super Glide to help off set the cost of the Road King.  WHAT????  We fell in love on that bike, how could you??????

Honeymoon Harley(The Super Glide packed up for our honeymoon)

I couldn’t bear to let it go so I offered to buy it.  Yep, buying the bike from my own fiancée, I’m an independent woman.  I wanted a bike, I wanted to keep the Super Glide, he wanted money for his bike, so we struck up a deal and that’s how the bike ended up with me when I got stationed in Illinois.

I’m also an impatient woman, impatience can aid in some rash and poor choices.  I’d like to say this time it was different but it wasn’t.  With new license in hand I decided that I was going to take a spin around the neighborhood. I was going to stick to the subdivision to practice my skills before I went out into traffic.  I’m sounding pretty reasonable right now, don’t you think?

I remembered everything McGyver taught me about starting the bike.  Make sure you are in neutral, pull the choke out,  flip the on switch, push start and roll back on the throttle.  Bada-boom bada-bing, she started right up.  While the S-glide was warming up, I put on  my helmet and gloves, safety first, safety always.

I threw my leg over the bike and sat it upright and tucked in the kick stand.  Nothing had been modified yet, it had buckhorn handle bars and sat pretty high (for me).  I was tiptoeing the bike and felt like my elbows were in my boobs.  Hmmm, nothing like the Honda Rebel I trained on.  As I sat on the bike, in the garage, at the top of my driveway, I looked back over my shoulders and realized that I had to back my bike down a frickin mountain.

Our house was elevated to maintain positive drainage which meant that the driveway had a decent incline.  Not like a mountain of course, but it felt every bit of it at the top of the driveway.  I’m brave, I’m stubborn, I’m stupid, hey I’m down the driveway and onto the street.  Exhilarated by overcoming an intense fear of backing down the driveway, I was ready to roll.

Click, first gear, release the break and roll back on the throttle,  moving forward, feet up and I was off.  Me, myself and the Super Glide.  Four houses down and I needed to make my first turn.  Holy Hannah in a hand basket, this bike feels waaaaay different.  I made the turn a little wide but there wasn’t any oncoming traffic, so it was okay.  I made another right into the first cul-de-sac of our subdivision. I knew that I had problems with the low and slow turns so I vowed to go up and down every cul-de-sac to practice.

I made my turn, coaching myself in my head, “look to where you want to go”  “do NOT look at your front tire”, “maintain speed and go girl”.  Woo hoo, I did it.  Look at me I’m riding solo, I’m riding a big ass Harley all by myself.  Another right turn and then another right into the next cul-de-sac .  This isn’t bad at all, pretty awesome actually.

This cul-de-sac was a little different, smaller, pitched and it had kids and cars all around it.  Not the clean circle of the last cul-de-sac .  I decided to take it slow and keep mindful of all that was around me.  Only I kept it too slow.  Do you know what happens when you don’t have enough speed?

You end up like the TV show Laugh-in’s clown on the tricycle.  The bike, my confidence, my pride, myself, went down.  Fortunately I fell away from the bike, I picked myself, wiped off the road grime and surveyed my situation.  I watched liquid pour from the bike and knew that it can’t be good.  I tried lifting the bike myself, no go; 135 pound girl versus 650 pound bike, not happening.

At times like this, you have to swallow your pride and start knocking on your neighbors door.  I finally ran into a gentleman who had a little experience riding.  He picked up my bike, rode it to my house and parked it in the garage.  I was eternally grateful and just as eternally embarrassed.  As a matter fact, I am blushing as I type this.

I did about $500 worth of damage, had to have the bike trailed to the dealership…recount my story to the *gulp* mechanics (they only snickered in my presence and saved the whole hearted laughter for after I left).  I also had to call McGyver, double gulp!  Pride goeth before the fall…hell, mine went before, during and after!

What did I learn?  Your first ride, on your first bike should not be solo and just because you bought a bike, it doesn’t mean that its ready for you to ride!

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3 Responses to Motorcycle Monday: My First Solo Ride

  1. mq01 May 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    🙂 and here i thought for sure it was gonna happen coming down the mountain… lol… geez now i have that song in my head. thanks for the big grin this AM!

  2. Andrew aka the Rider May 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Excellent post, don’t let that little mishap put you off Rhonda. There’s nothing like being out on a motorcycle, you can do it.

  3. Doug May 30, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Doesn’t sound like your little mishap got you down too much. It shouldn’t because EVERYBODY drops their bike at some point. Even long time riders screw it up every once in a great while. A few degrees too far over center, even stopped, and 600lbs or more of bike is going on without you, no matter who you are.