My learning-to-ride saga has been fun. I'll admit, I was quite scared. Everybody asked me, “Well, have you at least ridden a dirt bike or Josh's mini-bike or anything?” Nope. I never even got the hang of roller blades. Balance and me have never done well. I would have started learning on Josh's mini-chopper, but it's broken.
My bike is nice though. When I first sat on it to try everything out before we bought it, I was surprised at how light it is. It's a Honda Shadow just like Josh's, but Josh's is much heavier. We thought this was a pretty good bike for me to learn on. My feet sit flat on the ground when I'm on her, and she's all dented up so I don't have to be too afraid of learning on her (unlike Josh's mint-condition bike). I thought it was light, but boy, my upper body has been feeling the work-out of learning to hold her up and steer her!
The first day was, well, I sucked. By the time we got it home and got me out on it, it was already pretty late. I only had about half an hour or forty minutes to play around before it got dark. Josh taught me the basics, and I'm pretty sure he was surprised at just how basic my lessons needed to be. Josh had at least ridden one once and looked at magazines for years, so he knew pretty well much how they worked. He had to teach me how to turn it on, the brakes, I didn't even know motorcycles don't have reverse (which is why it's such a work out pushing that thing around). So yeah, my first day sucked hardcore, but at least Josh was nice and patient about it. Keia laughed a lot, but Josh said he didn't do much better the first time he road Josh's mini-bike, and he'd also ridden dirt bikes before.
So anyways, day one was a lot of start-stop, start-stop. I couldn't control how much gas I was giving her, so once I started going, I was going. Then I'd get scared and slam the hand brake, then I'd bow up like a dog taking one, then struggle to keep the bike up &/or not hitting anyone. Finally, we just kept it in neutral and Josh held on to the sissy bar like he had to do with Ivy on her bike, and I practiced trying to steer and keep her up as we went down the driveway. Then he'd walk me through turning her around, and I'd actually drive back up the driveway. I got okay controlling the gas if I was driving up our slight little incline, but since I couldn't really stop, I could not give her gas while going downhill. It wasn't bad for the first day though, even if I felt bad about Josh holding on to us. He didn't want me to crash first thing though, and I did eventually get better at steering.
The second day, we felt comfortable enough to practice on the long stretch of dirt road just below our house. I had to get better at stopping somehow, and I needed more room to work than our driveway gave. At first, I just practiced going slowly with my feet hanging down, so I could just stop with neutral & my feet. Eventually, I got comfortable enough controlling the throttle to be able to put my feet up. I even managed to stop on my own just before getting to the hilly part of the road. Then I put it in neutral so I could coast down the hill again, and that's when we went down. It had rained the night before and washed a little groove between some rocks on the dirt road (mountain dirt roads, for those not familiar with them, always wash out in even the slightest rain). I hit wet sandy dirt and lost control. I felt myself lose control and panicked, slamming the handbrake. I went down hard on my knee (on a rock), and the bike landed on me.
We hadn't even been out there an hour before I laid her down. Only problem is, she'd been laid down several times before (all those dents that made it a good “learning bike” ), so the foot peg was a little loose already. Well it did some funky bending thing into my gears and stopped wanting to go into neutral. I was hobbling and hurt fairly decently – although going down was not near as bad as I thought it was going to be, at least not at that speed – but Josh wanted to take it into the shop to make sure it was okay. I wanted to keep going, but even he was having trouble with neutral, and he flat-out refused to let me back on it til we were sure it was safe. I'm not normally the type of lady who lets her husband make flat-out refusals on my own things, but I actually found it incredibly sweet.
So I followed him up to the closest bike shop, where we'd bought supplies but, so help me, I will never take it there for work again. It had only messed up with neutral once on the way up, but Josh still wanted to get it looked at. It was pretty busy, so they guy said we'd have to leave it. It was 24 hours before they even put it up on their rack and looked at it, and I had stopped by and called to tell them I'd pay whatever for overnight shipping on parts or whatever so I could get my bike back right away. I was so pissed when I called the next morning and they hadn't even looked at it yet. We went to go pick it back up, because I'm not putting up with that shit, and they'd looked at it and said there was really no problem. Whatever. The guy's a punk. We took it across town to MR Honda and bought some of those crash bar things, just in case, and the guy there looked at it and in like two minutes of wiggling told Josh that the connector pad thing was just rusty. He came home to put the crash bar thing on and just had to take a little sandpaper to the pad before he put it back together. Bike worked fine.
I had no idea how expensive bike stuff is, either. Ten dollars for oil? Two hundred for the piece of metal you put on just to dent up, instead of the bike? Ridiculous. I'm glad Josh already had me a helmet, and I was able to find boots on sale at K-mart for fifteen bucks instead of a hundred and fifty. It's insane!
Anyway, my pretty little bike is back and wasn't even really messed up to begin with. And I'm barely limping, so back to riding! After Josh got my
That's where it's at. I've gotten exponentially better each day, and I've really only spent an hour on it most the longest time. Pretty soon I'll be ready for riding the road! We're both looking forward to being able to ride together. It's been a dream of ours for years. It's going to be another year or so before we can afford sidecars, which are also way more expensive than I expected, but at least Josh and I will get some practice riding together before we attempt to take out the girls. They're anxious too, though. We can't wait! I'm so glad we're actually on our way to getting goals accomplished. It's a good thing right now.