January 23, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice

We've determined that my issue with riding is shifting gears. Letting out that clutch in first seems the most difficult for me. So Highway, in his infinite motorcycle wisdom, set Katie Scarlet up on her center stand in our garage and had me get on.

I warmed her up, worked with the choke, and got her to a steady idle. It took about 10 minutes, but it's good practice. Then I attempted taking her out of neutral and shifting into first. Time and again I killed her. I looked him in the eye amazed.

"What in the fuck am I doing wrong?"

"I just don't know. I'm watching you. You're doing everything right."

I tried again. Then, Highway began to chuckle.

"Try putting up the kickstand. Some bikes are set up with a kill switch if the kickstand is still down."

Sure enough, that was it. We both laughed at how easy it was now for me to shift. Neutral, first, second, revving the engine in between, all on the center stand. Over and over I rode nowhere, shifting up, shifting down, just to get the feel.

I bought new boots yesterday, so getting the feel of the new boots and the new bike are challenging for me. I recognize fully that I'm the FNG, and I hold no shame in that. I just have to take my time and feel good about the fact that I'm practicing slowly.

The plan is for me to go down and just practice this a few times before we hit our local parking lot for some pavement work. Turns, circles, figure 8's, quick stops and negotiating obstacles are all on the list for practice in the parking lot. Fortunately, we live 3 blocks from a major league baseball field with an enormous parking lot. This will be a great place to practice daily.

I feel a little silly, you know. I don't feel very "Bad Ass" sitting on the center stand in my garage, revving to nowhere. But I want this journal to be honest. I'm not going to bullshit you, my readers. One day some other FNG is going to come along and read this and be grateful that he/she's not the only one who took some time to learn.

For now, I'm just grateful to learn.


  1. Sounds like you're detetmined so you'll make it just fine.
    I tried to teach a guy to ride and he could get the first gear but he just couldn't put shifting 2 - 5 together with riding. When he was riding good, he forgot to shift. When he shifted, he was wobbly and forgot to watch where he was going. I spent four Saturdays with him and he just gave up. He ended up selling his fredquently dropped, brand new Harley a month later. Probably for the best.

  2. I just bought my first bike, 2007 Ninja 500r. I never rode before and was very excited, but when the bike arrived it intimidated me :(. I have basic rider lessons starting tomorrow and I am determined to do this. I can't contain the excitement. I love being on a bike! Reading your blog is so encouraging! Thank you!


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