first (adj.) being number one in a series; earliest in time; foremost in importance.
(... continued... again)
So, there we were, relishing in our new adventures and enjoying life to the fullest, thinking it couldn't get any better than this, when it happened. I got bit... and bit hard! I decided that I've been looking at the back of my hubby's helmet long enough, and it was time for me to see things from up front. I wanted to hold my own controls, roll myself down the freedom highway and soar with the birds I so often see keeping pace with us as we ride. This set off a myriad of anxieties for my husband, but once that bug took a hold of me, it wasn't letting go until it got what it came for. Becoming part of something big.
It took my loving husband darn near a full year to come to grips with the fact that I was going to ride my own motorcycle. His biggest fear was for my safety, and he did not feel comfortable with me on my own. Believe it or not, it was the sweetest gesture he could have shown me. I know it's because he wants to protect me from harm, but I had to keep reminding him that we can't live our lives in a bubble. Finally... with his blessing (and after successfully completing a Rider's Safety Training Class during the previous summer) another "first" came to light.
My dream as a lady rider came to fruition! In February of 2006, I became the proud owner of a 2001 Suzuki 800 Intruder!
For several weeks I had shopped the area and tried several bikes on for size. After searching high and low, long and hard, I found this little gem at Ward's Yamaha, in Troy(48 miles south of Montgomery). It was very slender in build and didn't seem too heavy (which was perfect for a newbie), painted a beautiful black with some teal accent on the tank, and it came stocked with windshield and saddlebags. She was in excellent condition and something about her sparkled. When I sat on her I knew... she felt like she was made just for me. No apprehension of top heaviness... no worries about feet touching or not... and I was absolutely thrilled when the sales dude told me that this sleek little beauty was stocked with 805 cc under her seat. My fear of outgrowing this bike to soon or being able to keep up with my riding pals was washed away.
7 thousand miles on the odometer... fully serviced... new rubber front and back... $3,000.00. I put down a binder and "floated" all the way back to Montgomery. I was on cloud nine with the fact that I was about to buy MY "first" motorcycle. After years of listening to my brothers talk about their hill climb competitions, Sturgis trips, and catching a ribbing with... "when are you gonna get your own?" ... I couldn't wait until I could call them all and tell them the good news.
There's a whole 'nuther story about how I got my lil' Suzi home, but I'm going to save that for Valentines Day... as it's a real testament to my hubby's true love for me.
For the first couple weeks, I would come home from work every day and crank that Suzi up and ride all around my neighborhood. Thankfully, I live in a large residential area that gives me plenty of streets, intersections, cul-de-sacs and hills to practice my skills on without ever having to cross over any major thoroughfares. After a couple weeks of driving all my neighbors crazy, I was ready to hit some real streets with real traffic.
Already being familiar with leaning and balancing, the transition from a passenger to a rider was not really that difficult, but it did pose a few new challenges. I now had so many other things to concentrate on (clutch, shift, brakes, mirrors, cages!) that I sometimes felt like I was missing out on the scenery around me! Secondly, I didn't realize how much protection from the wind I actually got from sitting behind the hubby until my "first" time riding on a highway going about 60 mph... OMG! I was afraid I was going to fly off! My finger lock on the grips were so fierce I made my hands go numb. Once I realized I was squeezing for dear life, I had to make myself relax or I wasn't going to make it very far before I gave out from exhaustion. I also noticed my vision kept jumping around like a stuttering 8 mm film. WTF? The front wind reeks havoc on the eye wear, so getting used to seeing the world as it fluttered before my eyes took a little getting used to. Funny how I never noticed these things before when I was hanging on the back!
As a new rider, I found it hard to calm the butterflies that would take over almost every time I sat on my bike and got ready to roll. For several weeks, we logged a lot of miles around our surrounding area which certainly helped to increase my road experience and build my confidence and skill level. It didn't seem like long before we were planning our "first" weekend road trip as a pair of riders. Even though I was a bit nervous, this was very exciting for me and I couldn't wait to experience it.
My "first" trip riding my own was to Little River Canyon in north Alabama. I can't begin to tell you how accomplished it felt for me, that I could ride my bike up to this Park sign and claim... "I rode here!" We probably logged a total of 750 miles on that first trip, and even though I remember being pretty tired when I got home... I was ready to plan the next one!
Remembering my "first" bike leaves me with great appreciation for it's role in where I am today as a rider. Getting the "kinks" out as a newbie rider was certainly a pleasure on this powerful, yet forgiving motorcycle. I became confident with my growing abilities as we enjoyed a systematic routine that allowed us the pleasure of riding together and taking life's pleasures to the extreme. Remember that "Life is Good" t-shirt I told you about in the last post? Yep... I was still wearing it!
Why then, for some crazy reason, was there a nagging desire to do more... want more... feel more.
REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST"
(to be continued... one more time)