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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" (... continued... again)

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.

(to be continued... one more time)

Lady R


Bucky said...

Love the story so far... You have me locked in for the next episode. It also helps me remember alot of "Firsts" in my life.

mq01 said...

more more more :)

Kathleen Jennette said...

Yes, this is a great testimony to the newbie feeling and the wonders of the new world of riding brings. I love this story and wait for the next post!

Big Daddy said...

I am loving the hell outta this...keep it coming!!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

This brings back a lot of memories.

Great story!

B.B. said...

Another great post!

Lady R (Di) said...

Bucky... cruising down memory lane has been a real trip! lol! Love you bro!

mq01... hold on... cause it's coming! :D

KT... I remember how tired I would get after several miles... until I realized relaxed muscles make for a much better ride! Thank goodness, I've learned a lot since then.

Big Daddy... Thank you! I'm glad your enjoying it. I'm trying to finish up with the last post of this series, but it's hard to come up with a great ending to a story that's still in progress! LOL!

Mr. M... "Take a little trip... take a little trip... take a little trip with meeeeee!" (Don't ask me why that song came into my head just now when I read your comment, but it did!) lol!

B.B. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Lady R:

I can't wait to read more . . .

and I can emphasize with your feelings even though I have never really sat on the back.

If you think the wind is bad, go on the highway without a windshield.

Wet Coast Scootin

GF said...

I'm passing this on to my wife, the Suzuki 800 Intruder is the bike I think she should get but she wants to get a Rebel 250. I've been trying to convince her to ride but I also have the concern because I know how afraid she is even when in a car.

Willy D said...

That is one bitchin’ story there Lady R. And with all due respect to Harley, I’d like to say that you look damn HOT on that bike:) You need to have a talk with my wife. I’ve been trying to get her on her own bike for years. So far, no luck:(

Lady R (Di) said...

Bobskoot... About 5 months into riding the Suzi, I took my windshield off for one of our Rally trips. I thought the bike looked better without it, so... off it went. When I got back home four days later... I put the damn thing back on. The fatigue factor when way up without that windshield to help block all that wind. I decided right then, I'd rather be smart and more comfortable than looking "cool". (Sucks growing up sometimes... logic and good sense seems to take over more often!) LOL!

George... The problem she might have with the 250 is outgrowing it way too fast. They let you ride 125's and 250's in Training Classes because they're very forgiving and light. They don't have much power, so you while you get used to the mechanics of riding, your not likely to throw yourself off. I would be happy to offer any support I can for your wife. Once Harley was on board with me riding my own... we've been having a blast together... in our own little club of two! :)
BTW... Remind her a little fear is a good thing... it keeps you honest with your abilities and stops you from being reckless. My husband wishes I had more of it... fear that is! LOL!

Willy D... Awwww. Now I'm blushing. lol!
I've known other women who've made it very clear to me that they have NO interest in learning to ride. Sometimes, I wonder... why?? How could anybody NOT want to ride their own. But, I have to remind myself, that's why we have chocolate and vanilla. We can't all think the same.
In fact... (this is funny!) I had one lady tell me once..."Are you kidding? If I rode my own, I wouldn't be able to sit back here and play with my toys." Seeing the lost expression on my face, she promptly reached over and grabbed her significant other(who happened to be standing right there) by his balls! I looked at them both a little wide eyed and mouth open and this dude just gave me a goofy grin and said... "Life's a bitch, heh?"
So, maybe Carol just want to sit back, enjoy the ride, and play with her toys! :}


I love the suzuki 800 intruder, is a great friend of a couple of great friends ;-).
I still reading this fantastic post, thanks...

Un saludo.

Rhonda said...

I remember my first and still my only ride...I'm a sentimental person and can't let go of the my first real ride. Reading your story brings back a rush of memories.

Dean "D-Day" said...

Love the "firsts" stories Di.

This one reminds me of my sister when she decided to start riding a few years ago. The riding around and around the neighborhood is spot on. She even has the same bike.

Keep 'em coming!

Lady R (Di) said...

Freebird... Thank you my friend. I enjoyed your post as well with all your beautiful pictures of Segobriga. What an amazing place! I've added you to my "What's the Buzz" blog roll, so I hope to see more of your posts.
Thank you for coming by and I appreciate your comments.

Rhonda... I'm sentimental too and I really wish I still had that Suzuki. It was the coolest little bike but, I'm not fortunate enough to have more than one ride in the stable at a time so, when I was ready to move up in bikes, I needed the funds from her sale to help me with my growing pains. I really enjoyed having it, and she served a very big part in my growth as a rider.

Dean... Neighborhood streets make great practice roads. One time, I even had a cruiser (cop) park on one of our corners and waited for me to come back around. When I pulled up to the stop sign, it allowed him to roll down his window and address me. Once he knew I lived on the next block and I was practicing my riding skills, he was very nice about it and told me to be careful and let me be. It seems that some concerned citizen was worried about the crazy biker chick riding incessantly and scoping out the neighborhood! LOL!

IHG said...

Ok...this is too wild!!! I've been thinking about doing a book about this and I just posted about it. Would you be interested in letting me us this in my book? Let me know!

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