Foot Pegs

No longer feeling fraudulent, I begin this blog.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been preparing for this moment. Little Red has had a thorough safety inspection by a qualified mechanic, she sports new tires, she’s all tuned up, her fluids are good, and she’s up to date on her vaccinations. I’ve had a couple of sessions rocking in first gear while gently squeezing and releasing the clutch and then Fred-Flintstoning around the driveway–insufficiently stable to put my feet on the pegs, terrified of the throttle, but traveling several thrilling yards at a time anyway before walking her backwards over and over and over again. After all that, and then bragging about it to friends while wondering if I ever would really learn to ride, Little Red and I ventured off my property. This happended two days ago, and I am a changed woman.

Before two days ago, I was worried. Worried that I would never get my feet up on the damn pegs. The Fred-Flintstoning phase was fun, but I also felt pretty stupid and not in control, and I wondered if beginners ever just tip over. I knew I needed more space, a good, long straight course, and that I had to stop being so afraid of the throttle. But it was hard to imagine ever becoming comfortable. A motorcycle. Really?

With winter knocking at the door, I knew I had to get over myself quickly, though. I wanted to truly ride my bike before hibernating, so that from under my winter blankets and books I could look forward to the spring with confidence and then take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation class without further delay. I wanted to be a rider, not just a motorcycle owner, over the winter from my sofa. So I decided to take Wednesday afternoon off–no meetings and perfect, warm weather.

While I was gearing up, a friend sent these texts:

“Go ride that bike today.”

“And then again tomorrow. Rain this weekend.”

“YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! 😃”

A few minutes later I walked Little Red down the hill of my driveway at a T’ai Chi pace and with that sort of deportment. I learned how much to use the front brake to control her 440 pounds; she is no bicycle. On the road I wrestled her into a north-facing position far enough from neighbors’ mailboxes. A vast, mysterious plane lay ahead, and it was great to see. Anything could happen there. That’s right, I thought, this is supposed to be fun. I inhaled. I paused. I exhaled, and I put her in first gear. I didn’t have to Fred Flintstone for long. With room to ride and having gotten used to the clutch and gear shifter feel already, the throttle was less scary. I slowly gave the engine what it wanted and found the foot pegs. Unbelievable. I was riding a motorcycle and loving it.

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