Anyone can ride in a straight line. Or even a slightly curvy one.
I know because I’ve ridden 60,000 kms worth of straight, twisty and sweeping roads during my first two years on a motorcycle.
In 2024, besides doing more of that, I want to spend more time on slow-speed skills, particularly U-turns, which I suck at right now partly because of my shaky start as a motorcycle rider.
After I bought TheFox (2020 V-Star 250), in the fall of 2021, I tried to ride her around the block in my neighbourhood before I had taken a proper two-day course to learn motorcycling basics. I knew less than nothing about motorcycles and/or riding and I was in tears before I got to the stop sign at the end of my street.
Not knowing how to shift into second, I bunny hopped around the block in first gear for an hour every day for about a week. Predictably, I dropped TheFox at least a half a dozen times while trying to make simple 90-degree turns at corners. She wasn’t equipped with a crash bar so I invariably ended up with one leg pinned beneath her. Each time, I had to ask the help of passersby to extricate myself and get TheFox upright.
The following week, when I took the Ottawa Safety Council M-1 Exit (which I didn’t pass), I dropped their bike too – once on day 1 and once again on day 2. As a result of those and previous drops, TheFox got fitted with a crash bar soon after the OSC course and I learned how to pick her up myself in spring 2022 at Motorcycle Masters.
But it was too late. I had already developed a fear of making short-radius turns and hurting myself and/or not being able to pick my ride up. That fear was exacerbated last season when I dropped Blue (my then new-to-me 1996 Virago 535) seven or eight times with me ending up in a deep-ish ditch on one occasion. Why those drops occurred became clear in mid-September. But that’s another story that I’ll share another time. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t my fault.)
All of this to say that I think the fear I developed plays a big psychological part in my lack of skill with respect to U-turns. I’m going to try to turn that around (pun definitely intended) in 2024.
That means lots of practice. Not as much as inspirational Doodle demonstrates in the video below, but I intend to keep at it until I feel I have an acceptable-to-me level of mastery.
© 2023 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.