Challenges, Health, Just for fun, Motorcycles

2024: the year of the u-ey

Belly-up Blue in Calabogie, September 2023


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.


beat the heat part two: blue goes belly up in bogie

had to stop ’cause it was getting dark 🙂

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