Okay, okay, so technically I missed the 'Monday' part of this post but it's better to be Tuesday than not at all, right? I was exhausted when I finally sat down after work yesterday... I am posting though!
Day 5 of my lessons was this past Friday, and I was taken out to a back road behind some factories - curvy, but clean and empty. Imagine my surprise when I thought I was going to be working on throttle control some more (Day 4 was just that - taking off smoothly. I did... well enough. Better than I had my previous two days).
"I want you to practice going around curves, and going faster."
Up until this point, mind you, I hadn't even gone 30. So off I went. I tried turning around in the road which resulted in me going way too slowly and having to actually set my bike down... to the point where I broke a passenger foot peg off. I'm more than a little unhappy with myself, but the good news is if my bike is on the ground, I can actually pick it up. The other good news is the broken foot peg is the only thing that happened. No scratches or anything!
Needless to say, I found a better place to turn around (parking lot entrance).
After a few more rounds of zipping up and down that road, I was asked if I felt comfortable with those speeds. Admittedly, I was practicing like I had been the previous four days, with no helmet or jacket and just a pair of sunglasses. I figured 'yeah, I'm comfortable. I can deal with that.'
"Okay then. Lets go home, grab helmets and jackets and head out to Irvine."
Getting home was interesting with only one foot peg - my leg certainly got a workout. But we got home, I put on my jacket and helmet and I was leading - we took a slightly easier way around since I was still a little shaky with taking off, but there I was, on the road, and we reached a turnaround point where it was like 'eh, let's keep going. Traffic is light, I need the experience, and lets face it, I'm having a lot of fun.'
Hitting curves at 55 was a new experience for me - especially considering up until this particular day, I had only ever done figure 8s in a parking lot going about 15 mph. I took them carefully and forced myself to remember I had been on a bike, going faster, with two people, with Kenny leaning the bike a lot harder than me just countersteering into it. We had to stop and get gas for Kenny's bike, where I had to actually stop in traffic since a truck turned in between us, and I got into the gas station, rounded the corner to the pump where Kenny was, went to put my kickstand down and...
Almost dropped my bike again. Kenny caught it, with one arm.
I fell on my butt and started cackling.
Lesson learned about the kickstand being ALL THE WAY down? Check.
Nothing hurt other than my pride, but lets face it. I'd been riding motorcycles for all of, oh, maybe 6 hours total, and I was in public. I have no ego when it comes to that. Kenny led the way home and, with my newest lesson learned, I made sure the kick stand was all the way down when we got home before I got off my bike.
Where we made dinner and I talked about 90mph for an hour straight. It was extremely exhilarating!
So we did it again on Sunday, for a much longer trip out past Mt Vernon (having to stop on a hill was a lesson and a half...) and with Kenny's friend Drew. They're both on CBR 1000 RRs, and I'm on my little R6, but they took it way easier for me, and we did it so I could get used to riding in a group by staggering. I'm really bad at estimating how close I actually need to be, but I kept up, at least.
I never panicked though. I actually almost accidentally aimed (nice alliteration there, huh?) myself at a guard rail but self corrected. We stopped for some ice cream and started the hour and a half (!!!) trek back. I discovered that being on a bike for a long stretch of time leaves my fingers really tingly. Kenny noticed me playing with them and he grinned and told me I'd get used to that.
With all of that said, and all of the fun, and the horsing around once we got back to town (Drew thought he'd be cute and try to swing his leg over his bike like he would a bicycle - after it's already moving - and instead dumped the clutch which left me laughing my ass off, but I was able to take off and take off hard, no creeping along or anything) I felt 100 times more confident in my ability to the point where I feel like I could take my bike to say, a restaurant or something just because we feel like going out for dinner.
With that, on the other hand, we're going to Deal's Gap this weekend and I chickened out of taking my bike on the side roads. Obviously I wouldn't be stupid enough to try to ride the Dragon's Tail by myself when I'd only just reached my second hand for how many times I've been on my own on a bike, but there are some fun side roads.
Instead, I got a huge feeling of dread because what happens *if* I go down out there where there's so little cell phone reception (yes, even with Verizon). At least here, Kenny's old man lives a few miles away and could come pick me and my bike up, worst case scenario.
So I'm going to go ride after work if I get off early enough. Just for a little while. Then I'm going to make Kenny take me down by the river on his bike because that's a pretty ride and it's been several weeks since I've been on his and that's what I'm doing when we go down to the Gap this weekend - going on the back of his. We've done it before, but that's not something I can just hop on his bike and do.
Anyhow, apologies for the delay in posting, but it got there... Before the following Monday!
I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about then.