Motorcycle Monday: The Learning Process

Being that I've never ridden a motorcycle except for within the last year, I've learned quite a bit - especially so now that I've been able to start at the beginning of a riding season as a passenger. Riding as a passenger is, admittedly, extremely different than actually riding a motorcycle and being in control of it yourself. However, I will touch on that another time, but just know that I feel it's given me a leg up when it comes to my own learning process.

I bought my 2003 Yamaha R6 a few weeks ago - however, like I'd already anticipated, I would need lowering links. I had an easier time toeing the ground on Kenny's Honda CBR 1000RR than on my own R6. With the lowering links in, Kenny took to showing me where the links were and he left me to my own devices, letting me get my hands dirty learning simple things like how to lower a bike.

With that all said and done, the next day we took her and got her cleaned up (oh, yes, my bike is a girl... Not because she's a 600, because that's a fairly high level for a first time sport bike rider, apparently, but because she's curvy and feminine. I looked at her and Kenny helped me name her) and with her all shiny and waxed up, I got my first lesson - how to shift from neutral into first, where the sweet spot was on the clutch, and how to brake and hold the bike upright.

Flying colors, apparently, because the next day we went out, two days later, he took me out to a big open parking lot where I learned how to actually get the bike moving with the throttle.

I still need a lot of work on throttle control, but thankfully being a passenger on Kenny's bike, the quick takeoff doesn't scare me enough to stall out or dump the clutch, I just laugh and slow down a little.

First and second and going around in figure eights to practice left and right turns. Slowing down to a stop. Things like that. I set a short term goal of being able to hit the downhill curve into the uphill turn. I didn't make it that day, but today, day three, I did.

Today was a little more fun - I still suck at throttle control, but my shifting comes easier, and I don't panic at speeds higher than 15mph - I think I got up to 27 in 3rd gear, and practiced downshifting to slow down, and stopping and not dropping my bike again.

I need to order sliders just in case, since it does have all new plastic on it.

But it was my last go-round, because my hand was tired of practicing shifting so much, and I took the turn a little wider, but I did it and I didn't freak out. The good news was, even when I failed at it yesterday, that my initial reaction isn't to panic, but to stop. Apparently that's a good sign, because I hear a lot of horror stories of people running up onto curbs because they don't think to stop. So I've got that in my favor at least!

So with day three complete, my hand and forearm are a little sore, my legs are a little sore from gripping the tank, but I'm in high spirits just because hey. I can actually travel at a speed that's around a speed limit by the apartment.

I need to take a day and just practice starting the bike from a stop. Throttle control. First gear is, and will continue to be, my downfall.

No comments: