Friday, October 12, 2007
Soooo - How's the Bike Riding Going?
“How is the bike riding going?”
People keep asking me this same question. Well, I am here to say that I have lost every last ounce of my dignity trying to figure this thing out. Wow! It is so much different than anything else I have ever tried and although I am having a blast, there has been more than one occasion where I had to stop and laugh out loud at myself!
For the first time Tuesday, I drove a sizable distance of about 175 miles. Don and I decided to go all the way to Hempstead – thus giving us experience on both a 2-lane highway and a 4-lane highway where the speed limit was a deafening 70MPH! Translate that into Texan and it means if you are not going at least 80, people are going to get pissed off!
Non motorcycle riders do not see nor do they feel the Road Gremlins that attach themselves to you at speeds in excess of 65MPH when there is NO wind. They show up at lower speeds if even the softest breeze is blowing. These said Gremlins grab your waist and jerk your body back and forth, trying to rip you from your bike, which is not for the faint of heart…especially when an 18-wheeler is passing!
I learned that one 18 wheeler passing me will drag my body and bike towards the center of the road and that, I can handle. A caravan of them though, pulls even harder with each passing truck. Fighting the urge to vomit, which would not be a good thing considering I wear a full face helmet, I keep fighting the said Gremlins! I am still here, so I must be doing alright. I tried to be nice and discovered that all it is going to do is get me killed faster. Once when a row of drivers lined up behind us, I pulled over to the shoulder. Many appreciative drivers zipped by – not a one signaling a thank you! After about 30 seconds, my nice clean shoulder deteriorated and I was now again in danger, driving on gravel!
I have learned that when a bug hits me at speeds in excess of 50MPH, it is indistinguishable from a rock and the only tell tale evidence is whose blood is on my clothes! I know now that my right foot will NEVER understand that the forward petal is the back brake. I spent over 30 years telling that foot that it is the gas petal foot and it has told me in no uncertain terms – it will not go forward when I want to stop. For that reason, I spent an extra thousand dollars to get antilock brakes, which also engage both brakes when the hand brake is applied.
My biggest fear is pulling out in traffic from a stop and stalling my bike. My most difficult task to date has been attempting to pull out into traffic from a stop on an incline. Actually – in here lies the death of my dignity. You see, I thought I found a better way to get onto a back road in the tiny town of Anderson. This back road though intersected with the main road we wanted to get on with an incline. We were at the stop sign. Lucky me, a large diesel truck pulled up behind us and each time I tried to start, easing off the clutch and trying to apply enough gas, I stalled my engine. One ~ Two ~ Three stalls and each time I moved forward a few more inches. The third time, I put my foot back on the ground to try again. This time my foot landed in gravel and with not one seconds notice, my foot flew out from under my weight and the 450 pound bike started to lean. In a microsecond I knew I was on my way down. Sadly, not only was there a decline behind me, but also on my right side, so when I went down, the bike was literally on top of me! Picture road kill here! Looking up, I saw a man running out of the truck behind us to try and help. It was now that I realized he saw that I was a girl….Yeah – I felt like a girl too and not in a good way! He and Don pulled the bike off of my carcass and as an added dose of humiliation, the trucker held my bike into place until I took off…okay – I felt like a 5 year old learning how to ride a bicycle without training wheels for the first time….Yep, that was me!
Funeral services will be held for my pride at 3pm today!