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!



vickie said...

Oh Julie, you have a wonderful way with words, you should write a book! I was exilerated, laughing, crying, and scared as I read your adventure. Try to stick to the scenic backroads if possible!


Splaneyo said...

I think I would wet my pants the first time a semi passed. I imagine that would be quite a mess at 65mph.

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

JULIE!!! You have a lot more guts than I do, that is for sure!! I am terrified to right on, let alone drive a bike!! Good for you, how exciting!!


Anonymous said...

Glad it is you and not me I would die.

justabeachkat said...

Just call me a whimp. No way Jose! Bugs and 18 wheelers and stress, stress, stress. I'll just keep riding my regular old bike which I love.

Good for you though to bravely learn something that's hard but something you love.


Robin~Thrifty Miss Priss said...

Wow! You go girl! My husband bought a Harley a few years ago and I would not get on it! He had one before we had kids and we had a blast, but I've become a chicken in my old age! Semi's passing me in the CAR give me palpatations I'd die right there on a bike! Keep up the practicing, you'll get it and you'll have a blast I'm sure...PS my husband sold the bike fun riding alone!

restyled home said...

Oh are really scaring me!! That all sounds so dangerous! I am going to be worried sick about you...couldn't you just get a tattoo or take up wrestling or something?? 80 MPH and transport trucks sucking you under their wheels does NOT sound like fun!!!
I'm stressed out at the thought of it....please be careful!!!!!!!!

Diane said...

Oh my gosh Julie. You are really a daring soul :( I wish you would stick to the backroads. I cannot imagine sharing space with an 18 wheeler in anything less than my SUV, lol. Take care and be safe. Diane

Sandy said...

Too funny!
I respect you big time ~ I do not have the courage to even attempt to get on a motorcycle myself! I don't even like to ride as a passenger.
Enjoy your learning process and have a fabulous week!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

You go girl! You are so brave to be riding that bike! Have fun but Please be careful!

PAT said...

Wow! What else can I say! Loved how you told of this experience! My son in law rides and friends of ours do. I haven't...don't think I will!

Can't wait to hear of your further adventures, Julie!


Rapunzel said...

WTG, Julie! I am in awe of you, would never have the courage to attempt it1

Killi said...

I've told my younger daughter that she HAS to do a training course before I'll allow her to ride a motorbike. I won't be happy with her riding, especially as the road here is potholes with narrow strips of proper road in between & after rain you can't tell what are puddles & what are dangerous holes. Please take care, but I think you're very brave