Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lessons Learned...So Far

It has been a little over 2 months since I started riding a motorcylce. It has been about 3 weeks since I started riding Big Red. I have came a long way considering I never rode a motorcycle in my life and now I am riding one of the biggest ones made today. Actually, I am pretty proud of that. So is Slick!

So what have I learn so far? Here are some of what I have learned while riding Big Red.

Speed is My Friend: I started realizing that motorcycles need speed to stay up. Handling a bike weighing over 800 lbs is a bit scary and you need speed to keep it up. I had to realize I needed to learn to adjust me speed on turns more than anything. Going down a road at 60 MPH is easy. Turning a tight turn at 5 MPH is another story. Speed is everything on a motorcycle.

Big Red is Well Balanced: I realize more and more each day that Big Red is a very well balanced bike and it takes little effort to keep it up and steady. For example, I can maintain a speed of 2 MPH and still keep it up at a light. To me that is amazing that it is bike is built that well.

Practing Your Turns: Turning is a skill that needs to practiced more than anything. I can lean the bike pretty well on turns. Actually, it is pretty natural for me to lean the bike. Taking sharp turns at a complete stop is a skill that needs to be practiced all the time. The thing is I get better at turns the more I practice on the highway. I can't afford to mess up there.

Learning to Stop: Big Red is a big bike. One of the first things that was killing me was stopping that bad boy. That took some practice. Now it is getting a lot easier. I still have to be prepared to catch the bike if I stop too quick or I am not concentrating on the stop.

Don't Be Afraid of the Big Bike: Getting on Big Red for the first few times was pretty scary for me. I actually dreaded it. One thing that kept me motivated was that I had a 19K bike sitting in my garage and I was determine to ride it. Plus, Slick and I planned to take some trips this Fall. I was not going to let the bike kick my butt. But I have to admit, it did intimidate me a lot at first. Now I look forward to riding it each day.

Practice with a Smaller Bike: One of the best things I did was get a smaller bike to practice with. The Shadow was perfect for that. I would not be on Big Red now if it wasn't for being able to practice with the Shadow.

Taking the Motorcycle Course: It was one of the best investments I ever made. I learned a lot from the course. It showed me what to practice, safety and gave me a lot of practice. Being a new rider, it was vital to me getting on the bikes as fast as I did. Plus, it saves me about 10% on my insurance.

Take the Parking Lot Practice Slow: I used a timeline to practice riding the Shadow. I didn't venture on the roads for about a month. After that, I decided I was ready for the road, traffic and all the little suprises of riding on the highway. The parking lot practice was great and I will continue to use it to practice and refine my skills and practice new ones.

Learn About Your Bike: I did a lot of research on Big Red. I knew what type of bike I wanted and I wanted something comfortable and dependable. I almost got a Royal Star Venture and after just setting on one, I realized it wasn't for me. After setting on the Gold Wing, I was hooked. It just felt right and I knew it was one of the best bikes ever made.

Know Your Gears: If you want to really get a good suprise, have a Gold Wing in the wrong gear when you take off. You will get a great suprise. I realized that when I took Big Red out of my driveway for the first time. It doesn't like 1st gear. I realized that 1st gear on Big Red is a granny gear. As with most grannies, it was slow and wanted to hold back. I realized that I need to be in the proper gear or I was going to know I wasn't real soon (in some cases, I did). Believe me, if you in the wrong gear on a Gold Wing, you will know it.

Those are just a few things I have learned so far. I am sure there will be more.

Until next time and happy riding!


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