Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rule Number Two

She was finally legal, and I got a friend to help me remember how to ride. I took her out and relearned how to turn, use my break (both the back break and the front) and when to use each one. I drove up and down the street, breaking, practicing leaning, and generally getting a feel for the bike. I loved it!  JJ left, probably feeling great. I picked up the lessons quick. We were only out for about an hour and he said that I was ready for the road. I almost felt ready. Mostly I was scared. 

I decided to take her out and ride the streets of the neighborhood a few times, just to make sure I was ok. The traffic is not very friendly with beginners, and getting out of my neighborhood and onto Inner Loop was a nightmare in a car, so I wanted to be sure I was ready on the bike.  

Eventually I was brave enough to cross the street of my neighborhood, over Maple, and into the new neighborhood.  The street was wider, and I planned to practice figure eights. Those are a series of turns (shaped like the number 8) designed to practice turns and mastering the bike overall.  I did great the first few, but those were wide, and once I decided to make the figure 8s smaller, I learned rule number two. 

Rule number two is basically this: When in doubt, grab the clutch. While trying to master the smaller loop in the figure 8, the bike wobbled, leaning closer and closer to the road.  I noticed a dark grey car getting ready to turn the corner, and I thought "crap, I'm still in the middle of the road.... I'm going to get squashed!!!"  I panicked, and instinct took over. I grabbed the clutch, before my bike lay completely  down on the road, and righted myself...  I pulled over to the side of the road to let the car pass so I can continue to practice, and the driver leaned out and said, "Well done. When in doubt grab a hold of that clutch.. That's your safety net." We talked for a few more minutes, and then he went about his way. 

Thanks, stranger, for rule number two. 

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