Bringing home “Motorcycle”


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Hey Everyone!

I decided I would do a post about my “baby”… my motorcycle – things to consider, my experience learning and what it’s like.

This is going to be a bit of a longer post, hope you enjoy it!

I’ve liked motorcycles since I was probably 15 years old, even though I knew nothing about them – I knew I always wanted one. When I’m stressed, going for a drive is the way I clear my head – it’s just me and the road… on a bike, it’s really just you and the road and there’s no better feeling.

Telling your parents you’re planning on getting your motorcycle licence and possibly a bike… that’s a whole other story.

I wouldn’t say I “eased” into the subject, I more or less surprised them with it and I wouldn’t say it was a warm reception. I was met with disapproval and ultimatums that were definitely not in my favour. Ultimately; we came to the conclusion (after hours of debating pros and cons, dangers and what would happen if I ended up in the hospital) that my dad would get his licence and do the motorcycle learning course with me. The reasoning behind this decision was; my dad could determine if I was a good enough rider to get the bike, apparently I was – and turns out he likes riding now too! :)

When I went into the motorcycle course, I was nervous – I had never even BEEN on a bike, I had never even driven a manual car. I had already picked out my bike (at the time of the course, I worked at a motorcycle dealership), a 2011 Kawasaki ZX-6R. Most people start off on a 250 but I’m 6 ft, so a 250cc would be too small, plus, I figured – if I couldn’t ride what they were teaching us on, I wouldn’t get a motorcycle.

The weekend of my course was LONG- I was wearing all this protective gear with the sun beating down on me, and it was MAY – if you can, I recommend booking earlier, I can’t imagine doing that course in mid July. I also highly recommend doing the course, they’re patient and explain things thoroughly, it’s extra money but can you really put a price on safety?

Speaking of safety, let me just talk about helmets – I think one of my biggest pet peeves when I worked at the dealership was seeing people drop thousands of dollars on a fast bike and then when it came to their helmet, they wanted to get the cheapest one. I know that a lot of things are made the same and certain brands can charge more because they’re established, but do you REALLY think the same technology went into the $90 dollar helmet that just made DOT approval, went into the $600 DOT and SNELL approved helmet? Which do you think is really going to hold up when you need it to? I realize some of the technology is for wind reduction and air flow, that being said, a lot of it has to do with safety too. If you’re going to spend more money on ANY of your gear, please, please, please, make sure it’s your helmet.

A good leather jacket is also going to keep you safer – leather highly recommended optimum protection. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t tell you I have a textile jacket and wear a stryker vest more than anything. I’ll be the first person to tell you – I know it’s not safest and I should be wearing leather, but at the very least, I am wearing something.

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NOW – Bringing home my baby.

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May 18, 2012… I remember it perfectly, I was so excited and terrified (I wouldn’t dare tell anyone how scared I was). I was so scared, wouldn’t even ride it home from Woodbridge/Toronto. I had my friend Chris (such a trooper coming WAY out of his way), pick it up and meet Anthony and I after work, in Mississauga, so Anthony could ride it to my house.

Once we got home, Anthony parked it in my garage, I wouldn’t go near it with anyone around (I told you… I was scared). In general, I don’t like people watching me do anything because I get nervous… I didn’t want to get nervous, while on a bike that was about 3 – 4 times heavier and 5 times faster than the bike I learned on.

May 19, 2012… Anthony had gone to work, I had the day off, I decided I would do a drill we learned in the course – where we let the clutch out just enough to catch but not enough to really go anywhere, just a foot or so. I did this for a couple of reasons:

  • Got used to where the clutch catches
  • Got used to the weight of the bike

I also had this weird idea that just a LITTLE turn of the throttle would send me FLYING down the road – it was nice to know that wasn’t the case.

After doing a couple feet at a time and rolling the bike back, I went further and further, finally I was half way down my driveway. That’s where I realized my driveway was too steep and my bike was too heavy to back it up… I had to actually ride it.

May 20, 2012… Anthony brought his bike to my house, so he could ride with me the first time. After going around my street the day before, I did not want to be alone riding on actual streets. After the initial fear – and stalling at pretty much every stop, my nerves calmed and I’ve never looked back. I don’t feel so relaxed and free, anywhere else, than on my bike.

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Bottom line?

If you’re thinking of riding, remember, it’s both the car driver’s and motorcycle rider’s responsibility to anticipate. When you’re on a bike:

  • Assume people don’t see you, bikes are small and have 1 light. *When drivers check their blind spots, whether they realize it or not, they’re looking for a larger object and 2 headlights.”
  • Anticipate  – Did the driver in the lane beside you turn their head to your lane? They’re probably thinking of changing lanes, not only is it their responsibility to check, but if they don’t, or don’t see you, it’s your responsibility to be aware as well.
  • Have an out – ALWAYS check your surroundings, so that if you need to react quickly – you have a safe way out of a dangerous situation!

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I hope you enjoyed this post and if anything, one thing helped! :)

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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