What a great day I had.
I went to work, which was, well, great would be pushing it. But tolerable. And I was out by 11, so I went to coffee with the few who were still lingering. It was delightful. Good company, good mocha. Mmm. I spent most of the afternoon on the bike. And then I went to a recruitment dinner with Peng and a couple of the interns, and I think we showed them pretty well what a fun bunch we are.
After coffee I came home and futzed around on the internet for a while (okay, I was looking at jackets. It's the last thing I need to feel safer on the bike. It's surprisingly difficult to find non-black). I'd been waiting on Garth to ride, but he wasn't texting me back so I figured he was probably busy. So, ultimately, I geared up and hit the road.
Literally. Okay, "hit" is an overstatement.
I dropped the bike again. No, that's not true. It tipped, and the easiest way to get it back up was to set it down and start over. Both times I was stopped and perpendicular to a hill. The second time I did it, these two women came over and helped me get it pointed back in the right direction. One of them was a biker chick herself. We had a good chuckle at how female-identified the whole thing was. And then I got back on the bike and off I went.
I rode through a bunch of nearby neighborhoods. Eventually I ventured out onto a slightly bigger street, braved the roundabout, and made it to the big parking lot down the street that Larry used to practice for his road test. I rode in circles for a while. Practiced stopping, turning, weaving. And eventually connected with Garth,who rode over and joined me. He had me running drills for a while - shifting, figure eights, turns from a stop. All very useful and increasing my comfort level. We still have to raise the suspension a bit so I'll stop dragging my pegs in the turns, and I think that'll help my comfort level even more.
I came back home through the same roundabout, and this time - at Garth's urging - did the whole loop. Dragging my left peg, sending up showers of sparks the whole time. Which, for those of you unfamiliar with the idea, is fine. It looks dramatic, but it isn't a big deal at all. Garth? Thought it looked cool. Here's what I was thinking:
"I'mgonnadieI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadieI'mnotdeadI'mnotdeadI'mnotdeadI'mnotdeadohthankgod I'm going straight again. Ahh."
It'll get better. In that, I'll feel better soon. I wasn't even close to dying.
The progress I've made in the past couple of days has been good, I think. And I'm definitely doing better than I was at the end of class. Which was WAY better than I was doing at the start of class!
Here's a relevant statistic for you: According to the 2006 NTHSA study by Hurt, et al, which studied over 4,000 motorcycle crashes for causative factors and modifiable variables, only 8% of riders involved in crashes had formal training, like the MSF course I took. Stated another way, 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends.
Makes you think.
Honing one's skills with experienced friends who've had formal instruction, however, is generally encouraged. My instructors in the class said over and over that they highly recommended finding a mentor.
How amazingly lucky am I? I have five.