I remember my very first 2up ride with the hubby–when we hit 100mph I almost peed myself haha! In all honestly I was terrified as the pavement came closer on every turn. But as terrified as I was there was something deep inside that fascinated me…a yearning for more, something inside calling out “again! again!” It took a tremendous leap of faith and trust to get on the back with someone and not be in control of my own life for those moments. But I liked it so much that I was willing to do it because I didn’t have the courage to try riding by myself. As a matter of fact, I never thought I would ever ride by myself, it wasn’t something that had really crossed my mind when hubby bought his first bike–a Black ’97 Honda Blackbird 1100XX. He’d purchased it from an acquaintance in fantastic condition for the purpose of toting me around on the back comfortably. And it was a fantastic ride for about 2 years.
It wasn’t until we took a trip to Deal’s Gap in early April of 2011 that I realized I wanted more. I had so much fun on that trip leaning off the bike into every turn that I couldn’t get enough. As a matter of fact we pushed the bird so far that she had scraped up the fairings on one particularly sharp bend. But as much as I wanted more I was terrified to take the bars myself–I didn’t trust myself. At the time I didn’t believe in myself that I could do such a thing, it was a realm dominated my men as far as I knew and I didn’t think I had the strength to do it. And then all of a sudden this bad ass biker chick pulls up on her GSX in full race leathers. I watch her go up and down the Gap all day killing it…and I’m in awe. This was the first time I’ve met a female rider, and a good one at that. We chatted over some lunch and in the end she encouraged me to take the MFS course and just try it out–start small and see if it’s for me. Regardless of what she said I was still scared and didn’t believe in myself, but it was a start!
I remember just telling myself over and over “you can do this, you got this”
Over the next 2 months I couldn’t get riding out of my head. I would bug the crap out of my husband to take me for a ride. We rode every weekend that it was possible. It got to the point where I was annoying myself and finally bit the bullet and signed up to take the MSF course in July. Here’s the kicker though, back in early 2010 I had developed neuropathy in both my feet which spread up through my knees. It basically immobilized me in the beginning. The pain was searing and every step was excruciating. flexing my muscles was impossible. I couldn’t walk anymore and limped along everywhere. I went from being incredibly active to pretty much bed ridden in a few months. I went to see many specialists, therapists and underwent every possible test and therapy. It took 2 years to get my pain under control and get me back to being able to walk as little as 15 minutes at a time. However I believe that the fear of quite possible one day not being able to learn to ride finally pushed me to take the final step. As scared as I was I knew I would regret not learning for the rest of my life and couldn’t let the chance pass.
So still limping along and doped up on medication I made it to my first MSF day. This was my very first time EVER by myself behind the bars. I will never forget the wave of doubt and fear that swept over me when I took off..the first second I was thinking “what the hell did i get myself into, can you do this?!” and then just a fast a deep focus came over me and yes…yes i could do this…and i WAS doing it…finally, by myself. It was a very emotional moment for me because for the first time in my life I had pushed myself completely out of my comfort zone and tried something that terrified me. It was an amazing moment, a defining moment in my life, a start to a new life… Hence why I am so passionate about riding. to me it was an awakening of a new beginning, a new person. This amazing 2 wheeled machine brought out the strength in me and made me push on through my fears like nothing before.
The next 2 days of the class were brutal on my body, mentally and physically.
I was exhausted from sheer concentration. It was so much to take in from motorcycle operation to balance and to perceiving what’s going on around you. I’d always had terrible balance, I could barely ride a bicycle lol! Of course half way through, it was too much for my feet and legs to bear and I began cramping. I had told my instructors about my physical limitation and they taught me to shift with my heal. It was hard because it was slow and unbalanced…but it was all i had and made it work. At the end of the weekend I passed the class and was ready. The following weekend I got my motorcycle license and purchased a used CBR250R.
I would say it took me a while to learn to ride and more so to be comfortable on the bike. It took even longer to become fluent and trust in myself. I remember just telling myself over and over “you can do this, you got this” whenever I would get scared or start to doubt myself. Each passing week felt like a milestone, an achievement. But the joy and satisfaction that came from riding was the most amazing feeling I’d ever felt. For the first time in my life I felt alive and at peace. I was at one with myself in the deep concentration and focus. When you ride all the troubles of life fade away…there’s just you, the machine and your surrounding. It’s a beautiful balance between inner peace and the fiery excitement of adrenaline….and that’s why I ride.