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The motorcycle learning curve: the bad and the good

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Last weekend (June25-26) was World Ride Weekend, a campaign promoted by Harley-Davidson Motor Company with a single mission: “Just ride of the love of riding.” Motorcycle enthusiasts were encouraged to keep track of the miles the rode and report them on the Harley-Davidson website.  Collectively, riders worldwide logged over 10 million miles.

I did my part.  My Instagram post says it all: “In almost two months, I’ve only ridden 278 miles, but 118 of them were just yesterday.  I think I’ve rounded a corner!”

For 84 of those 118 miles, I rode with a friend, but I did the final 34 on my own.…

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Riding a motorcycle involves risk


It was a few days before my New Rider Course.  My 17-year-old daughter was giving me a lecture at the dinner table. “Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. I don’t support this decision at all.”

In a single moment, I felt awash with warmth from her concern, but also stunned into speechlessness.  I stared back at her with no ability to form words or respond.  I’d been talking about learning how to ride a motorcycle for months.  Not once had she shown any signs of worry before now.

After a few moments of silence, I assured her that I would be a careful, defensive driver.…

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Fear of riding my motorcycle. But doing it anyway.


My pulse raced as I left the comfort zone of the big parking lot and took a right turn onto an actual street in the industrial park where I practice.  The synapses in my brain over-fired as I worked through shifting, braking, engaging the blinker, turning, and stopping.  Corners scared me, and stopping did too, ever since I dropped my bike.

It had been five days since I’d been able to get back out to practice.  For those five days, I thought about cornering and stopping, and every time I did, fear gushed through my body and my heartbeat accelerated.…

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