When it comes to riding, I possess a plateful of confidence and a dollop of fear. There’s lots of reasons to fear riding a motorcycle (speed, invisibility, and traffic, for example), and I face most of them with caution and logic. But the one fear that holds me back from riding alone is the fear of dropping my bike.
Dropping a bike—having it fall on its side—happens to every rider. (Anyone who claims otherwise is lying.) I dropped my bike several times during my motorcycle course, and earned a “Moto-Acrobatics” award because of it (not an award I’d hoped to achieve, but one I earned rightly)!
Why does it happen? There are probably lots of ways, but for me, it happens if I come to a stop and my front wheel is turned slightly to the side instead of pointing straight ahead. Even just a slight turn encourages the bike to lean in the opposite direction. When I feel the weight of the bike shift, I blurt out naughty words and mumble-yell “No, no, no, nooooo” as it starts to fall. No matter how hard I restrain the handlebars, once gravity and momentum kick in, I can’t keep the bike upright. Its 560+ lbs fall in slow motion as I guide the bike (as gently as I can) to the ground.
It’s happened to me three times this spring: once in the driveway, once in an empty parking lot, and once in the parking lot of a country convenience store. Yeah, it’s rather embarrassing, but I can get past that. I can also get my bike back up on my own (although it’s not easy).
So what’s the fear all about?
The fear is that I’ll drop my bike in a traffic situation. Or that I’ll create a traffic situation. Or that I’ll attract a crowd in a traffic situation. All these potential scenarios make my blood race and my heart pound…and keep me at home waiting for a friend to ride with.
I am ever grateful to have a friend to ride with. The companionship blankets me with security and makes me feels better knowing that if a traffic situation occurs, I’m not alone to contend with it.
And yet…I know my fear is holding me back; I’m letting it limit me. It keeps me from riding as much as I could. (Plus, I’m not very comfortable beholden to another person’s schedule…I have a bit of an independent streak and like to do things on my own terms!)
Confidence will eventually bully away this fear, I’m sure of it. It will just take more hours of practice with wheels on the ground. More riding friends would help…those who are patient and don’t mind holding themselves back while I pick up speed (both literally and figuratively).
And when it happens, I’ll be ready…blood pressure within the range of “normal” and throttle fully open.