Just remember. When you quit riding and start driving, you're in trouble. (keep in mind that you're on two wheels all of the time)
It was on Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday at the local Harley dealership. I get a waiver from taking the riding portion of the license test, and I just have to pass the written test now to get my license!
I missed a whole weekend of working on the CX, but it was worth it!
1979 CX500 Custom Project Rebuild
Congratulations! Welcome to healthy paranoia. Yes, they really are out to get you, or at least it's a lot healthier to act as though they were.
You are now in the Danger Zone - You have some training and little experience.
Apply training librally while acquiring experience -- Be careful -
Ride like you are invisible -- because to those in cars and trucks you might was well be....
Currently in the stable:
2002 Honda Goldwing GL1800 Sunburst Pearl Orange - 37,500 miles & counting
1983 Suzuki GS850GL Cosmos Blue Metallic & Black 34,800 miles
Previous Bikes -
1996 Sparkling Pearl Blue GL1500 Goldwing Aspencade 137,000 miles (Sold)
1992 GL1500 Aspencade Candy Spectra Red - 55,000 miles (Red Light Ryans)
1980 CX500 Custom 25,000 +/- miles - Some Shade of Blue (SOLD)
1982 CX500 Custom - (Red Light Ryans) -- Traded for GL1100
1980 GL1100 Custom Cobalt Blue 85,000 miles (Red Light Ryans) SOLD
1983 Suzuki GS650 GL - 1000 original miles --SOLD
1985 GL1200 Aspencade 85,000 miles Sold
1978 CX500 Standard Sold
I am never lost until I run out of fuel...until that moment I am EXPLORING.
Thanks everyone! I know I have a lot of experience to gain! Luckily I'm a big believer in baby steps!
1979 CX500 Custom Project Rebuild
I started riding in 1958 and have loved it ever since. I then started cage driving in 1960 and have always driven cars like they were motorcycles. Consequently I'm a fanatically defensive driver. The 4 accidents I've been in were all in cages and were always the fault of the SOB who hit me in the rear while I was standing still (and legally so -- i.e. waiting to make a left turn or when at a redlight).
Do that too and you can also build up a 55 year long record with no physical damage to yourself!
Bob Witte, The Ghost of The Trinity Trike (Past)
My GL500 trike conversion project thread: http://cx500forum.com/forum/cx-custo...ting-done.html
Click on this URL to download my free PDF for new Trikers:http://magic-pc.net/HowToRideAMotorcycleTrike.pdf
Good Job, Bob! ^5's for you!
Congrats!! The life-long adventure begins!
1979 CX500 Deluxe
Link to our WIKI (great tech info on the CX/GL)
So happy for you, and that you learned from a course instead of "a friend". Consider wearing gear often. It may be too hot, a short ride, etc, etc, but things "happen". That being said, enjoy yourself, and remember, you represent all of us now
"Chance favors the prepared mind"
Re your 'baby steps' comment - that's exactly the right approach. Remember that:
1. What you know about operating a vehicle on a road isn't true anymore (because it mostly relates to cages). A lot of your cage-related reactions/expectations are BAD on a motorcycle.
2. All of the stuff you have just learned about how to safely ride a motorcycle is in your cerebrum (forebrain). When you're stressed/overtasked/tired you revert to cerebellum (muscle memory) and 'forget' all the life-saving stuff you've just learned in favor of what worked years ago.
3. The ONLY way to get this stuff written into your muscle memory is how athletes/martial artists do it. Repetition. ALWAYS do things the right way and ALWAYS do things the same way. Every. Single. Time. The army calls it 'train like you fight and fight like you train.' Recite checklists aloud as you perform them like airplane pilots do. It will not only keep you alive, it will also keep you from doing dumb stuff like forgetting to put the sidestand down when you get off the bike (BTDT). You don't have to say it aloud forever, but it's a great way to train the idea into your head. It's easy to get flustered by doing something different - turning the bike off with the kill switch instead of the key, for instance, and then getting flustered because it won't start when you turn on the key and hit the start button. It's OK to use either, but you need to always do it the same way. Getting flustered is bad - you can't get the zen of riding (and keep your brain ahead of the game) if you're pissed off/stressed about something.
4. Make it easy on yourself. You have to keep the workload low enough all the time that you're actively thinking your way through the ride. Don't change things until you're really comfortable with the current difficulty level. For a new rider that means riding only on dry roads in daylight over known routes for limited times (commuting to work is usually great for beginning riders because if you've had the same drive at the same time for years you probably know all the bad spots on the route). You can mix it up by taking 'long ways home' which offers more seat time usually on quieter routes. If you're doing it right, riding a motorcycle as a novice is tiring. Don't plan on doing a 500 mile day for your first six months of riding. Work up to touring rides if you're going to do one. Not only will your body probably not be happy with a sudden change from commute to hours in the saddle, but chances are very good that your mind will get bored/tired and zone out and you will be using those cager driving muscle memories that can get your ass killed. Mellow weekend daylight rides on low-stress pretty roads are also a great way to build up quality riding experience. This also means NO riding other peoples' bikes. There's a statistic in the Hurt report about how many motorcycle accidents were on somebody else's bike during a test ride/try out/whatever. Take the hint. Ride your own ride on your own bike.
5. Alcohol/drugs. No. Even if it makes you feel like a better rider, it gets your mind out of that 'thinking ahead of the ride' place you need to be in. For my first year of riding I allowed myself zero beers within 12 hours of putting ass on seat. I'm a moderate recreational drinker, so this was something of an imposition on the weekends, and it meant that 'having one after work with the friends/coworkers' was always a no answer when I had ridden the bike to work. You know what? I put 7000+ miles on my (higher performance than a CX) bike in my first year as a street motorcyclist having experienced zero get-offs, zero injuries, and a lot of fun. Now I allow myself one beer per hour and zero beers within 1/2 hour of getting on the bike. I tend to drink micros, which have a fair kick. If I've had more than one, I generally try to get at least 12 ounces of water into me during that half hour wait - being dehydrated doesn't help your riding skills either. I also find that keeping my caffeine intake at baseline (whatever you normally do) always helps with consistency and alertness. If you're going out with your riding buddies on Saturday morning you might skip your usual cuppa or have an extra - neither is optimal. Which leads me to:
6. Riding in groups. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I'm happy in groups of up to about six bikes if I know all the other riders and can trust them not to do stupid things in front of me. Motorcycling (like the rest of life) is probabilistic. You can (and eventually will) meet people who ride a bike unsafely and have been doing so for years or decades. They're a lot rarer than the experienced riders with good habits, but they do exist. Gray hair does not equal riding wisdom. And $10,000 and 10 miles still doesn't make you a biker. The rhythm of the group has to match your rhythm. If you're out in the twisties with a bunch testosterone-crazed of guys on litre sportbikes, your little CX will probably be falling off the back of the pack and you'll be out of your comfort zone and no longer thinking ahead of the ride. Bad things can happen. Ride your own ride. And if the group is riding a ride you aren't comfortable with, get out of the group.
When a group ride gets so big that it's a management problem instead of fun, it's too big. My best riding memories are with 1-3 friends. Learn the standard signals and use them. More eyes makes the road safer, and more bikes are better noticed by blind cagers. Adversity shared is adversity lessened, and a good ride with trusted friends is better and safer than a good ride alone. Just remember that as a novice, you are devoting attention to riding with the group that you wouldn't have to if you were alone. The other side of this is that you should be benefiting from their awareness and experience in ways that you couldn't if you were alone. FYI: the safest and most educational position for a newbie rider in a group is usually the next-to-last bike, with the most experienced two riders being lead and trail.
7. Sooner or later, something bad will happen. Accept it. You're not immune to chance, weather, or the laws of physics. All those MSF-trained behaviors will improve the odds and will likely make the eventual accident survivable, and maybe even just a white-knuckle moment instead of an accident. But chance never sleeps. After 20+ years of riding street bikes, I just found my first slick wet patch on a twisty mountain road and low-sided at about 35 MPH, which beat up my right leg and tore up the knee when the bike fell on my leg. What didn't happen? I had no abrasion injuries because I was wearing all my gear. I avoided a crippling shoulder injury because the perforated leather jacket I was wearing has CE armor.
If there's one saying I wish I heard more in motorcycling it is 'Don't dress for riding the bike, dress for falling off the bike.' Because sooner or later the three square inches of contact patch between you and that pavement will go away, and when it does, you're either going to fall onto the pavement at road speed in your bare hands, sneakers, blue jeans, t-shirt, and (maybe)beanie helmet, or you're going to do it wearing something that will protect you. I've done it both ways on bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles over the years. Wear the gear. I was in more pain for longer after a blue-jeans and t-shirt get off of a moped at 15 mph from abrasions than I am now after what could have been a much worse accident. As a result, I miss riding. I want to fix my bike and get back on it. My knee doesn't yet, but we're getting there. I don't think I would be so ready to ride again if I looked like a piece of roadkill and had a big ER bill and I know for a fact that my wife would be much less interested in the idea as well.
The other great truth is that you never stop learning how to ride a motorcycle. Because things keep changing. You, if nothing else, grow older and wiser, and probably have slower reactions and stiffer muscles and joints. Ride for a year or two and take the MSF intermediate class. Take Ride Like a Pro. Get any training that will force you out of your comfort zone in a controlled environment so you can learn how to handle the inevitable 'something bad' in a better way.
Apologies for the book...