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Old 05-25-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
Wyldblu
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Default Just plain scared

Hi,
I am new here.
I am a 50 yr old woman who has been around bikers and bikes my whole adult life. I have always rode on the back, and finally decided to take the motorcycle safety course and get my license. My fiance even bought me a 2003 Sportster as a gift, however, that was 6 months after the course and I didn't have a bike in all that time to practice on. So, I have been taking it to a local empty parking lot to practice. I have had a friend take it there for me as I am petrified to ride it on the road.

I have practiced in the parking lot and I still am more afraid then having fun. This is very depressing. My fiance currently lives in Holland and isn't here to help me with this either. I road it on a dirt road when I first got it and promptly dumped it in the dirt. I was ok...a bit banged up and the bike was fine, but I am having this terrible fear with it.

I would appreciate any help you can give. I really want to be able to ride it on the road, but I just can't see that happening right at the moment and wonder if I should just sell it...although that would break my heart!

Help!
-Blu-(who IS blue at the moment)
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
Barbara
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Hi Blu,

Well, let's see. You took the MSF--that's good. You've dumped your bike, but emerged intact--that's good. And actually dumping the bike is sort of good, too, because it shows you that you *can* survive it.

If selling it would "break your heart" then why in the world would you even consider it? Bikes--at least in my world--are far more than machines--they are partners. Magic carpets that will cheerfully carry you wherever you choose to go, and give you any number of sensory delights on the way. On the other hand, they require a couple of things: oil, gas, knowledge of how to ride, and a desire to have your own hands on the bars. Being a passenger is different--you are along for the ride. Being the rider makes you a partner with the bike, in being safe and having fun.

It's hard for me to suggest what you might do; I've been riding my own bikes for over 40 years. I'm older than you are, and still ride all over, and don't plan to stop----ever. I guess if you want to ride badly enough, you will conquer your fear of the bike, and make friends with it. Then conquering any fear you have of the road will be easy, once you are comfortable on the bike.

Go slow, set your own learning pace, and keep your eyes on the prize: going down the road on your own! It's *SO* worth it!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
Wyldblu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
Hi Blu,

Well, let's see. You took the MSF--that's good. You've dumped your bike, but emerged intact--that's good. And actually dumping the bike is sort of good, too, because it shows you that you *can* survive it.

If selling it would "break your heart" then why in the world would you even consider it? Bikes--at least in my world--are far more than machines--they are partners. Magic carpets that will cheerfully carry you wherever you choose to go, and give you any number of sensory delights on the way. On the other hand, they require a couple of things: oil, gas, knowledge of how to ride, and a desire to have your own hands on the bars. Being a passenger is different--you are along for the ride. Being the rider makes you a partner with the bike, in being safe and having fun.

It's hard for me to suggest what you might do; I've been riding my own bikes for over 40 years. I'm older than you are, and still ride all over, and don't plan to stop----ever. I guess if you want to ride badly enough, you will conquer your fear of the bike, and make friends with it. Then conquering any fear you have of the road will be easy, once you are comfortable on the bike.

Go slow, set your own learning pace, and keep your eyes on the prize: going down the road on your own! It's *SO* worth it!!
Thank you for the words of encouragement. I am wondering if riding in that parking lot will ever help me get on the road. This is very frustrating though. I have always wanted my own bike and now that I have one, dam#it, I am going to try to get over this stupid fear. Any suggestions on how I transition someday from the parking lot to the street?

-Blu-(stuck in neutral)
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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Go scout some roads in the car. Find some that are easy to get to and have a low volume of traffic. Set your self up for success. Now is no time to put your self into a situation say where 2 interstates intersect at rush hour. That fun can come later.

Find someone who rides that you trust to lead you out to a "safe" area.

Perserver, you'll know when your ready.
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:52 PM   #5
Wyldblu
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Thank you. I guess I just needed some words of encouragement from other peeps who have "been there, done that." Makes me feel kinda stupid for letting my fear get the best of me. After all the times my horses have thrown me (long time past now..they are better behaved!), you would think hitting the ground in the dirt should be something I am use to. But, I was younger then...and now I keep thinking, sheez....I am older now...I might actually do some damage!
Anyway, I will keep plugging along. At some point, I hope it becomes more fun than scary.

Thanks!
-Blu-(trying to clear away the clouds of doubt)
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:20 PM   #6
Kenneth_Moore
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Any chance you can spend some time on something lighter and easier to handle than a Sportster? It's not a terrible choice for a 1st bike, but if you're a bit intimidated, a smaller bike could help you get over it.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
Barbara
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Hi Blu,

That's not a bad idea: I know it's considered fairly small now, but a Sportster used to be one of the "Superbikes". Do you know anyone with a smaller bike you could use? Something that wouldn't be intimidating.....

Something else that you could do is to retake the MSF course, just to get in the time and of course, you always get more out of it the second time.

The main thing is that if you don't continue, you've stopped. When I turned 60 my son asked when I'd quit not only riding but working on bikes. I told him when I quit breathing.

Mainly, find a way to relax and make it enjoyable. Bikes are more docile than lots of horses---no mind of their own, y'know. They'll do exactly what you tell them to do, and you don't have to carry apples around.....

Hope it helps,
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Big John the BSA
Baby B. the BSA
Gemini the BSA/Triumph
Pip the Triumph T140v--(I have "Great Expectations")
The unnamed 1979 XS 650
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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Well, I learned on a Kawasaki 250. And the only other bike on my property is my ex husbands 1960 panhead...and NO...that bike is WAY outta my league at the present time.

My sporty is actually not that bad, handling wise. When I dumped it in the dirt, I was able to pick it up myself, and I am not a big girl. I am about 5'1" and normal weight. I had lowering kits put on the front and back and can almost put my feet flat on the ground...almost. Mostly what scares me is the idea of forgetting what do to, while in traffic, ie, shifting, clutch, break...funny since I have been driving a manual car for about 20+ yrs. And of course falling again freaks me out.
There are some very low traffic roads around here. Maybe I should go ride them even if only for a short distance.

-Blu-(feeling more encouraged)
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #9
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My husband just had me read this thread, and I had to post my take on what you are going through. I have gone through a very similar situation. I was very excited about learning to ride. We picked out a small bike (VTR250) for me to get started. I took the MSF and came away probably a little more confident than I should have as I ended up crashing on my first group ride, resulting in a broken shoulder and absolutely shattered all my confidence. However, it did nothing to destroy my determination to keep riding.

We found another bike, and I got back on as soon as I was able only to end up dropping it in the yard before we ever made it out of the driveway. I was completely unharmed, but was shaking and crying so much we ended up leaving the bike at home and I rode on back with him for the day. I had to completely start over from ground negative zero as I was less confident now than when I attended my first day of the MSF class.

Try as I might, I never did bond well with the "new" bike and I continued dropping it in parking lots and such at practically no speed. I knew I didn't want to give up riding though, so I just kept trying. After a couple of years fumbling around with the thing, I sold it and picked out a bike that spoke to my heart. The fit was better physically and my confidence leaped forward. It was like the bike just did whatever I asked it to do and never left any doubt in my mind what was going to happen next. Now my biggest problem is getting my husband over the fear of me crashing again.

Just concentrate on the part of you that still has that determination to keep riding. Maybe you need to change bikes, or maybe you just need a little more practice time. Only you know the answer to that question, but if it helps, also know that you aren't the only one to face such mental blocks in your moto journey. Hang in there and keep at it. You'll be okay.

-Mrs. The_AirHawk
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
Wyldblu
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Thank you very much! It DOES help to know other people have gone through this and that I am not a lost cause. I DO want to ride, I DO love that bike I just need to get over this fear crap. I really appreciate all the kind words. I think I will look back into taking the MSF course again. The only hesitation I have with that is that they stay strictly in the parking lot, and I may need to actually get on the road. But I have at least a week to think about it. My friend isn't available to help me with my bike again until the weekend.

-Blu-(trying to cowgirl up)
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