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Maiden Voyage on the TW 200

Jun 30, 2009 // Trips on Two Wheels //

On Sunday morning the time finally came for me to show of my newly learned skills (from 6 days before). Yes, despite the voice in my head asking me what the hell I was doing, I ventured on the streets of Seattle on my little new motorcycle... the TW 200. Somehow I got my motorcycle endorsement last weekend (okay after a 20 hour commitment). I learned how to ride a motorcycle and passed my exam all in roughly 48 hour time period. So I am asking myself, why am I scared... I mean I have a license!


One of the things that pushed me to do this was the fact that my husband had hi-jacked my motorcycle and was cruising around town like he owned it (okay...technically he does own it but it was bought for me). The dude owns several other (better, faster) motorcycles, but wanted to adopt mine. (Hell, on second thought, he may have done this on purpose!)

So to begin this ride I was lucky and didn't have to start in my driveway. The driveway being a hill, I know I would have likely smashed into the garage door on the first attempt. Instead, we started at the AltRider office. My husband pulled the bike onto the curb and parked it in some gravel. He rolled up his bike and said, "Let's go!"

"I'm supposed to get that thing out of the gravel and onto the street?" I asked.
"Yeah, you can do that." Then it dawned on me...despite my recent accomplishment of passing my test with flying colors (5 pts off), I had never actually riden on a street. I am know questioning whether I even know how to ride.
So I reply..."I have never even ridden on the streets"... so yes, I get him to take the bike off the curb and put in the street like a child learn to ride a bicycle (a bratty, wimpy, non-adventurous child). Then he takes off and I realize if I want a companion, I'd better pony up.

So off we go. Down the street... and I am thinking...not so hard... what was I worried about. Then: the first intersection! Not a big deal except when I try to go, I stall out. Then I think about this combined with the fact that cars are going fast and would just maybe run over me if this happens. Somehow there is a break long enough that I stall twice and still make it across the street without becoming a dead animal (or woman laying on her dropped bike, crying and scratched and cursing). We cruise (more like go 10 mph) over to our friend Jacob's house. This is "break time for me".... luckily Jacob just learned to ride so he understands my fear and the fact that I feel like I just accomplished something big. Of course my husband is already trying to push me to go through Jacob's yard on the motorcycle without dabbing (I think that means putting your foot down).

"What? Today is street riding only," I tell him. And I tell him this the next three times he urges me to do this. I do eventually go through the yard, nearly walking the bike with both feet guiding me through the grass and the bike on the verge of stalling out. I think this is what they mean by "squid" and for now I am happy being a squid.

We did a few more little rides around town then went on Hwy 99 and crossing the Aurora Bridge. Nobody ever tells you that when you ride a motorcycle across something that high up (second highest suicide rate bridge in the country), the wind is so strong, you practically are falling over, not to mention drifting into the next lane.

I survived that. The end wasn't so glorious. I stalled on a hill with a car behing me and had a small fit (remembering a story my mother told that was very similar to this but she didn't have a companion coaching her till she got it) until I remembered we live in Seattle and drivers are extremely patient (I have a theory for this but it will have to wait for the next blog). I made it up to the hill to our house and felt a little better about riding. And felt tired from the adventure. I am ready to go again.