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Dodging the Roadkill: Confidence

 

Dodging the Roadkill - A Biker's JourneyClarksville, TN – When I bought my first Harley last year, it had been over thirty five years since I had ridden a motorcycle.  It was a Suzuki 750 and I was young and stupid.  It’s a wonder I lived to tell the tale.

My venture into motorcycle ownership is documented here.

The first thing I did was take a safety course at my Harley Davidson dealership.  When I straddled the bike for the first time and took off around the course, I realized that it was no problem.  I was 63 years old and you wonder about a lot of things, especially balance, and strength.  

I was hooked.

Me and Harley

Me and Harley

During my research and test rides, I had decided that a touring bike was what I wanted.  Those things are big and heavy, and I still wondered if it was the right choice for me.  I knew I had to build my confidence and master my skills to be a confident biker.

My mentor, let’s just refer to him as the ‘Texas Desperado,” told me, “make no mistake, you will drop this bike.”  “Everybody has done it and it will happen again.”

I’ve dropped a bike four times since I started riding.  The most recent, was just last week, on some gravel out in the middle of nowhere.  

I was riding through Kentucky when I turned down a street that was narrow, and the turn-around was a gravel circle.   As I turned to get out of the area, the bike slipped and I just laid it down. 

So there I was, unable to pick this beast up by myself, no cell service, nobody to help and civilization was about 100 yards up a steep hill.  In biker boots.  Sunny and hot, 95 degrees. 

I just knew I was going to be a headline in the local paper.

I eventually found a guy who was more than willing to help, and we picked the 900 pound bike up and off I went.

I was shaken, I will admit.  I rode into town, pulled into a convenience store and grabbed a bottle of water to cool off and settle down.

Once I got home, I replayed the days events.  I concluded that I had to get over my fear of gravel.  It’s gripped me ever since.

Then just the other day, I was riding through another part of Kentucky and found myself in a similar situation.  This time, I had gravel, but I also had a circular driveway to pull through and come out on the other side to get myself out of that situation.

I can’t be intimidated by road conditions.  I have to be careful AND confident. 

My confidence has improved since day one, but there are still some things I need to improve.

Skill AND confidence are critical to handling a motorcycle. I have to be confident in every move I make on this iron steed or it could get me killed.  

I ride with men AND women who are very skilled and confident on their bike.  I love to watch them ride and I know that practice makes perfect.  But when you straddle that beast, you better be confident in your ability.  

I’m a better rider than when I started, but I guess God is making sure I don’t get “cocky” and stupid.  

Been there, done that!


About Hank Bonecutter

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