Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Milestone 1 year scoot/motorcycle commuting

Our bike family - my 50cc Yamaha Vino 'Vixen' & Motorcycle Man's ride 'Monster'


I have hit the first year mark in my scooter/motorcycle journey, which began January 21st, 2011.  It has certainly been a wonderful year full of ups and downs, highs and some very low 2 wheeled vehicle points.  I marked my 1 year anniversary by going to the Vancouver motorcycle show with some new motorcycle friends.  I also met my fellow motoblogger Bob and it was a great!  Wow what a journey it has been so far in the space of 1 year I went from my Vino 50cc scooter to novice & traffic  motorcycle course with my Honda 450cc and finally to my newest ride my VT500C.  I have had 3 bikes in the span of 1 year!  I am not sure how many other people can say the same.  I used to be so content riding on the back of my hubbies bike that I had no desire to possess a motorcycle license, I had given it passing thoughts over the last 28 years, but that was about it.  After catching the scooter bug and then motorcycling bug I don't know why I waited so long.  

When I think back about the whole process it was pretty daunting.  It's funny when you doubt yourself sometimes it takes the belief of others who love you to pull you through and make you think "Yup maybe I can do this."  Some of the most vivid memories I have of this journey is when I finally figured out the friction zone and that it was my best friend and it wasn't a matter of speed or throttle.  It really meant something when I heard my instructor yell "Well done!" after I finished manoeuvring around the dreaded cones.  I have to tell  you I hate those orange pylons from hell, I swear that the devil created them to torment newb motorcyclists.  I remember taking my MSA test and being so nervous, I am not sure why, because I had done all of the exercises now they were just in a sequence.  I was placed in the second position out of my ten classmates, I guess my instructor new I needed to get it over with.  When I was finished I hugged the MSA instructor, who was a little shocked, I guess that doesn't happen everyday.  The next biggest thing was taking the actual road test, which stared out to be a gong show because my license had fallen out of my coat pocket when I put the jacket on and it was sitting on the kitchen floor.  Motorcycle Man came to the rescue and brought it out to me and then off I went.  I had trouble with the Honda Rebel I was using for the test, it wouldn't warm up and then came the traffic standstill that happened and I was almost late for the test.  During the road test one of the mirrors came loose and the examiner couldn't figure out why I was pulling over.  I have to tell you I almost parked the bike and walked away.   The next best memory of the past year was when Motorcycle Man went riding with me and said "Welcome to the club" I was so happy, we then continued on and rode some wicked twisties.  I have to say that twisties are my favorite thing next to eating some of Motorcycle Daughter's fabulous baked treats.  


I have been commuting for an entire year on the scooter or motorcycle and it has been great most of the time.  I have driven in all kinds of weather from scorching heat to freezing cold to torrential rain.  I have found the key to success in motocommuting is good gear.  If you are can adapt your gear to the various weather scenarios you can successfully commute.  I bought 10 bus tickets for those iffy days and downloaded a schedule, I have 8 tickets left, not bad considering I commuted for a year and through winter.  I can see spring on the horizon and I am dreaming of motorcycles trips and am excited to participate in the International Female Ride day on Friday May 4th.  I am getting together with a group of ladies and we are going riding!  For more information on International Female Ride day go to www.motoress.com  It doesn't matter what you ride, just get out there and ride!


         The dreaded orange pylon from hell, my nemesis until I ran it over and squashed the damn thing.....
 

15 comments:

Trobairitz said...

Congrats on one year on two-wheels. It has been so much fun watching you transition from the scooter to the 500.

I know you will have many happy riding miles ahead of you.

Dar said...

Trobairitz - it has been fun sharing my journey with you and our fellow bloggers. I look forward to my next adventures.

Raftnn said...

Well done, your enthusiam is contagious!

Shybiker said...

Yay! Milestones should be celebrated 'cause they remind us of what we've accomplished. This was a big year for you.

I just realized I've turned over 100,000 on my bikes since I started riding (1997). It's nice to reflect on that.

Switching bikes early in one's riding-career is normal and good. You'll eventually settle on what works for you. I started with a cruiser which was pretty (Kawasaki Vulcan 750) but uncomfortable; now I'm on a touring bike for the comfort (BMW K1200LT).

Keep riding!

bobskoot said...

Dar:

I was also glad to meet you too. I have been trying since last May, 2011 when I "missed" you on the Ocean Ride, and how disappointed I was that you didn't go to the Ross Bay Pub for dinner. I kept looking for your Vino, but it was not to be . . .

Hard to believe that you have had so many bikes in such a short time. Too bad you didn't have time to have a quiet, slow dinner while you were in Vancouver. We could have "toasted" to your one year anniversary, we'll have to save this for the next time

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Richard Machida said...

Congratulations on your first year (and third bike!). I remember when I first started commuting and it was a real accomplishment for me. I can't wait to start again! It seems like it's been a long time since I've ridden.

Dar said...

Raftnn - It's amazing how apprehensive I was in the beginning and now riding is a passion. I know the next few years are going to be of continual growth. I have decided I think I would like to become a motorcycle instructor. I have looked into the process and it's going to take awhile. The first qualification is one of riding for 3 years, so this will give me time to work on my skills and soak up everything I can about motorcycling.

Shybiker - Congratulations on your 100K! Wow that is a lot of riding! I agree even little milestones should be celebrated, because it is about gaining confidence and mastering new skills or honing and adding to your existing skillset. I am so excited about the upcoming riding season!

Bob - I wish we had more time too, it was a very busy day and we all enjoyed ourselves so much! I think I am going to settle in with my Shadow for awhile and won't be needing a bike for awhile.

Dar said...

Richard - you must have been posting a comment as I was posting my reply.

I love bike commuting and I am very fortunate that I live on the Wet Coast, because most folks are storing their bikes for winter. I still feel like a newb and need to work on stuff. I hope you get to start commuting soon!

SonjaM said...

Congrats and many more miles and smiles. Hope to be able to ride the island this year and maybe meet you for a cuppa?

Dar said...

Sonja - I would love to meet up for a cuppa! We are thinking of riding to Tofino at some point this year, weather has to be nice though and I need to log some highway miles before we do this. Its pretty twisty and turny to go there. Way more smiles too!

bluekat said...

Woot! Congrats!! and many, many more happy miles!

I agree, the orange cones are evil, pure and simple! I find the little button ones are especially insidious.

btw I'm loving the zebra seat cover!

kiwi_deb said...

Hey riding buddy - your blogs always make me smile. I too have thought about the instructor thing or at least PR for classes and ATDATT.
My highlight in this past year after the purchasing of my first bike, was meeting you. You really area sweetheart and I am looking forward to some day trips with you. And then maybe some longer ones.

Dar said...

Bluekat - I completely mashed one of the cones & actually got it mashed & stuck under the bike. That usually happened as my instructor was standing right by the spot that I was performing the manoeuvre and made me nervous. I curse all traffic cones big & little, the are the road gremlins torture instrument.

Deb - I feel the same about you and am looking forward to some adventures. I see a road trip in our future. It's going to be a long journey to instructor training and a lot of practice. I need to save up for the ERC course, so that probably won't be this year, but you have ride for 3 years before you can apply for instructor courses, so until then I will continue to pay it forward & spread the word.

David Masse said...

All the very best Dar. I look forward to your adventures. I will make it to Vancouver (it's looking like sometime in May). With a little luck we will have some kind of a blogger get together. Bob said there is a rally in Victoria in May. I'll have to look that up.

Dar said...

David - I look forward to meeting you!