A couple of months ago I bought a motorcycle. It’s an entirely different experience when you’re riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car. I’ve only been riding for a couple of months but I love the feeling thus far.
I purchased a 2008 Honda CBR 125R. It’s a small little bike that’s great to learn with. I’ve already dropped the bike, after only having it for 3hrs. When I took possession of the motorcycle, I rode it to Walmart and rode around the parking lot for a few hours until I got the hang of the controls. After that, I wanted to take it home but wasn’t entirely confident yet. Home was 15km away but it meant that I would have to ride around in regular traffic. After calming my nerves a bit and seeing that the roads weren’t busy, I took the plunge and decided to ride it home, but with a pit stop at the office. That’s where it happened!
I turned into the parking lot and slipped on some gravel at low speeds. Since I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, I went for the front brakes to slow me down even more. That was an amateur move. In hindsight, I should have used more of the rear brakes to stabilize myself rather than the front brakes. When you ride over gravel, grabbing the front brakes causes the suspension to compress and slows you down, but the kicker is that the back wheels, where all the power comes from, still wants to move forward. So when I grabbed the front brakes, my bike went from under me. It slid about 5ft and I fell on my right side. Luckily, I had a protective jacket on so the fall wasn’t too bad. I got right up and assessed the damage. There was a bit of an oil spill so I thought the engine was damaged during the fall. At the time, I didn’t have any concerns for my own wellbeing. I was more in shock with the fact that the motorcycle may be damaged beyond repair than any physical pains that I was feeling. I guess the adrenaline kicked in so I didn’t feel any pain. The fall ripped my gloves and gave me minor abrasion on my knee. The motorcycle on the other hand had a bit more damage. The muffler was scratched but still intact. The right handlebar end, mirror and brake lever and upper cowling were also scratched. The right turn signals broke off and needs to be replaced. Other than that, the motorcycle still ran perfectly. My right shoulder and chest were sore for a couple of weeks. But once I was fully healed, I was ready to get back on the bike.
Luckily, I was healed in time for the motorcycle safety course. The course was very informative. They taught me the basics of riding a motorcycle. I should have stayed off the motorcycle until I had taken this course, but I was anxious to ride. The course started off slow, with riders pushing each other and then we move our way up to starting and maneuvering the bike. The emergency stopping part of the course was very valuable. I’ve already had to use it numerous times. Drivers of cars just don’t see motorcyclist. They can be staring right at you and still not see you. So when you’re on a motorcycle, you’re on your own.
In a car, you have a higher sense of safety because you’re surrounded by a metal cage that will protect you in case of an accident. There are air bags that can be deployed if you get into a fender bender. On a motorcycle, you have a helmet and whatever protection that you’re wearing. While riding you have to be on a constant look out. It’s up to you to pay attention to your environment and make sure everything is in the clear. After riding for a while, you start to know when a driver is going to do something stupid. I tend to keep my distance.
As it stands, life on two wheels is great! I’m out on the road whenever the sun is out. There’s a sense of freedom that you get when you’re on a motorcycle as opposed to being behind the wheel of a car. I make the most of the season while I can because I don’t plan on riding during the winter.