When first starting to ride every hill and curve seemed like this great danger I needed to overcome. Before every turn I would mutter to myself “Inside outside inside” and every hill I would carefully control my throttle being sure not to accelerate too fast. To put it lightly I was not a confident rider.
Being the idiot I am I agreed to a 1,200 mile plus cruise over the course of a week after I’d been riding less than three months. Genius. Day one took us from my parent’s house to a nearby town for breakfast to a state park to a friend’s camp to sleep for the night. This was over two hundred miles. I had ridden no more than sixty miles at a stretch before.
The ride did not start out well for me. Not a quarter mile in my bike stopped. Frustrated I began to make a phone call to get help then hung up after the first ring. So worried about going so far I had forgotten the basics. I had turned my gas off. Switching it back on I proceeded with the ride. We filled up our tanks with premium just a few miles down the road after which I made another blunder. I turned too wide getting back on the road momentarily putting myself in the oncoming lane. Thankfully no traffic was to be seen, but again I felt the fool for making such a simple mistake.
Breakfast was a blessing. The food was filling and the company was great. Friends and family gave me some last minute advise soothing my nerves somewhat. “After today you’ll feel like a pro.” I was skeptical but was determined to take this cruise one mile at a time until we arrived at our final destination.
Maybe there was something magical in the coffee, maybe the comfort of being surrounded by loved ones is just that powerful, but from when we departed from that restaurant until we stopped at our friend’s camp at felt like a better rider every mile. No more did I forget to check the tank, no more did I turn too wide or stop too quick. Curves became enjoyable, hills a way to take in the view. I no longer needed to mutter reminders to myself. Dare I say it, I just rode.
My friends were right. That first day changed me as a rider. My confidence had increased tenfold. Now when I see the sign “Hills and Curves Ahead” I have one thought. Yes!