First Bike

Posted to October 20, 1991.

Amusing in retrospect. What a newbie!

Oct. 20 1991

I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!
I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!   I DID IT!!

Today I took home my '82 Kawasaki CSR305!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Kawi has 3300 miles on it, no scratches (never been dropped) and
is absolutely clean.  It is a cruiser/standard cross, with a
cruiser-giveaway two-tiered seat (passenger sits up a little higher),
teardrop gas tank and higher handlebars.  It is a perfect "woman's
beginner's bike": it has things like a "neutral aid", which prevent
you from shifting up to second when you're trying to get to neutral
at a stop.

I am the third owner; the previous two owners were also short women!!
The most recent owner let her two sons use it.  Both sons did, for a
very short while, and promptly went out and got "real" bikes.

After parting with $550 in cash, with Andrew's help (he rode it home) we
got the motorcycle home from Northridge.  Then we went out for my first
ride!!!  I am SOOO unsure of myself, but thank heavens I have that
safety class to fall back on.  Every few yards there's a new challenge.

Andrew rode with me to the Veteran's Administration, where there's
so little traffic there are more wheelchairs on the road than cars.
I practiced a little in parking lots and a lot on roads.  I did OK
for the most part, but I am extremely unsure of myself when coming
to a stop.  I don't know how to downshift and brake at the same time;
I'm too uncoordinated.  Also I am concentrating so much on how to
operate the motorcycle controls that I'm not paying careful attention
to things around me, so until I get comfortable with the controls
I'll have to ride in low-pressure situations like today (with a friend,
light traffic etc).  Andrew hawked behind me and wouldn't let people
pass me and stuff since I was going too slow for them.

Then we actually braved it to UCLA.  On the way there's a street that's
perfectly straight with no lights for about half a mile (Sepulveda, for
LA people) and there were NO cars, so I tried taking 'er up, and wow,
what fun!!  Motorcycles, even ones with little engines, do move right
along!!  Of course, I only went 45mph at most, but to me that was flying.
Now I understand why people get fairings and well-fitting jackets --
if I am going to ride this baby at all, a fairing is a must.  The wind
on my chest even for that short distance will tire little me out fast.
But what FUN!!!!  And going "fast" in a straight line, for you worriers,
is the LEAST of one's troubles on a motorcycle.  That part is easy!!!!

Andrew says he was surprised that I did so well on things like turning,
but that is relatively easy; it's the low-speed tight turn maneuvers that
confuse me.  Heaven forbid I should need to make a U-turn.  Well, I recall
I was just as unsure of myself driving a car, and I did learn eventually. 
Although a motorcycle is a lot different than a car, at least from
driving a car I understand how traffic works, which I had to learn
while also learning the controls of a car (I learned on a standard
transmission and was also confused at stop lights!).

The seat height of my (!!!) Kawi is actually OK (although I'm not
flatfooting), except I can't walk it around at all on even a slight
incline.   I think I will have the seat narrowed so I have a crucial
few more millimeters of foot touching the ground.  I'd like to lose
the cruiser handlebars too, but I'll wait until I'm used to it
enough to know what I'd prefer.

I have no hope of putting it on the centerstand, although a few
people have showed me the "right" way of doing it.  I had ALL my
weight on the centerstand part that sticks out, and Kawi wasn't
budging.  Since I can barely tiptoe the ground when it's ON the
centerstand, rocking it off the centerstand is hard too, but in
time I can learn that.

I have this amazing impulse to spend money on my new toy, why is that?!!!
I want to rush out and get a fairing a jacket long gloves a bungee net
a cover a tank bag a saddle bag different handlebars a toolkit a shop
manual a .....

I look at the thing and it looks so huge and intimidating, and I can't
believe it's mine!!!  Looking at other motorcycles, this one is little,
but to me it looks huge. It's actually rather heavy, I think it says
467 pounds "wet weight" -- more incentive not to drop it.  It has a seat
and pegs for a passenger for when I am VERY comfortable riding it!!!
(not for a LONNNNG time!!).  After riding this afternoon I was so
reluctant to get into my car to get to campus!!  I love my car, but
I don't want to be in a car right now!!!

I plan to practice every day at least a little until I can ride it and
relax.  I think I'll actually ENJOY this when I know when I'm doing!!!
Also I'll feel a lot freer when I upgrade my permit to a real license.

Am I a real motorcyclist yet???  Well, no one's locked their car doors
at a stop light yet and I haven't conquered the centerstand, so I have
a little ways to go yet!!!

Oh, and my Kawasaki is a deep burgundy color.  :-)

be safe and enjoy,

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