Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roses are Red, Legs are Blue…, What?

Alternate Title: My First Practice Session on My New Mistress.

No, there is no kinky stuff going on here. Mistress is my new V-Star 1100 Classic. I had just purchased her and had managed to ride her home in one piece. The next thing on the agenda was to get it insured.

I had filled out all kinds of online applications for an insurance quote to find out how much it was going to cost. In my searching earlier that week, I had run across a link to TWFG Insurance Services, a motorcycle insurance broker selling motorcycle insurance in multiple states. They are set up with several different insurance carriers. I had filled out their online email form and they emailed me back a reasonable quote through Progressive. My wife called them and we promptly had the insurance policy in effect.

Now that we had the bike insured it was time to practice riding. I would worry about getting the title and registration transferred over next week. I tossed on the used helmet I was temporarily using, my non-motorcycling jacket and hopped on the shiny V-Star. I was going to head up to one of the local school parking lots to practice, stops, turns, and take offs.

I let out the clutch to leave my driveway giving the bike enough throttle not to kill the engine. I was turning right out of my driveway. There is a dividing island with grass, trees, and regular curbs that starts right at my driveway. It divides our street up from that point on up to the main entrance to my subdivision.

Well, I took the right hand turn a little too wide. Maybe not just a little. Before I knew it, my bike was tracking towards the gutter and too close to the curb of the island. My MSF Basic Riding Course training kicked in about target fixation and I looked beyond to where I wanted to be, anywhere besides next to or hitting that curb. I mean, In the center of the street ahead.

My left floorboard must have just caught the curb. Mind you that I am not really traveling that fast, having just pulled out of my driveway. OK, probably faster than I should have been making a sharp right turn. This is where it got interesting. As near as I can tell, when the left floorboard caught, the front wheel, which is attached directly to the handlebars for you non-motorcyclists, slammed hard left. My hands were no longer holding those grips on those said handlebars. I suddenly felt a sharp pain from my left inner thigh just above where my knee bends. This all happened real fast, in a matter of seconds.

Right after the handlebar bottomed out on my thigh, the gyroscopic force of the motorcycle made the front wheel, with handlebars, whip straight again. Just as they straightened out somehow I managed to grab a hold of the handlebar grips again, gained control, and headed down the center of the lane. If the bike had not had a driver’s backrest I probably would have flipped off the back of the bike. I did the natural and looked around sheepishly to see if anyone had witnessed this miracle. Or, maybe I should call it an embarrassing spectacle.

I continued up to the local school parking lot as planned. I practiced stopping and then taking off right or left like I was at an intersection. Right hand turns seemed to give me the hardest time because the bike wanted to swing wide. I kept practicing until I got it down. I’m sure people in cages driving by that saw me going in circles thought I was crazy. After practicing a good while, I headed back to the house.

I did not think too much more about the incident, other than an aching feeling from my left thigh, until I went to take a shower that night. Most of my whole left thigh was a dark blue, almost black in color. Now I knew why my thigh was aching. A couple of weeks later it was just a yellowish brown in color and my wife saw it and had a fit. I just shrugged it off, and sadly noted how much longer it takes my body to heal, as I get older.

Ride on,

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