Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Middleburg, VA, United States
Lessons learned; more to come
After a thirty+ year absence from biking, I took delivery of my new LT in August, '07. Easing back into things during the late summer and fall, the first thing I realized is that I had either forgotten everything I knew--or never knew how to ride in the first place. So with that humbling knowledge at the fore, I took the MSF safety course and afterwards, proceeded riding the LT as if I was a complete beginner, which is the flat, unvarnished truth of things.
Now that my pride and joy is tucked away in its CycleShell for the winter here in the Berkshires--surrounded by about two feet of snow--I thought I would pass along a couple of things (just a couple) that I have practiced since getting back on top. We all have our own experiences and lessons learned when starting from scratch. These are some of mine.
First, as I approach the bike wearing appropriate safety gear, I throw everything else completely out of my mind and think only about what I'm about to do. (Sort of like that other pleasant activity...)
Second, I sit on the bike and mull over my internal check list. I'm not very bright and with me also being a beginner, I do not even turn the key for two-three minutes until I am comfortable that my mind and body is now linked with the LT.
Third, once I am underway, I am immediately "on point." There is nothing going on around me that I am not in control of--or can instantly react to, if things get out of hand. If I can't control matters or see things clearly, then I am immediately searching out alternate trip dynamics.
Fourth, with me being from Mississippi, it is not hard to be friendly to strangers; so I wave high to these Yankee auto drivers while pulling up to side streets, and although it surprises them, they know I am present and accounted for--which is all I really care about.
Fifth, and lastly, I never use cruise control because for me (a beginner), it is absolutely dangerous to trust the thing--especially when going into lazy, long curves when my speed is greater than appropriate for the curve. Plus, to me--operating mostly on two-lane roads here in the foothills--cruise control induces an unhealthy mental laziness.
So when the snow melts, I'll be back out there, waving at puzzled Yankee motorists and learning even yet more lessons. And I intend to love and ride my LT until I drop--me drop, that is, not the LT.
-Best to all for the Holidays, Clark