First Day Commute

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Joined: 2006-09-15
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The year I bought my first motorcycle I had many obstacles to overcome; I had to first get rid of an old boyfriend who told me not to buy a motorcycle, risk being disowned by my parents because I wanted a motorcycle, and convince my boss that I was going to buy one anyway, so he might as well help me find a good one. Finally, I purchased a used Kawasaki 450 LTD and was in heaven. I sold my car to help pay for the bike. The weekend after purchasing my bike I enrolled in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginner riding course. Three days in the classroom and on the [tarmac] in the hot sun was pure heaven. My MSF course instructors were like Gods to me and I just couldn't wait to get home and ride my new motorcycle to work the very next morning after graduating from the course.

Monday morning came with my short 25 mile commute ahead of me. I felt like it was Christmas morning! I was extra alert while driving through the city traffic, and was continuously using the MFS instructors SIPDee process: (Scan the environment, Identify potential hazards, Predict the development, Define an action plan). I needed to keep track of all those potential hazards that could get me. As I came up on a liquor store parking lot I noticed a guy in a black pickup truck glance my direction and then at the last minute pull out in front of me. Thank goodness there was no one behind me or I'd have been an LTD sandwich. I locked up both wheels on my bike and came to what they called in the MSF course as a "controlled skid" inches from the passenger side door of the truck. It was so cool being able to slide gracefully to a stop using the tennis ball squeeze on my brake levers, and glare at the idiot literally inches from me. The driver of the truck also had come to a screeching halt and was staring at me with his mouth hanging open as he realized he had almost run over me, and the car in the lane next to me. Looking back at this, I realize had I tried to swerve to avoid him I'd have hit the car in the lane next to me.

If had tried to swerve to the left, I'd have been in the oncoming lane of traffic. At that moment I once again paid homage to my MFS course instructors for drilling those habits into my being.

That happened over twelve years, two motorcycles, and thousands of miles ago. Yet, whenever I'm commuting to work, or just out riding for the day and I drive through a city or town, I remember my first day going to work on my new bike, and the jerk that proved to me that I could handle a bad situation.

- Debbie