Thanks Munch, owlie and eon for the welcome! Forgot to say that before…but I hope it’s never too late to say thanks!
So today I rode into the DMV with my learner’s permit and MSF certificate, and left with my full M1 motorcycle license. That means freeways, night driving and passengers are all legal for me now. Of course, “licensed” and “skilled” are two completely different things, but it feels good to have that done. As far as I’m concerned, if I never see a freeway on my bike, that’s just fine with me. As for night driving, I guess that’s okay, but I’m not that interested in it. At least I won’t feel the pressure of having to get home at sundown anymore.
I did some parking lot practice on Sunday, and having a heavy bike like the 900 definitely makes the learning curve steeper. If anything, it’s just the newbie anxiety from thinking about having to pick it up. But I already crashed once on my first ride a few weeks ago, and I don’t want to replay that. I just started out really wide and easy with my u-turns getting tighter as I grew more confidence. I also worked on leaning more until my peg feelers touched a little. I have one turn on my way into work that’s just like the 135 degree turn in the MSF course, and my pegs have touched twice while doing it, so I wanted to get comfortable with that. This particular turn is bordered by curb on both sides, which is a heck of alot different than cones, so I thought it would be good to work on that without the extra distractions. Last week, someone even honked at me right before it because I had slowed down so much. All I could think was “Thanks! Because that’s just what I need right now! More pressure!”
Does anyone use the rear brake while doing slow speed driving? I tried it while doing my slow driving practice and I think it works out pretty well. Use the friction zone, and open the throttle a little more than usual and ride the rear brake slightly. The bike feels considerably more balanced at slow speeds when I do that. Then I just let a very little bit of clutch out if I need some more speed, and then come back in and gently ride on the rear brake if I need to slow. I still need quite a bit of practice with it, because it’s another thought experiment right now, but I can definitely feel my balance improve. Of course, starting out with a lighter bike would have been ideal for all of this practice.
Anyways, I’m going to head out for a celebration ride around the bay and some dinner. Later!