November 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm #4407skippersusieParticipant
Been a while since I visited, but wanted to check in and let you all know how my first year as a rider went. FREEEKING AWESOME!!!! I figured it was time to get off the bike and a) thank the awesome folks here at BBM for all their great advice and b) try to provide some info of my own.
So I logged 4,576 miles since last October. Not a lot by some estimations, but it felt like the biker queen.. I put on about three-quarters of those miles in the last 3 months, as I have been commuting 5 days a week, leaving the car at home whenever possible. I learned to ride on rainy days, windy days, hot days and cold snap days. Funny thing is, they were all BEAUTIFUL days. I can honestly say I love riding, no matter what the weather is. What did I learn?
1. Take the course!
You are only as safe as the other folks on the road drive. I took the MSF beginning rider course and it was the best 300 bucks I spent. I am surprised at how much I retained and that the important stuff kicks in when I find myself in a squirrellee situation. If you are even considering taking up riding, take this course!! You get a break on your insurance but more importantly, you walk away with the knowledge of how to operate your bike safely.
2. It is all about the GEAR!
Having the right gear matters. Whether it’s 35 with visibility of 1000 feet or 95 degrees and dry as a bone, you have to have the stuff to keep you comfortable. I may be going too far, but even on the warmest days, I wear protective gear, including a jacket w/ armor, gloves and boots. I have a light jacket for the hot SF Bay months, a heavier jacket for the fall and dry, cool winter days and a full “polar bear” suit for cold & rainy conditions. I keep my gloves in my saddlebags, just in case the weather turns along with two spare visors for my full face helmet and an extra set of socks.
3. Find the right local shop!
As a new rider, I had no idea what a “safe bike” looked like: how much is enough tread? did my wheels need to be trued? were my fork seals leaking? did my shocks need adjusting? I found a group of spot on mechanics and an awesome owner at a local shop who loves the old Viragos and was willing to help me spot potential issues before they became problems. They also had a small collection of riding gear and supplies and made great recommendations when I asked. Best part… the owner’s wife is also the co-owner and was stoked to see another woman rider getting started. She has been a wealth of info as well and for the price of a 6-pack of my home brew everyone in the shop is willing to offer up their knowledge without making me feel like a complete idiot.
4. Visit BBM and share the knowledge!
I love reading about other folks experiences and having a sense of community. I am a big fan of “the wave”… so here’s on to all the other BBM users ==o< Thanks to all!
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