Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Three Things I've Never Done Before

Today I did three things that I've never done before. One good, two not so good.

I decided that I need to commute on the bike to work more. I need more of that town riding experience as when we go for rides it tends to be out in the countryside. Today was my first day back to work after holidays and today I had to get the bike out of a new parking spot. We have a new carport which both bikes have been snuggled up in for the last week. Terry was getting my bike out for me before this but today it was nicely backed into a spot between the wall and Terry's bike. It was a bit of a squeeze and I realised that I wouldn't be able to even swing a leg over to ride her forwards, I'd have to push her past Terry's bike. So with Terry watching me like a hawk while he leaned his bike out of Roxy's way, I gently pushed Rox forward. It was the first time I've pushed her without being on her, I used to push the scooter around like he was a little brother, but he was much lighter. I've always been a bit scared to try and push Roxy, today I just did it without even thinking about it and I was pretty pleased that I wasn't that hard. OK I didn't push her far but it was a first for me, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Then I got all my gear on and packed my backpack for work, double checking that I had everything, then set off to work. I was practising just using the back brake to stop with, and keeping my foot on the brake while stopped, with mixed success. I can stop with the back brake but I still feel unsteady when I'm stopped and end up putting both feet down. I was almost to work, stopped at a round about when I did the next thing that I've never done before, as I went to take off my hand slipped off the clutch and I stalled. Ooops, it wasn't that bad, she stayed nice and steady, I dread that thing happening and making me lurch forwards like a stall often does and then Rox having a bit of sleep. She didn't but when my hand slipped it made realise the third thing I did that I've never done before ... I forgot my gloves. I don't know why unless it's because the gloves weren't where they normally are, in my helmet. Why that is I have no idea, all I can guess is that I put them away in a tidying frenzy while we had visitors and then I just forgot them.

I am so feral about ATGATT that I'm just plain ashamed that I can forget something so basic so easily, and once I'd realised I didn't have them I felt so uncomfortable. Ugh, I'm just going to put this all down as a learning experience and promise myself that I will do better. More commuting to work for me.


  1. I am a great one for forgetting to do my helmet up, end up sopping 300 mtrs down the road, take off gloves, do helmet up, put on gloves.....

    1. Ugh now that would be annoying ....

  2. Brenda, Not to worry we have all forgotten something on our bikes, I forgot to do up my chin strap once and I realized as I was zipping down the highway at 90km/h what I had forgotten. UGH that was a moment I felt sick!

    You need to be using both front and rear brake for stopping and good even pressure of both, 70% of your braking power is in your front brake. The tripod stopping position will become easier as you use it (foot on rear brake and balancing your bike on your other foot.) Just curious as to why you where just using your rear brake only for stopping?

    Good for you getting Rox out of the parking space!!!

    1. Ta Dar :)

      Yep I'm trying this out as a way to make myself use the back brake .. I'm stil finding myself just using the front brake to stop and someone gave me the idea to just use the back brake to get myself into the habit and also to get the feel for it. I guess I didn't explain it well, I'm using the back brake to slow myself down not for the whole stop, I still have my hand on the front brake as well. It's just that I tend to forget the back brake is even there and someone noticed my problem, it's a hangover from the days when I rode the scooter and had only hand controls. I've found that even though my foot is resting on my back brake it isn't actually engaging that brake and I'm stopping just using the front brake. This is working as I now have a better idea of how much pressure I need to apply to the back brake to engage it. Did that make sense, it does in my head anyway :)

      Yeah I keep practicing that tripod stopping postion, I reckon that one day it will just click, I think I still have nervousness about the weight of Rox and worry about dropping her, I know if she even starts to tilt a little bit that I just cant hold her up. Maybe (heavens forbid) I need to go to a gym to build up a bit of strength ... eeek!

    2. Brenda, Hurray to you for pushing your own bike. Those arm and leg muscles are building without having to go to the gym! Although I have heard you should stay fit to ride...You could incorporate regular work and housework activities into a fitness program - lifting heavy boxes with your back and legs, always taking the stairs, shoveling snow up over your head (wink!), walking Gizmo, hiking up hills...

      I always stop now with both feet on the ground after what happened during my safety course. I was using just one foot to hold the bike up and the wind came along and was so strong that day, that it pushed me right over to the ground on the left side. The clutch lever was broken completely off...

      When you don't have all your gear on, it just feels weird doesn't it? I knew right away one day that I forgotten my ear plugs, the engine just didn't sound right and I thought I had wrecked it somehow - what a relief to find it was just me!

    3. Oh I want snow!!! .. I need snow to keep me fit .. is anyone listening to me ... O.O

      You didn't wreck yourself did you Suzu!?!? :-D

      I do try to take Gizmo for walks but she's a lazy sod and ... oh I cant lie, I get lazy and poor Giz has to live with running round and round the yard like a maniac while I laugh at her :)

      It's funny how things that have happened to us shape us later, I dont remember ever having anything quite as troublesome as your training day happen but I have dropped Rox too many times to be comfortable. I will persist though, I'm finding that if I stop with my foot on the brake then I can leave it there long enough to come to a complete stop before putting it down to make me feel steady.

  3. Brenda:

    How many times do you think that I have put on all my gear: Helmet, gloves, riding pants, zipped up my Jacket and hopped on my bike all ready to "GO", then realize that my key is NOT in the ignition ?

    That's why many bikers now put their keys on a lanyard around your neck. That way you only have to remove a glove and zip down your jacket, rather than having to dismount, and find your key in the second pants underneath.

    You should always stop with about 80% front brake and a bit of back brake to create rear drag to keep you in a straight line. At slow speeds < 10 kmh it should be rear brake only (Same for gravel) but never only rear brake as most of your stopping power comes from the front

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Hehe Bob, I've only done that once .. or maybe twice .. Luckily I wear kevlars so my key is in my outside pocket, only have to take a glove off to get to it.

      Ta for the braking tips Bob, I'll get it eventually with help :)