Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Cruiser Quest - an unexpected twist

I went to the GP (that's the doctor GP, not the motoGP) this morning, to get my xray results. The good news is that my bone has mended. The bad news is that it's going to be pretty fragile for a while yet, so I need to be careful. I was given the heads-up about that by my lovely GP a while ago anyway, along with the exhortation to 'get thee a cruiser' - so, no surprises there.

Next stop was Eurotune, the Triumph dealership in Queanbeyan. Helen & Anders were really helpful. I sat on an America - HUGELY imposing and very heavy. It was parked on a very slight slope, but I couldn't haul it upright off the side-stand, so that was that. Bye Bye America. Next -  the lovely Bonneville. The T100 was, alas, too tall. The SE was a much better fit, although I still couldn't get my feet flat, possibly because of the position of the pegs. Who on earth put them right where I would put my feet in order to get them flat on the ground? I wonder whether the pegs can actually be moved? Straddle-walking the bike would be pretty much an impossibility, coz my little legs won't touch the ground if I stretch out past the end of those bloody pegs. Sheesh, I hate being this short! I booked a test ride anyway, for next Monday.

That sweet Harley Sportster 883 Superlow has really taken my fancy, so I headed to Robbo's Motorcycles back in Canberra to have another sit on it and to book a test ride. Lo and behold, Blake, the sales guy, said I could have a ride on it this arv. I fanged home to get my gear and fanged back to Fyshwick in record time.

And then I couldn't do it. (This is the bad bit. Look away if you don't want to see a grown woman cry.) I sat on that nice, low, easy-to-ride, beaut little bike and the last 6 years of riding just evaporated. I was back at Stay Upright with my heart thumping out of my chest and tears in my eyes, so terrified that I couldn't move. WTF?

Blake was brilliant. I would've been fine once I actually got out on the road, and I think he knew that. Another few minutes and all would've been ok, I think (maybe). The boss, though, told him to pull the pin on the test ride. How farking embarrassing. Blake was an absolute champion:

"Don't beat yourself up over it - the last time you were on a bike you fell off and broke your pelvis. And this is an unfamiliar bike, unfamiliar riding style. Why wouldn't you be nervous? Be kind to yourself."

I still felt like the world's biggest loser. I'm giving myself tonight to be a big sook, then tomorrow I'm going to give myself a very stern talking-to. I wonder whether it would be useful to get out on the road on something more familiar, just for my first ride, post-accident? A little GPX or something small like that? Despite the sporty ride position, it'd get me out there in the traffic on two wheels, juggling levers etc.

The other thing that I guess has bothered me is this - I've never taken a bike for a test ride in my life. I've never ridden anybody else's bike. I've never test-driven a car. I'm so nervous about the possibility of damaging someone else's ride that I just can't do it. Maybe THAT's the problem (in which case the previous paragraph about test-riding a little GPX is rendered null and void!)

I think if I were to just buy the bloody bike I'd be able to ride it out of the showroom, no probs - but then, what if I hated it after 50kms? That has never happened with any of my other bikes - I've fallen in love with each one (especially my last SV) almost instantly - but what if??? What if this horrible fear means I've lost my nerve altogether?  Wouldn't I know it already? Wouldn't that have manifested as a "Hmmm, don't think I'll bother getting another bike" mindset? Surely my desperate need to get back on a bike means that I haven't lost my nerve, right? That this is a temporary setback, yes?

Okay, so tonight - perhaps some self-indulgent snivelling, maybe even a pizza - and definitely a Wild Turkey while I feel sorry for myself... Tomorrow, a big bowl of HTFU for breakfast, and it'll be a new day. Thank goodness.


Tara said...

I'm sure it's just a test ride nervousness! I get it with unfamiliar bikes too! I was so nervous when I got the GSX750F that I just rode it around the block and then bought it. The SV I didn't test ride because there wasn't any.

I did test ride the Bandit, but that is because I wanted to feel comfortable on it instantly :) I was after, as soon as I started riding.

Perhaps test riding a familiar bike will help, show you that you can still ride and it's the same as you remember.

I stopped riding for a few months a few years back, but as soon as I got back on, it came back naturally.

When I had my big accident on my Ls, I am glad that I was forced to get back on otherwise my L's were going to expire!

Moike said...

I share your feelings about other people's bikes. I was terrified about the little rental F650 in Switzerland, even though I normally get about on a heavy old classic. The test rides I did on each of my Bimmers were short and nervous.

Don't beat yourself up.

Gerry said...

My test ride on the GV650C scared the living daylights out of me, but now that I've had it five days, and covered 400kms, I'm layin' it into the twisties like no one's business.

Was a bit terrified at tight roundabouts when doing 180 deg turns, bu even that is going fine now.

Another thought, try taking something to calm the nerves before your next test ride
(subject o medical advice.)

Good luck, Sue.

Geoff James said...

Absolutely no need to beat yourself up Sue, anyone who has had an "off" has been there. Compared with you, I only suffered a minor injury when I had a slow speed off, but after recovering, getting back on the bike took a bit of nerve first time up.

I suspect there's a lot more steel in you than you give your self credit for at present :-).

All the very best!

lemmiwinks said...

Sue, I can relate! Imagine climbing back on a simple machine like a bicycle (*the* bicycle in fact) that, through no fault of anyone else's or any mechanical causes, just your own gross stupidity, you fell off 3 and a bit months prior and busted your hip and shoulder. I think it's a perfectly normal reaction. Your deep down primal brain remembers these things and it's like "WTF?! Remember what happened last time?" You have to remember that it's just doing it's job, but you know better than it does :-)

FWIW I have idly toyed with the idea of a Hardly Abelson in the past and I think it'd be cool as hell if you got one. I love the idea and I'm sure Pisshead Pete would approve! Slip some Vance and Hines pipes on there, Screaming Eagle intake kit, 1200cc jugs and pistons (bolt right on). The kids at school will lose their minds.

Also, speaking as a former Bonnie T100 owner, the seat is a plank, dead sheep helps slightly, but it still hurts. Rear is over sprung and under damped so you hit a bump - thump, ow, launch into orbit. There's not much ground clearance so get used to grinding the "hero blobs" off the ends of the footpegs.

Wore mine off completely and into the rubber. If you're really having fun the header pipe touches down next :-) Other than that it's a very nice bike (fantastic motor that pulls hard from 2,500rpm to the rev limiter) and I really enjoyed owning mine, but I wasn't sorry to see it go when I sold it.

A Scouser In Exile said...

Hey Sue - you've got bigger stones than a lot of guys. Takes a big pair to admit you are scared but you will ride out this one.


Sue said...

Thanks everyone for your very encouraging words. Some of you know by now that I bought the Sportster anyway, despite the lack of a test ride. The moment of truth will come very soon - if I can get the heated grips and luggage rack put on before Wednesday, I'll pick it up this week (and ride it home!)- otherwise I'll have to wait till I get back fron the Chairmaking course (my big school holiday project!)

I have to say - I'm excited! Trying not to get too carried away thinking about ways to give it a bit more oomph - will just try and get used to it first, heh heh!

lemmiwinks said...

AWESOME! Hope you guys get along well. I'm eagerly anticipating the post with all the details.

Gerry said...

Good one, Sue! All the best.

We want piccies !!!