I vividly recall my first ride in traffic.
I had just purchased my first motorcycle, a bright red Honda VFR, and wanted to take it out for a spin. I borrowed a helmet and riding jacket from a friend and ventured out on my own.
Everything started out fine. I did a few laps in the parking lot of an apartment complex near my house, and from there, I ventured out to a side street at a nearby shopping center.
I felt a little nervous, but nothing too bad.
A short time later, I decided to venture out into traffic. I exited the shopping center and turned right onto Highway 72, heading west. My heart started racing. Cars were all around me. I felt anxious, awkward, and incredibly small. My mind became overwhelmed.
And then I thought: If I die in an accident today, my motorcycle mentor (an avid reader) will certainly find out. The headline reads:
“Beginning Rider Crashes During First Ride in Traffic.”
I rode a five-mile loop that afternoon, making only right-hand turns because left-hand turns seemed too hard. How could it be that such a short ride physically and mentally consumed me?
I felt under-skilled and vulnerable. When the ride was over, I took off my helmet and made this promise to myself.
If this fear doesn’t go away, I’m going to sell this thing and stop riding.
* This article is an excerpt from my book Motorcycle Smarts.