Rookie Rider’s Day Out

 

Almost a week has passed after I bought my motorcycle and I’ve ridden it only once inside our village. It was one quick ride and I’ve been craving to do more. However, since the day after that I had to report to work and rain has been pouring since then, that left me no choice but to lock and cover it up in front of our yard until today.

This morning, weather hasn’t improved and it isn’t exactly what I call a motorcycle-friendly day – it’s gloomy and the threat of rain is looming over the horizon. But the call to take another ride took over my worries of getting wet. I felt a sudden mix of anxiety and excitement once I got home after dropping my wife off the shuttle bus stop.  After parking my car I prepared for my maiden motorcycle ride.

And so from the very start of the preparation alone, I was awaken to the world of MC riders; little by little I experienced what it is like to be taking a ride out of the comfort of my car. Here’s my log for today’s ride:

1.       MCs are meant to be started and left idling for a few minutes before taking it for a ride – It’s not unnecessarily wasting gas but it’s a requirement to warm up its engine unlike cars that you can start and step on the gas right after.

2.       I wore (needed) shirt, jeans, sneakers and a helmet (which I got free from the MC dealer).  These are the minimum – although one item in the newly debated LTO guidelines state that a leather jacket is a must.

3.       A P500 in your wallet is more than enough for a full tank.  I have a full capacity of only 3.7 liters or P200 worth of gas. That’s just sweet. I’m yet in the process though of figuring out how far 1 liter can go.

4.       Signal lights do not automatically turn off after executing a turn. Don’t forget to manually switch it off or you’ll be giving wrong signals to the vehicles behind you.

5.       A jacket is needed for an early morning ride like I did. I realized midway of my trip that my nipples are getting harder with the cold wind blowing all around me. Ti abi. The LTO must have the thing against stiff rider nipples.

6.       You can’t scratch your nose or any part of your face while your helmet is on. I unconsciously tried doing it and saw some smiles by the sidewalk. That’s embarrassing.

7.       Fixing something somewhere in your crotch is a no-no.  Need to elaborate?

8.       Water puddles isn’t fun anymore. I love to go fast on these while driving my car (making sure of course that no one’s around to be reached by the splash), imagining myself in a Peugeot and trying to beat Sebastian Loeb.  Now I guess I’ll have to get used to imagining beating Jeremy McGrath instead. Just kidding.

9.       Coasting isn’t possible. My MC’s shifting pattern does not allow (or I may be wrong) me to shift to neutral after achieving a sustainable speed like in a downhill.  But then, other than being illegal according to the rule of defensive driving, MCs fuel consumption is already thrifty compared to cars (or cages, as MC riders call it) so coasting isn’t significant anymore.

I covered 32 kilometers for this morning’s ride and it felt good to be out on the road and coming home safe. It’s not actually scary as most people (usually wives and those without MCs) would say. The rules that need to be followed are still similar to driving a car except for some other things that need to be observed – such as staying visible to other motorist, giving more focus due to the obvious reason that the rider is exposed to all elements and maintaining balance at all times.  

With my introduction to the world of MCs, it opened me to a new perspective. I’m now beginning to feel empathy to those people who have no choice but to take an MC to work despite heavy rain, I now respect their space on the road, and I now understand the need for car (and any other 4-wheeled vehicles) drivers and MC riders to co-exist in order to create a healthy and safe commuter environment. Of course I still believe that education is the key to achieve orderliness and hopefully, more people will soon get educated enough to drive safely.

 

Postscript

Having holding back from telling my mother about the idea of buying an MC, I finally called her after this morning’s ride and told her all about it. I was expecting some sort of worried remarks coming from the other end of the line, but I was all smiles when I heard her say, “Ay gali? Ano ginbakal mo? Ang mga pambabayi na motor? (Really? What did you get? Those feminine motorcycles)

 I was laughing when I asked her what she meant by “feminine” motorcycles and I laughed harder when her description fitted that of the underbones –the one I currently have.  She must be expecting me having a motocross (also known today as motards) which I remember were the “in” thing when I was yet a kid. Anyway, I explained to her that underbones (and scooters) are now the trend as they are cheaper and have lower displacement – thus, lower fuel consumption; AND that they’re not just for women. (she’ll be mobbed in the forums with those remarks. hahahaha)

I was still wondering about the unexpected jolly remarks from her after I ended our conversation, and then I remember that she was the one who taught me how to ride a bike during my elementary days. I recalled her patiently holding on to me until I felt comfortable with the balance and she eventually came running along while I pedaled it all by myself.  From my late high school to college years, she  likewise never questioned my scuffed shoes, tattered jeans and tiny bruises when I was into BMX flatland.  AND she even approved when I came home with a haircut which has the word “BMX” shaved behind my head.  Come to think of it, she’s a cool mother. (Baw!)