One Year with the Blackbird

I may look somewhat cool but I am feeling more than somewhat terrified.

A year ago today I was a scared but excited newbie riding my MT-03 off the dealership lot. Today I’m celebrating one year of motorcycling with 8,400 miles on that same bike.

I had spent months researching bikes both new and used and fell into a bit of analysis paralysis trying to find the best bike for the kind of rider I wanted to be.

But biggest anxiety I had that day wasn’t bike-specific: it was literally how I’d ride from the dealership back to my home in Harlem. You see, I’d never ridden a motorcycle outside of the MSF course, which takes place entirely on a closed parking lot. The idea of riding on a public street terrified me, let alone riding in New York City traffic.

Inaugural ride: a few hours of practice in a nearby lot at 34F.

I expressed my fear to one of the friendly staff at the dealership, who suggested I practice in the nearby parking lot of a college campus. He even dropped a pin in Google Maps so I could find my way there. He also pointed out the rev limits in the owners manual. With that, I felt more confident and managed to ride the few blocks over to the lot without hurting myself or anyone else.

I spent the next few hours learning how to change gears, use the brakes, and make low-speed turns in 34 degree weather. I was freezing but also excited to finally have a bike. The practice also made me slightly less panicked about making it home alive.

Curbside wrenching.

Today, I’m celebrating a year of motorcycling with an afternoon of bike maintenance in preparation for a big road trip. (More on that soon.)

I’m still a newbie in so many ways but I’m delighting in the fact that I’ve got so much to learn and get better at, both in riding and in wrenching.

Motorcycling has opened up an entirely new world for me – both literally and figuratively. I have no idea where this obsession will take me but I’m excited to find out.

A few more miles under my belt, but still a newbie.