by Dee Dee Baker (DoubleDee)
The purpose of this journal is to document
my personal experience as a
Newbie Motorcycle Rider. I want to be able to remember all the things
that make this adventure so exhilarating, frightening, fun, and clearly
one of the best times my life. Once I have enough miles under my butt to
become a proficient motorcycle rider, I hope to someday be fortunate
enough to teach other newbie’s how to ride. This journal will prompt me
when I have forgotten all of the things that were most important and
critical to a newbie learning to ride. More importantly it will remind
me of the heart throbbing excitement that learning to ride brought into
the second chapter of life.
Before I begin, I think it is important to give a little background on
how I got to where I am today, OWNING MY FIRST BIKE (and believe me
is very little background since it’s been less than 2 months from my
first two-up ride, to purchasing my own bike!). My personal THANKS go
out to Fred for turning me on to MOTORCYCLING, for helping me to find my
first bike, for being brave enough to tackle the job of teaching me how
to ride and for dedicating so much of his time towards it!!
As I stated, my first experience riding a motorcycle began less than 8
weeks ago, shortly after meeting Fred. That in itself is another story
for another journal; let’s just say our cyberspace meeting was as out of
the ordinary as it is for me to be writing about riding a motorcycle for
the first time in my life, at age 53!
I began my motorcycling experience riding as a passenger (commonly known
to motorcyclists as two-up riding) on the back of my gentleman friend’s
Vulcan 1500cc Cruiser. What a beautiful bike she is too, big, black,
fast, loud, and lots of pretty chrome. Our first few rides were short
trips, usually to go someplace for a bite to eat. He was very cautious
not to overdo it and to make it as pleasant an experience for me as
possible. Well he did a damn good job, because I fell in love with
riding pretty much instantaneously. Within a few weeks I went on two
longer group rides with a Club he belongs to, The Southern Cruisers
Riding Club (SCRC), a national club in which he is a member of the
Washington, Seattle-Eastside Chapter 368.
My first experience with the group ride ended up to be what my friend
said was the “Best and Worst” of what motorcycling had to offer. We rode
approximately 200 miles that day, and what an experience it was! We made
it a little more than half of the way to our destination. The beginning
of the ride was fabulous; we had beautiful weather through the back
of Monroe…so far, so good. Then we stopped at a rest stop to take a
break and some photos. When we started to throttle the bikes up to leave
when Dee, the only woman rider in the group that day, said her bike
not start. It ended up that her starter went out, so her bike was jump-started by the guys in the group and we followed her to the CyleBarn at
Smokey Point. No mechanic on duty, so off Dee went back home by herself
with a mission not to stop anywhere because she would not be able to get
her bike started again. Dee made quite an impression on me that day.
She didn’t hesitate to try to repair her own bike problem even though
there were plenty of men around to help out and she was quite confident
she could ride alone to her mechanic near her home in Bellevue. I
wondered if I could be as self-reliant when it came to resolving
motorcycle mechanical problems.
The group then went on to Conway where we stopped at the Conway Tavern
for BBQ Oysters. I was leery at first since I really dislike raw
oysters, but thought what the heck I’ll give these BBQ ones a try.
Absolutely delicious!! We resumed our ride headed to La Connor and
that’s where things pretty much went downhill. The weather turned bad
and began to rain, so we all suited up into our rain gear. Then the road
captain decided, without anyone knowing about it, to divert the group up
this steep mountain road with treacherous curves for bikes even when the
weather was dry…and by now it was pouring down rain!
When we finally made it to the top of the mountain my friend was very
angry and decided to have a few words with the guy who led us to the
top. I didn’t hear what he said to him, however when he returned to his
bike he said, “It’s ridiculous we are up on the top of this mountain on
day like today, the weather is not improving and we should try to make
our way back down, head straight for I-5 and back home”. No argument
from me. Well the trip back home was an hour long, straight run down I-5
to 405 to I90 in pouring down rain. We were both sopping wet and
extremely cold, however, when we finally arrived at my house and hopped
off the bike we both began to laugh hysterically and almost
simultaneously said “Well, we made it back alive, what a sense of
accomplishment that was!!” My friend asked me what I thought about the
experience, and I said “I loved it, when can we go again!!” We both knew
right then I could tuff out even the worst of times on a bike.
Our next group ride was called the 3-Pass Run, which was a 280-mile ride
over Snoqualmie Pass, Blewett Pass, and Steven’s Pass. The Eastside 368
Chapter met up with the Wenatchee Chapter of the SCRC on the Eastside of
the mountains near Leavenworth. It was very impressive to ride into
Leavenworth with about 30 bikes riding formation. The day was absolutely
spectacular; we had lunch at Gustav’s in Leavenworth, ended with ice
cream in Duvall and back to Issaquah to collapse for the night. This
trip really put me over the top about biking and I was hooked for good.
Two weeks later, brings us to…
June 17th, 2003:
I purchased my first Motorcycle, a 2000 Yamaha V-Star 650cc Classic.
I am now the proud owner of my very own, Black, shiny and for me…big
enough…fast enough…maybe not quite loud enough, V-Star 650cc Classic
motorcycle!! There’s only one thing left to do…LEARN HOW TO RIDE IT!!
The day after I purchased my motorcycle, my friend took off for a trip
Alaska, so Dee the lady rider I mentioned earlier offered to help ride
the bike home from the dealer for me. We picked the bike up tonight
after work, and parked her in my garage; my car promptly lost its home
the garage and came out into the driveway! Dee suggested I sit on the
bike in the garage put it in neutral and walk it back and forth…so
exactly what I did. When my gentleman friend returns from Alaska his
plan is to start teaching me the basics before I attend the MC Safety
Training Class. My mission while he is gone is to try to get into an
earlier Safety Training Class to obtain my endorsement instead of the
I am scheduled for in September. It seems so long to wait until
September to be able to ride my bike legally and safely, so getting my
learner’s permit has become another priority. Studying for the exam is
now my primary objective.
Friday, June 27th, Lesson #1:
0 Miles. Neighborhood Street Access Only.
By the time my friend returned from Alaska I had finagled getting into a
July 10th, 12th and 13th Riding Safety Training Class in Lacey AND
passed my Learner’s Permit Test at the DOL. I was ready to be a
RIDER-IN-TRAINING! Tonight’s lesson was basically showing me where all
the important items were...breaks, clutch, throttle, etc. and how to
back it out of my garage. I watched him do it once and then he had me
sit on the bike and do it myself. This sucker is heavy and I almost
wiped out one of the solar light poles that line my entry walkway. I
finally made it down the driveway to the street. He had me walk to the
corner of my block onto 188th where he rode the bike to meet up with me.
He said OK get on the bike and go…I said WHAT??#*!! ‘Ya gotta be
kidding!! Well, I got on the bike, put it in neutral, started up the
engine, pulled in the clutch, shifted into 1st gear and slowly released
the clutch…off I went with both feet dragging the ground for several
feet and then grabbed the hand brake and jerked myself to a stop! OMG, I
was really doing it!! I did that several times back and forth until Fred
said, “now you’ve got to pick up your feet and put them on the
floorboards”. I said WHAT??#*!! I was reluctant to do so, but finally
placed one foot up and then the other… OMG I couldn’t believe I had
delayed that maneuver because the bike felt much more stable after
picking up my feet and balancing them on the floorboards and there I was
cruising in 1st gear!! Finally, he said OK I’m exhausted we are done for
the night. He rode the bike back to the garage and I walked home. I felt
a great sense of accomplishment and was really happy with the progress.
Newbie Tip: Don’t be reluctant to pick up your
feet and place them on the foot pegs/boards…you’ll be surprised how much
that balances and stabilizes the bike.
Back to Index