OK… I spent all of last weekend learning how to ride a motorcycle at a beginners motorcycle safety course. I am certainly not going to go into something like this without something like that to back me up.

Let me tell you, it was worth the $185 to take the course. It taught me a lot in a controlled situation, and it also eliminated the nervousness of taking the exam at the licensing bureau, since all I had to there was show them the graduation card and I was endorsed. Besides, it gets me a discount on my motorcycle insurance.

So, having finished the training and getting my endorsement, I went looking for a bike. I tried two different dealerships, as I want my first bike to at least be somewhat safe since I don’t really know what to look for on them in terms of things that would not be safe due to someone messing with them and modifying them.

Both Streit’s motorcycles and Polaris had bikes that I thought were appropriate for me, appropriate meaning that I like the look of the bike and it is not too much of a bike for my experience level. There were two bikes, one at each dealership, that I thought were appropriate. A Suzuki S40 at Streit’s and a Suzuki S50 at Polaris. I went with the S50, as I think I would probably get bored with the S40 in no time and be looking for something a bit more powerful in no time. Having ridden the S50 for the last four days, I think I was right in my assessment.

So Monday evening I plunk down seven grand for the S50, drove home and got a ride back to the dealership, and rode it home…. scared to death the entire way. Let’s face it… when I got on that bike to ride it home, all I could think of was that it was rush hour traffic on US 441, something that I really didn’t want to have to deal with on something that I was somewhat unfamiliar with. I made it fine, but still it was something that I don’t think I ever want to have to experience again.

That evening I took it out again, and went to a training meeting for the Thieves Guilde. I had to leave early because there was no way that I was going to be driving that thing at night on the first day. No way in hell.

Next day I take it into work and get a tag for it so that I can park without getting a ticket… tickets on campus have gone up to $30 a pop, so it just isn’t worth it. In the afternoon I drove down to the Brain Institute and talked to Larry there, and he offered to me a couple of books on riding that he thought I would be interested in. Had to follow him to his house, which was interesting for me, and he managed to beat me there despite leaving first. No big deal, since I don’t feel like pushing myself all that much yet on the bike. Got the books, then took Millhopper road out to 241->232->235->235A which spit me onto 441. Took 441 into High Springs and grabbed a burger at the Hardees there in town, then back to 235A->235->241->Millhopper road and home.

Wednesday I took a long way around town to get to work, heading out to NE 15th and then heading south and winding my way through town until I got to 8th Ave, which I took west to NW 22nd, which took me straight into campus. In the afternoon I headed out to Williston road where there is a nice little windy road out of Robinson Heights out to Hawthorne Rd. Passed down along 2082 through Rochelle, then bounced up along 234 through Windsor until hitting 26, which I took back into town.

This morning was nothing special, but this afternoon I took an interesting run up north through La Crosse, Brooker (mile 900 on the bike!) then south on 225 back home past the racetrack. It was a good run, and I enjoyed it. Found along the way that posture really helps in making the ride that much more comfortable at higher speeds, and the road was empty enough that I was able to practice a bit on swerving to avoid things.