For those who followed my Delayed 650 Pickup
thread, I thought I would share my progress.
Just a bit of background first, I took (and passed!) my MSF course in 2015. So, I've been walking around with an "M" endorsement on my license, burning a whole in my wallet, for 2 years. I finally got around to buying a bike. That process wasn't tough, although no dealers would let me ride any bike (even used) so I phoned-a-friend to test drive it for me once I had it narrowed it down.
Since the dealership was well over an hour away, requiring highway travel, I opted to rent the U-Haul Motorcycle Trailer. I was outside of the dealers delivery zone, and he wanted to charge me close to $100 to have it delivered; also it would have to be schedule, etc. etc. I made that problem disappear for $17! Once I paid for the bike, did the paperwork, got some accessories (helmet, gloves, battery tender) it was cash & carry (so, to speak) and out the door I went all rev'ed up ready for my new adventure!
I get the bike to my local school parking lot and it all comes back to me! I was so worried I wouldn't be able to handle the 650 since we learned on 250's. Sure those first shifts were a bit clunky, but the Vstar 650 Custom has a low center of gravity, the low seat gives me loads of confidence since I can easily plant both feet flat on the ground if needed, and it fits me (5'8" 165 lbs) like a glove; What more can I say!
So, I spend last weekend at the school parking lot and in my neighborhood. Not really venturing out onto the open road. I live in the burbs, and we are surrounded by 40/45 MPH roads and I needed to build up my confidence. So, revisiting the MSF class drills: Speed up, Slow down, left turn from a stop, right turn from a stop, left turn while moving, right turn while moving, figure-8, left u-turn, right u-turn panic stop, lane change with head check, you get the idea. There is a long road that heads behind the school, so I was also able to practice my speed, 20, 25, 30, even 35 mph.
Finally, last Friday I played a bit of hooky and escaped work a few hours early and eased onto the 35/40 MPH roads. Easy. Great! Logged over 25 miles just driving around my town. I found some back roads that run along side of farm land. Twisty/Turney roads that follow rivers and streams, the weather was perfect, the commuter traffic wasn't heavy, and it was a perfect ride!
Talk about perfect ride - Friday didn't hold a candle to my Saturday ride! Again, I got out early before the roads got busy and did more of the same. I ventured onto some of our busier roadways for a bit. Even discovered new ways to get from point-A to point-B. I also got my first motorcycle wave from another cruiser headed in the opposite direction. Of course, I returned the gesture like I've been riding for years
. I think I'm hooked
One tip, that I got from a friend who rides HDs, is to not be shy about making yourself known. So I did some subtle revving when at traffic lights, so everyone knew I was around. When I did, you could see the heads tilt to look in their rear-view mirrors. Maybe there is something to that line about Loud Pipes.
All-in-all, I logged just under 70 miles between Friday and Saturday. I have some stuff around the house to catch up on today (Sunday) but I do hope to get out for an hour or so. Again, my only destination is experience, so who knows where I'll end up. I can't wait.
Thanks to this forum for providing all the good insights, reading and experience that I've been following. I only hope I can repay with the tips and tricks I pick up.
PS: I am scheduled for the "additional practice" MSF course next month; I want to nip any bad habits in the bud before they become routine. I may also take the advanced MSF course next year, when the bike comes out of winter hibernation and I have more miles behind me. Thoughts?