June 10 was a big day for Shannon Wright. That was her first time riding her 05 Ninja 250 on the open road. Up till this ride, she’d been confined to the simplicity, predictability and safety of the parking lot, and though the same techniques apply to both, this transition must have felt to Shannon like being plunged from order into chaos.
Our plan was for me to lead her on my bike on a route we were both familiar with, at a speed that she was comfortable with. We chose 7 pm departure for less traffic and two hours of daylight. We set this plan the day before, and she had a whole day to psych herself up to it. When the time came, I ask her, “Are you still scared?” She said, calmly, “Yeah, but let’s do it.” And the plan worked out fine, as planned.
Afterwards, her adjective for the ride was “nerve-racking”. It was so far back I can hardly remember my first road-ride on a motorcycle. I was a self-taught (as in most things I know), and knew nothing about the indispensable core technique of counter-steering, and even less about the danger of going on the road without it. Being my own teacher, I had also to just ride out on my own. I do remember taking that Kawasaki 350 Triple over the Lions Gate Bridge, with a string of cars trailing behind. It was frankly bloody terrifying. And I took the clover-leaf sooo slowwwly that exit traffic was backed up behind me. LOL
Anyway, Shannon has ridden through a psychological barrier, unscathed. SO it was a positive experience. Her heart-rate had returned to normal by 8:30 pm. 🙂 Cardio-vascular exercise on automatic. Even having ridden since the 1980s, I still feel a butterfly in my stomach each time I prep myself for another ride, which doesn’t happen with driving the car. Motorcycles are adrenaline machine, no doubt about it, and we motorcyclists are incurable adrenaline junkies, amongst whom only the competent and sensible survive.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)