My First Time...
This edition of The Roar Report is about my first time riding a sportbike, come along for the ride.
My first time riding ever was back when I was about 12 on a friend's Yamaha YSR. I rode around the block never leaving first gear nor using the rear brake. It was the most fun I had had in my life by that time that didn't involve me telling my friends to smell my finger afterwards. It made me want one. Now the first time I rode my first new sportbike was a little different. This one is gonna be a long one because I'm having a flash back as I type...
I'd have to look on my calendar to get the exact date but I'll never forget that morning in March of 2006. I had trouble sleeping the night before because I was so excited. I was like a little kid the night before a trip to Disney World or something. I had my clothes for the next day's first ride laid out on the bed in the other room. I had the directions to the dealership printed and ready to go. My helmet and jacket were hanging up near the door and my gloves inside the pockets awaiting their first grip full of new bike. Up until this point I had been riding my first bike for the past two years or so (a 1980 Suzuki GN400e that I got at a police auction and wrenched on myself to get running right). I was used to a 400 cc cruiser with only 4 gears, a kick start and a redline top speed of about 85 to 90 mph. I would be "screaming" on the highway "getting it" in 4th gear wide open before I knew what "getting it" really was. So anyway back to the first ride on the new bike. The morning of, the dealership opened at 9am but I was up at about 6am. The dealership was about an hour away and my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) was driving me. She was cranky because for one I had her up "dumb early" for a bike and two of course because I was getting a motorcycle. Now if you've ever met me you know how much I love motorcycles and if you've ever seen my home you know a biker lives there. How in the world I married a woman with so much disdain for motorcycles is still beyond me but low and behold she drove me nonetheless. We get to the dealership after a ride that felt like it took 2 hours and they aren't even open yet. She's pissed and tired, I'm anxious and chomping at the bit to see my new bike. So after about an hour of waiting in the car the dealership opens and we go inside to sign the paper work and see the bike. I had frame and swingarm sliders installed before I picked it up and they were still doing that when we arrived. Now we are being told that it's gonna be a while before the bike is ready and that they weren't expecting me so early. I get "the look" from my lady and I tell her that she can leave if she wants to. She reluctantly says "no, I'll wait with you." Happy that I had someone to share my excitement with I thanked her for sacrificing her morning to help me to go pickup what would basically be her replacement, ha ha ha.
Now it's about 12:00 pm and the bike is still not done. We've gone and eaten lunch, we've gone and looked at local stores and made a bunch of phone calls and even played games to keep ourselves occupied. At this point she can no longer stand to wait (mind you she's never seen the bike except in pictures on the Internet and of course who didn't have a big azz picture of the bike they wanted set as their desktop background or screensaver) and I tell her to go home. Before she leaves I ask her to take the OEM parts that the dealership took off the bike with her because I had no way of carrying them and didn't want to have to come back for them. Had I known then what I know now I would have told them to just throw them away but back then I was so ignorant and excited to be getting that bad mamma jamma that I'm surprised that I didn't ask to keep the nails from the crate the damn thing was shipped in. So now I'm all alone and roaming around the dealership. I've sat on every bike in the showroom a dozen times and tried on damn near every piece of gear they sold. I watched bikes of every shape and size pull up and pull off all day. I saw club riders enter the dealership and try on stuff or pick up their bikes and thought to myself "they are cool as hell." At the time I was with my first club but we were not as organized as many of the clubs I deal with these days. Finally the salesman (Todd) came out and said "Lion` you wanna see your new bike?" I swear that has to be the same feeling that rushes over a new father for the first time because as cool as I tried to play it, I had the biggest ear to ear Kool-Aide smile on my face that I can ever remember having. So I follow the salesman outside to where my brand spankin' new 2006 Honda CBR600RR (limited edition Pearl Orange/Black Tribal) is parked looking as good as the sexiest video vixen ever could. I mean when I saw her in the sun light for the first time I swear "it" moved. She was gorgeous and she was all mine. All the people there were complimenting me on it as if I had sculpted her from clay myself. People were oohing and ahhing and just as impressed as I was. I felt like I had walked into the dance with the Prom queen on my arm y'all. People were asking me all sorts of questions about it and saying how nice it was. Apparently she (her name was Brook by the way) was only one of two that the dealership had gotten and the first sold right away. That one had only sat in the dealership for about three weeks before I came along and she was taken off the floor after I came in and did a bunch of paperwork to make her mine about three days prior. So the salesman went over the bike with me and of all the things he "explained" to me the one that stood out the most was this. I asked him what the break in is like on the bike for the engine and the tires and all that. He said to me in a smug "Honda is the best in the world" air of confidence "it's a brand new Honda, there is no break in." "No redline starts or burnouts for the first 500 miles and that's about it." As I said earlier I was ignorant then and thought how could what he said be anything but a good thing. I didn't know how to do a burnout and I wasn't about to push the bike too hard for a while anyway so neither of those were concerns of mine. That part of the story is only important if you read/hear the story of my first crash but I'll save that for another post for the sake of your Visine bottle getting empty from reading this novel.
So now I've started the bike and taken it for a slow lap around the parking lot to familiarize myself with where all the controls are. Again this is my first sportbike, my first new bike and my first time riding something this powerful all by myself with no one riding next to me. Okay so now its time for me to ride off into the sunset on my new beautiful bike with all the other riders at the dealership looking on green with envy and make my way home. I tell you the bike felt, looked and sounded so good all I could think about was "don't drop it, don't drop it don't mutha phukin drop it!" I was so nervous and excited that while pulling out of the dealership's lot I went the wrong way up a one way road. People were looking on at me like either this guy is insane (in a good way) and meant to do that or he's about to die! Nothing happened thankfully. So I'm riding on and trying to concentrate on getting home (because I wasn't 100% sure about how to even get to where I was familiar) and block out the excitement and nervousness. People all around me in cages were looking and I let it go to my head because I started lifting my face shield and winking at women, waving to little kids and folding my arms and sitting up on the bike at red lights as if I had been doing it for years. The ride was one of the most exhilarating, nerve racking and fun rides of my life. I was exhausted by the time I got to where I was going from constantly adjusting my position, turning my head and generally worrying about the bike and myself. I ended up not going home right away and instead went to the barber shop to get a fresh cut and show off my new baby to the fellas at the shop. Then I linked up with my best friend who had already gotten his new sportbike back in December. Then he and I (some of you may know him as Knowledge and his Kawasaki ZX-636 Charlotte aka: Spank That Azz) rode around the city until about 1 in the morning. It was great. I didn't want to stop riding. I don't know how many time we filled up and I know we ended up on South St. (hot spot in Philadelphia) parking lot pimpin' a few times while catching a grub. I remember when I finally went home and crawled my tired azz into bed smelling like I was out riding all night long, my girl asked me if I had fun and as tired as I was I tried to tell her about every minute of it. She wasn't having it. I had gotten her up early the morning before to go get the damn bike and I guess she was not about to be kept up the next morning by me regaling her with the day's ride. I let her sleep and the rest of that night/morning, while trying to sleep quick so I could get up and do it all over again, I got up at least 5 times throughout the morning to check on my bike. I was still living in an apartment at the time and hadn't gotten a cover for it or anything yet. I had both bikes parked in one spot chained together and secured to a light pole. I tell you, if I could have brought her into the bedroom with me I would have. That was my first ride and what a ride it was. I never went any faster that maybe 70 mph and never saw higher than 4th gear but I was on top of the world. The next morning I wiped her down as if I was out riding thru puddles and what not and she was still as clean as a shiny new penny.
My my, how far I've come. My bike now wears dirt and dead bugs on the wind screen like a badge of honor. Too busy riding to spend time washing her. Boy do I miss riding and right now its nice enough out to log some saddle time but alas my baby BIKE is sitting in her room at home (aka: the garage aka: Man Land) and I am caging it up today because of errands I need to run after work. Anyway, thanks for reading/listening and I hope I didn't bore any of you…at least those of you who weren't scared away when you saw how long this post was. I'd post a shorter Reader's Digest version of the above story but I don't think I could properly take you back to that faithful day with me in just a few paragraphs. Flag me all you want to, I'm not about to go back and spell check or grammar check all that. I'll even give myself a flag just so you won't have to.
By the way, what was your first time like?
Disclaimer: This edition of The Roar Report was written on 06/22/09.