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I got my first bike when I was in my early 20s. Didn't know enough to be scared and grew up on a farm with all sorts of equipment and what not so the clutch/throttle/brake/shift thing didn't phase me. Second bike I was 25 and working as an EMT. Saw a lot of stuff I wish I could forget, and sold my bike. (I'll spare you the graphic motorcycle related scene that contributed to that decision.) That was 30 years or more ago.

This spring I decided I wanted a bike again and went to look at one I saw for sale on fb. I got out of the truck, walked over to look at the bike, and actually had a mild panic attack! I was quite surprised at how big and scary the motorcycle seemed to be and I just sort of froze. The seller sort of smirked at me and came over, started the bike and said go ahead, test drive it. He clapped his helmet on my head and buckled it up for me as though I was a child so then of course I had to try. I wobbled my way through the yard and out to the street, and managed to make the turn without falling over, duck-walking like you see on the you tube videos. I was shaking so hard and couldn't seem to breathe. I puttered a few blocks through town (thankfully a very small, flat town on a weekday) wandering across the centerline of the street while I tried to look down and find the gearshift. It was awful! I shuddered to a stop at the first stop sign and nearly fell over. I think all that saved me is the bike is low and I can easily flat-foot on both sides.

I sat there thinking about it for a bit, but my give a damn is completely busted and life isn't what is was, and my main thought was I've got nothing left to lose. I let out the clutch, gave it some throttle and wobbled my way back to the guy's house and told him I'd take it. He pocketed the money and then drive the bike to my house for me.

That was in April. Now, six months later, Bike and are good friends and go on adventures together.

I'm boring you with the whole story so you know even someone who used to ride a lot can be scared and unskilled.

It took me quite a while to get comfortable on Bike and get over the racing heart/shaking hands/short of breath stuff. I had to practice in a parking lot for days before I felt like I could go out on the road. It took even longer to start getting smooth with the stops and take offs and I still have to think about it some, it's not fully instinctive yet. Just last week I had an embarrassing bobble when I put my foot down but was still moving too quickly and had to do some funky dance moves to stay upright and stop properly. Of course there was a car behind me to witness my fat old white woman rap.

So don't get discouraged. It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes getting used to your bike so that you've built up the muscle memory. You'll get to the point where your hands and feet automatically get in the right position to work the controls at the right time and you won't have to think about it so hard. Try to relax and enjoy. Invest your time in practice and there's some channels that have great tips for road strategy that can help, like MCRider with Kevin.

You'll know if you shouldn't ride - you'll have that gut sick feeling and dread trying and be worn out and unhappy after every ride. You'll find yourself avoiding riding even when the weather and the road are calling. If that happens, then give it up.
But if you're interested and trying and enjoying it; thinking about riding and reading about riding and waiting impatiently for the rain to quit so you can ride again, you're good, even if you're awkward yet. Give it time, practice, relax, and enjoy! Best of luck to you.
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