11/17/2007

to the lot and back

Lesson one should have started first thing on Saturday morning, but I was impatient and wanted to get started. So, I figured that I'd just pull the bike out, take it to the parking lot, do a couple of exercises, and come back.

First thing I noticed is that the Monster definitely needed some choke to get warmed up. I'm not certain if this is normal, and I suppose I'll have to ask Chalo as well as on the Ducati Monster List about this.

Next thing I found is that my clutch/throttle control needs lots of work. I got to a point during the MSF where I was fairly competent, but getting smooth is definitely going to be one of my challenges over the coming week.

Now, one of the things I didn't consider is that the normally empty parking lot would have lots of cars in it. Oh, yeah, that's right, it's Friday night. Normal people are out at the bars, drinking and trying to get laid rather than starting their motorcycle boot camp.

Regardless, there were a couple of fairly unpopulated areas of the lot, so I figured that I should work on clutch control and stopping before I finished the loop and returned home. In retrospect, I should have decided that the presence of the cars meant an abridged lesson and simply called it sufficient to make my way to the lot and back.

Unfortunately, I did do a small amount of damage to the bike, adding a couple of scuffs to the plastic on the back of the mirror and the little slider on the end of the left handlebar.

More importantly, I broke the last couple of inches off of the clutch lever. For safety, I'm going to need to replace that as soon as possible. I guess I'm going to start learning how to wrench on my bike earlier than I thought I'd need to, since motorcycle boot camp must continue.

Shortly after, one of the security guards from the bar a half block away jogged over to the lot. He'd noticed my novice skills while practicing and my spill and had decided to move his car out of the way. I noted that he didn't even ask me if I was okay.

Anyway, he didn't really need to relocate his car, since I'd definitely decided that this meant lesson one was over and that it was time to take the bike back home and review my mistake and what went wrong.

In the end, this was a great lesson. I got my first spill and damage to the bike over and done with, I gave myself a swift kick of humility and respect for the bike's power, I learned the advantage of having an EMPTY parking lot to start practicing in, and I still managed to have fun and not spook myself in the process.

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