The Motorcycle Homilies: Learning to Ride a Motorcycle Is a Lot Like Learning to Write

IMAG1297-smlThanks for bearing with me, loyal readers and fellow bloggers! I haven’t blogged in ages, but I hope you are still with me. I’ve been busy working as well as learning to ride a motorcycle and enjoying the beginning of summer, so it has been an interesting couple of months.


 Motorcycle Lessons

It took me several lessons to learn how to shift into first gear and get the thing moving. The controls are very sensitive, and since I only drive automatic, learning how to shift gears was something new to me.

Robert Brockway of says it best when he says,

…for reasons that are entirely beyond me, motorcycles have the clutch on the handlebar and the gear shifter at your foot, forcing me to assume that Bill Motorcycle, the inventor of the motorcycle, was either medically dyslexic or some sort of drunken acrobat who exclusively rode bikes while doing headstands.

You also control the throttle with your hand instead of foot, and have not one but two brakes — using either of which at the wrong time will hurl you off the bike like a meat trebuchet.

learning to ride a motorcycleSo far, I’ve never been hurled off the bike in such a spectacular manner. In fact, I managed to take off successfully on my very first day of learning (that is, first day of learning with the motor on — there was one previous day of coasting downhill and falling over). The bike gave a bit of a lurch as the engine nearly stalled, but I got things under control.

Strangely enough, in the following training sessions, I seemed to get worse!

I was worried that stalling would occur or that I would lose control of the bike. And indeed, there was a lot of lurching and stalling. Sometimes the bike would roar forward like a wild beast when I applied too much gas. Once I accidentally popped a wheelie, impressing nearby spectators. But finally I found a way to apply the right subtle pressure on the gas and to gently release the clutch.

The bike was in motion! Apparently that’s the hardest part of learning to ride, and I finally conquered it.

I guess the cheesy motorcycle metaphor moral is that with riding a motorcycle, as with learning any other new skills, we do better when we are confident. Sometimes this confidence comes from ignorance, but that’s okay. It gives you the power to start something new and dazzle the world with your amazing wheelies, metaphorical or otherwise.

At the age of 12 I believed I was the best damned writer in the universe. While that may not have been true, it gave me the confidence to continue writing for many years to come.

This is why I think writers who are stuck or are having doubts about their abilities need to look back at their youthful writings and recall that feeling of owning your writing and liking it just the way it is without worrying about what family members, editors, or critics will say about it.

Okay, that’s enough homilies for now. I will write more about my adventures soon!

3 thoughts on “The Motorcycle Homilies: Learning to Ride a Motorcycle Is a Lot Like Learning to Write

  1. Hi, Sonya! Being an avid ex motorcycle rider (I would still ride, but I’m not physically able to) I can relate to your initial experiences. Whatever you do while riding, always expect the crazies of the 4 wheel variety to do the least expected and most threatening things. Being paranoid is a prerequisite to surviving on the streets on two wheels. There is nothing more fun than riding, though, (well, maybe one or two things) so it all balances out in the end. Here’s to your continued learning and enjoyment of riding. 🙂

  2. Is good to know that you are learning to ride the motorcycle, i understand how you have felt the time you have ride the motorcycle, is something new to do it and i think is a great experience, and then you for sharing.

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