When I right personal posts on my blog I often refer to how I lack in confidence, how I get anxious, how I worry about things. That anxiety often leads me to believe I can’t do something, and so I don’t do it – making excuses. Or I do it, and spend quite a lot of the time on the verge of panicking, meaning I don’t enjoy it.
I’ve been riding a motorcycle for many years now – eight or so I think, maybe nine. I’ve been “into” bikes since I was very small. I remember when we were living in Devonport, Plymouth that the route to the School gate took us past a couple of totally gorgeous Harley Davidsons parked outside the house on the corner. One had lovely deep purple tins. I wanted one. I then had the opportunity to have a go on a friend’s dirt bike – just a 50cc or something – and I loved it. I’ve always been wanting adventure I guess.
Anyway, with all that, a total love of two wheels and engines, and having had a license to ride for many years, it might be a bit of a surprise that I have never actually got a motorbike out on my own. I mean, someone else has always (at my request) got the bike out of the shed or garage (depending on where we were living at the time) and put it on a nice level surface so I could jump on and take it out. I’ve been on a few bike trips now and when I’ve had my own bike (borrowed or hired) I’ve developed the habit of pulling up in a car park or layby, getting off to take photos or have a drink etc, and then getting my husband or someone else with us to move the bike so I can ride off again. Very female I know. Poor show.
In November last year my husband and I decided it was time to stop sharing a motorbike (and hiring them when we went on holiday). So for my birthday I received a BMW F650GS (the one with an 800 engine that is, what an odd model name BMW!) – it is factory lowered and a low seat to help my short legs reach the floor. This is my bike. What an awesome present. We could both go on rides together, and both ride. No longer would I have to be happy with being pillion. Absolutely fantastic.
But of course with my own bike came new responsibilities. I’m no mechanic and although I’m not too ditsy when it comes to simple maintenance tasks I’m having to learn a lot more. That’s ok, these things interest me (most of the time). I even have to wash it myself (yes, yes I know!). But my other half would still get the bike out of the garage for me, push it up the slope, and set it down somewhere easy for me to get on and ride away.
I had a long-time-booked day off work, and the forecast was looking fantastic. Some friends were talking about going for a ride and somehow I agreed to go with them. Problem… my husband didn’t have the day off work. If I was going to join them on this rideout in the morning I was going to have to get my bike out of the garage. All on my own. I would also have no-one there for the trip to the petrol station, or for the 30-or-so mile ride to our meeting point. And there would be no-one to manoeuvre the bike when I parked it somewhere without thinking ahead.
No problem… then I thought some more and the nerves set in. The night before I even text my brother-in-law to tell him I might not make it. I was worried about getting myself wedged in somehow in the petrol station and not being able to manoeuvre myself out. I was worried about dropping the bike getting it out of the garage. I was worried about forgetting something important – like how to ride.
Actually I’m not sure what I was worried about.
As is usually the case I’d convinced myself that this thing was a massive challenge when actually it was very a simple task, and one that I was totally equipped to do. This bike is a perfect fit for me, had no fuel and so was the lightest it could be, and was sat in the garage facing out. I went out, sat on it, and rode it out onto the road. No problem. I then rode it up the hill to the local fuel station, where I parked neatly by the pump and filled up. I then enjoyed the stress-free ride to meet my friends, where I arrived smiling (and very early because I’d left sooooo much time to sort myself out!). When we stopped for a bacon sandwich (the fuel of bikers) I parked my bike sensibly and had no problem getting it back out of the space again. And when I got home I put my bike back in the garage (albeit facing forwards – but I did help my husband turn it round when he got home from work), still smiling. What a fantastic ride. Very enjoyable.
We get very set in our ways, and our heads can play tricks on us – it is very easy to convince yourself you are not able to do something, when actually the best thing to do is go for it. Try with confidence, because if you try without any belief that you will achieve then you will more likely fail. Believe you can do whatever it is and you are more likely to complete those tasks that have worried you. In the words of Nike… just do it. Confidence can be everything when it comes to success, without it you are just not your best.
Life is all about the journey. Part of that for me is trying new things and challenging myself. So I consider last Monday a bit of a motorcycling breakthrough. A confidence boost for sure. It may seem incredibly small (I know I’m a “lady rider”), but I achieved something, and now I will not hesitate going out for a ride on my own should I fancy it. The rest of my get outdoors year will be full of even more motorcycling fun as a result.
There’s (nearly) no stopping me now!