Jebus, I'm old in comparison for when I started, 33. No previous experience even though I grew up around motorcycles.
Ahhh the first ride (not counting the MSF).
March 8th, 2014. My bike had been delivered a week ago but I couldn't get out and ride due to snow on the ground or some other obstacle. But tonight was the night. A cold 32 degree night, but I didn't feel it. I went out at around 1AM on my new Ninja 300 with nearly no traffic (except that cop I waved to who probably thought I was nuts). Before venturing out, I went up and down my 50 foot driveway about ohhh 20...thousand
times before I was confident to take it out on the road to an empty parking lot less than a mile away.
If I said the very first ride to that parking lot on my own bike was error free, I'd be a liar. My glasses were fogging so I couldn't see a thing without tilting my head to an extreme, missing shifts and shifting into neutral (Which looking back now I'm not entirely sure was me and not the bike being stupid), the horn being pressed when looking for the turn signal, good fun. It was really one of those "maybe I should take up quilting instead..." moments. lol
After awkwardly getting to the parking lot and sorting out my fogging issue, I then practiced for a while going through all the MSF exercises again. Emergency stops, cornering, looking through turns, slalom, etc... Finally, I decided it was time to head out for real. Nervous as all hell, I circled my low-speed neighborhood a few times.
Joy. Just sheer joy. I don't think I'll ever forget it. As happy thoughts go, that is truly ranked up there. Potholes? HAHAHAHA I laughed at them as I scooted around them.
After my neighborhood jaunt, I decided to see what 50+ MPH felt like and headed out on a highway to a Wawa (gas station/coffee joint for those not familiar). Didn't much like 50+ MPH cause it felt like I was about to be blown off the bike kite-style. But I made it without incident, grinning ear to ear and went in to get a coffee. Best cup of coffee I have ever had before or since.
Riding home, taking all sorts of back roads, all that went through my mind was "this was the best money I've ever spent!"
Fast forward a couple of months and a lot of miles later and I realized the 300, while great, kept needlessly scaring me or had me focused on the wrong things (like needing to be hyper focused on road defects to make sure I hit nothing but smooth road. Which, in PA, is a challenge). I was so worried about the ride that I was no longer really enjoying the ride.
Sat on a ZX6R and instantly liked it. I took it out for a test ride, scared as all hell the bike was going to be too much for me, but the complete opposite happened. The test ride was almost as much fun as my first night with the 300. All negatives the 300 exhibited weren't found on the 636 and the bike and was nothing but what I can only describe as "confidence inspiring." My 5 minute test ride turned into an 45 minute test ride which turned into a purchase later that day.
Since buying the ZX the riding has become tons more fun.
Sorry for the long post, but it was fun riding down memory lane. Especially since we're in the same time of year.