As many of my readers will recall, last year I learned how to ride a three-wheeled motorcycle (trike). I was pretty proud of myself for learning how to use the clutch and throttle, becoming fairly fluid in switching gears, and overall becoming a more confident rider by the end of the riding season.
Living in Minnesota means that once the cold winds start to blow and the temperature drops, it is time to put our bikes away in storage for the winter. I had six months of riding as a novice and then I had to wait another six months before I could hop back on and hit the road.
I was a bit apprehensive the closer the time came to go pick up our bikes from where we stored them. Would I remember how to turn it on? Would I be able to effectively use the clutch and throttle to smoothly get my bike rolling from a dead stop? Will I remember which way to rock the gear shifter in order to quickly shift up or down?
My husband told me to STOP! To stop thinking about it and just get on the bike, letting everything come back to me naturally. I mean, it’s really just like riding a bike isn’t it? Once we learn, it is hard to forget – right?
When I got on my trike, it felt like an old friend and I was ready to ride! I easily left the parking lot and we had a wonderful ride taking back roads coming home. It wasn’t until after we had stopped to eat that I had my first reminder that I was still learning. I killed the engine when trying to get going after exiting the restaurant. I let my clutch out before I had given it enough throttle to really start rolling. I didn’t really get shook up and immediately restarted the bike and smoothly went on my way after that small mishap.
We rode a while longer and as we had crossed a road, I did something that killed my engine again. I can’t even tell you for sure what I exactly did, but there I was in the middle of a road, trying to get my bike re-started so I could get on my way. Again, I did not get too shook up and was able to get on my way fairly quickly.
I took these two incidents as lessons. I need to still be paying attention to what I am doing and I realized that when I get tired after riding many miles, my left hand (that handles the clutch) doesn’t grasp the clutch as easily and I have to consciously work it so that I have a smooth release.
All in all, not bad for my first day back in the saddle.
Yesterday started out beautifully once again. My husband and I went for a ride in the afternoon because our Minnesota Spring weather was exquisite. Temps in the 70’s, a nice breeze, no bugs… perfect riding weather!
Our ride went beautifully and with every passing mile, I felt more confident and comfortable and then we stopped to eat…
After we were done eating, I hopped on my trike and started the engine. I put it in gear and BAM, I killed the engine. I tried it again and BAM, I killed the engine again. I not only killed the engine twice but a total of four times just trying to get my bike out of the parking lot. This probably wouldn’t have been so bad but I did this little killing the bike engine dance in front of a bunch of guys who were on the patio of the restaurant!
After the fourth time, I yelled at the guys to “stop looking at me because I am really paranoid” ! One nice guy kept hollering over to me “It’s okay, your okay…”. Nice words but they did not sink in because I was MORTIFIED – how could I have just done this in front of all of these guys? It was like the more I tried to get my trike going, the more I was failing at “Motorcycle Riding 101”. I was angry at myself for not being with the program.
On the fifth try, I was able to exit the parking lot and ride smoothly. I was able to easily stop at a stop light and get rolling again without any other issues. It was only when we got back out on a stretch of highway where I could take a few good breaths, that I realized I just had a major learning experience… I let my Ego get in the driver’s seat and take control of my bike in that parking lot.
I failed to do what I teach others to do… to BREATHE. If I would have taken three to four good belly breaths, I would have calmed down my anxiety immediately. My mind would have tapped into the knowledge that resides there and I would have rolled out of that parking lot with ease and confidence.
Here are a few of the things I learned in that short period of time:
- Before starting something important, do a brief “gut check” to see if there is any anxiety lurking there. I was intimidated when I had to pull out in front of a group of guys who were watching me take off. If I had done a quick gut check, I would have realized that I was feeling vulnerable.
- Take a few deep belly breaths before starting anything important. Breathing with intention would have focused me and allowed me to lower the anxiety and clear my brain so I could effectively tap into my knowledge of starting my bike from a stop.
- Ask your Ego to take a back seat when needed. I allowed my EGO to take over and make matters worse. I was so worried about how I “looked” to the outside world, that I forgot how knowledgeable I really am.
- Remember the law of attraction. I was so focused on the fear of not being able to roll into my ride smoothly and embarrassing myself, that I created that very scenario. If I had said to myself “I’ve got this”, I would have pulled out of that parking lot like a pro.
Am I nervous to get back out on my bike? Nope. I am excited to get back out and become a better rider. I am going to work through my “performance anxiety” when I am in front of seasoned riders because I am going to focus on what I am doing and not about what other people are thinking.
Would you be willing to share an experience where you became so nervous that you created the outcome that you most feared would occur?
Pat Sheveland, RN, CMC, ACC
Certified Life Coach, Intuitive Light Coach, Transformation Coach