I finally did it!
With a little help from a very supportive friend, I got my bike out of the garage across town and home. My first real time on the streets! My technique was far from ideal, I know I didn't do some things the best, but I made it home safe and sound. I'm past that awful grip of fear of riding on the streets. Having a friend along with me helped a LOT. I screwed up a number of times but I adopted the attitude of 'oh well, tough nuts, everyone has to start somewhere'. Most drivers were pretty nice, which sort of surprised me just a bit, guess I LOOKED like a newbie.. lol. Although there was this one dude who, despite waving him to go around me at 3 different stop signs, just sat there behind me. I don't know what his problem was.
Starting out, my heart was pounding, my stomach was in knots, and my throat got dry. Speed was no more than 30 and it was only 9 miles. I stalled it, oh, about half a dozen times.. once about 2/3 of the way thru an intersection - I forgot to put it down into first at the stop.. oops!
Bike doesn't like starting off in 2nd gear. The stop was on an incline, not too steep thankfully, and I have some trouble getting going from there. I'm going to have to figure out that bit of coordination - brakes, clutch, throttle and not roll back on a hill. My cornering, from a stop, wasn't too bad, though most were lefts which are a tad easier. I know my lane position to make those turns wasn't the best though. One part of our route (mostly quiet neighborhoods) was a an "S" curve and I did not take the right hand part of that curve very well at all. There was a big SUV coming around the opposite direction, and although I didn't fixate on the SUV, it did freak me out a little and I didn't fully look thru the turn, so I was too far over to the left in the curve
It probably took a good 30 minutes after getting home for my heart rate to settle down. I was pretty nervous the whole time, but it was definitely exhilarating and I was excited to have finally gotten past that hurdle. All in all, it wasn't as scarey as I'd made it out to be in my head. I freaked myself out WAY too much! Now, granted, it was far from rush hour traffic and I had driven my chosen route 100 times, so I knew every curve, stop, and pot hole or manhole cover, and railroad tracks on the route. Given that I haven't been riding at all since last September, it went fairly well, I'm ready for more!
Definitely heading to a nearby parking lot for some very much needed practice and getting more confidence with the bike. I'm going to be playing my Ride Like Pro DVDs a lot!!