Category: Maintenance - Women in Motorcycling
So, yesterday I went out for a ride for the first time without the supervision of a mentor rider. I had never ridden without a more experienced rider along with me before, so needless to say, I was nervous.

To calm my nerves, I did "T-clocs" on the bike-- checking the tires, fluids, etc. I found out that the tires were at 22 and 29 psi and are supposed to be at 29 and 36 according to the M.O.M., so needless to say, I took a field trip to put air in the tires. Here's a lesson for you: proper air pressure makes for better gas mileage-- i got much fur

I ended up meeting up with 2 other new-ish riders. We met up and headed out the Ravines. And here's the kicker- I led the ride. Although there were only 3 of us, leading is a whole new set of experiences. There's always something to worry about-- making sure the people behind you are still there, wondering what happened to them when they are not, making sure you're leading everyone the right way, trying to keep everyone in close formation so that they are safe, trying to make sure that you point out any road hazards, send hand signals to ride single file, signal for turns and make sure you know if you're stopping at lights or going through them on yellow. It's a lot of responsibility!

All of that said, it was a fantasic ride and we felt super empowered afterwards. It felt really good to have accomplished a ride without a "grown up" rider along with us. For me, it was my first experience of being unsupervised and it was nerve-wrackign and exhilerating all at the same time.

It was a beautiful day for zipping through the ravines and enjoying the scenery, but for me it was all about taking another step in my riding and developing more confidence.
In Riding in the Shadows of the Saints, Jana Richman says, "The last thing a woman motorcyclists wants is to fit  the stereotype of the woman motorcyclist-- the one who can't make tight u-turns, who can't answer the question 'How many cylinders?' when she takes the bike for emissions testing, who most definitely cannot fling that tool packet open with one quick movement, pull out a wrench, tweak this and that, and get the bike back in working order"

I am by no means a handygal, but I have learned some things already about bike maintenence. I do know how to change the battery. I am also intriciately aware of how to change the spark plugs (including "testing for a spark" which was scary at best). I can do the little stuff-- checking tire pressure and the like. I can also change/check fuses. But that's about the extent of my mechanical knowledge.

I'm looking to learn more!