Category Archives: my moto lesson

Sights and Sounds of Summer

TW Graham & Co., McClellanville, SC

My husband and I have been taking some motorcycle trips this summer both near and far.  A fun day trip from Charleston is “the long way” to McClellanville, SC.  And we always stop and eat at one of our favorite spots TW Graham & Co.  The soft shell crab sandwich is amazing (but come early because they sell out!) and the fried oyster sandwich is another great option too.  And save room for dessert, because the key lime pie is out of this world and my daughter dreams of the Pawley’s Island Pie.

(Our “long way” route from Charleston: 17N > Left on Rt. 41  > After crossing the Wando River turn Right on Halfway Creek Rd > Right on Guerins Bridge Road > Left on 17N > Right on S. Pinckney St. > EAT at T.W. Graham & Co> Out Pinckney St. > Cross 17N onto Rt. 45 > Left onto Halfway Creek Rd. > Left onto Guerins Bridge Rd. > Right onto 17 S)

Why do we ride to Guerins Bridge Road TWICE?  Because it might be the curviest road around and a heck of a lot of fun to ride!

We’ve also taken a ride to Edisto with some great friends and stopped for soft serve ice cream at McConkey’s Jungle Shack.

Edisto, SC (Photo by Yve Assad)

"The Gang" at McConkey's, Edisto, SC (Photo by Yve Assad)

Another day trip was the ride down to Hunting Island outside of Beaufort, SC.  We had a blast!  I recommend you take a bathing suit and take a swim.  We did.  There’s even changing rooms outside.  The walk to the top of the lighthouse was worth it.  And the push-pops they sell in the little store reminded me of summers as a child and ice cream trucks.

Hunting Island, SC

Hunting Island Lighthouse










The farthest we’ve gone so far this summer is Virginia. Patrick’s 20th high school reunion and a couple of photography jobs gave us the perfect excuse to jump on the motorcycles and ride north!  It was a long, hot ride, but well worth it.  We had a blast visiting old friends, we did a couple of portrait sessions and we made a video.  We had just gotten our GOPRO video camera before we left so we played with it a bit while we were there.  Below is a fun video we made of our water adventures while we were there.  It’s filled with summer fun: water skiing, climbing trees, ropes swings.  Enjoy it!

One thing I am constantly reminded of when we ride is the difference between traveling in a car and riding on a motorcycle.  When you travel in your car, the trip is about the destination.  When you’re on your bike, it’s all about the journey!

My Moto Lesson: Enjoy the ride!  Make your journey count.


Learning to Ride – Day 2

Ready to Rock!

Okay, so where did I leave off? The end of day one… we were exhilarated and exhausted and excited for day two.

Up and at ’em again, early in the morning. Dragging a little from the weight of being tired, but the anticipation propelled us forward. We arrived at the track and after a quick review, picked right up and continued to press forward.  We learned how to swerve to avoid accidents, ride over obstacles such as 2×4’s, and we worked on making tight u-turns (ugh!).  We had covered so much material and were feeling pretty confident.  The day was almost over!

We took a short break and then moved on to a quick review of the riding skills before we would be tested.  There was a check list of skills that each student had to demonstrate effectively before we could pass the course and qualify for our M1 license.

So we wrapped up the practice runs with a quick exercise in emergency braking. I sat and watched the students go before me and noticed a pattern.  Many of the students were being very cautious and were not even shifting out of first gear before initiating the “emergency” stop.  I thought to myself, if you are going to learn to make a quick emergency stop, you have to shift gears and be going faster like they did in the demo if you want to really get an understanding of what it’s like to brake quickly.  So I decided I was going to try to learn the lesson.

My turn came and OH, did I learn the lesson!  I quickly accelerated and shifted up into third gear.  And when I received the signal to stop, I grabbed the front brake.  Although his back was turned, as my husband heard the screeching tires and the smashing sound of metal on asphalt, he instantly knew what he would find when he turned around.


I had crashed!  I was laying on the ground with my leg caught under the bike.  They lifted the bike up and off of me.  And given the pain I was feeling in my knee and ankle, it took 2 men to carry me off the course.  With my arms slung across their shoulders I quickly asked, “Does this mean I fail?”

Yes, I failed that day.  My husband drove me to the hospital, and with me prodding him, went back later that day to another class to finish and pass his test.  But alas, I would have to wait.  I did return in January 2010 to finish the course and pass the test.  Unfortunately my knee has still not fully recovered.  I suffered an ACL tear and 3 tears in my meniscus.  I have opted not to have surgery. Yet.  But recently I have been reconsidering.

My Moto Lesson:  Don’t GRAB the front brake or you will lock up the front wheel and crash.  SQUEEZE the brake like it was an orange.

My Moto Lesson #2:  There is no room on a motorcycle for your EGO! 🙂


Learning to Ride

So let’s step back in time to the decision to learn to ride…

Like I said in my first post, I always knew I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle.  Patrick and I had talked about it off and on for a few years, but never really did anything about it.  We had an anniversary coming up and I suggested that a Learn to Ride class might be a fun way to celebrate.  I mean, going out to dinner is great and all, but we can do that any night of the week!

Day 1 - Learning to ride

So we scheduled our course for Labor day weekend 2009.  Friday night we went in for the classroom portion and passed the written test with flying colors.  Saturday morning we showed up with the required attire and, needless to say, I was both excited and more than a little bit nervous.  But our instructors eased us into it and soon enough we were riding and learning and having fun!  Well, at least some of us were.  There was a girl in our course that continually dropped the bike every time she would come to a stop.  After a while, they did pull her aside and asked her to re-schedule and return again to take day one over again. (It’s a good reminder to go at your own pace!)

Day one went off without a hitch and both Patrick and I were excited and pumped for day two.  Little did we know what day two had in store for us…

My Moto Lesson: What have you always meant to do, wanted to do?  What are you waiting for?  As my friend Ann Evanston said yesterday: “Cut the crap that’s holding you back and make something happen today!”

Learning to ride can seem a bit out of reach if you don’t know anyone who rides and you don’t have access to a bike, especially if you’ve never ridden before.  Patrick had ridden a little when he was in college and I had ridden a scooter in high school, but that didn’t really give either one of us very much confidence.  So with the gift of google, we looked into it further and found out they have classes that you can take where they even provide the bikes.  Recently I learned that there is some controversy about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, but I thought they provided a great service: I could learn the basic skills I needed to ride, gain some much needed confidence and borrow someones equipment.