I have the best of both worlds: most weekends I’m out in the dirt, learning enduro at MotocrossPark Kilyos. And now that I have a street bike, when I’m not playing in the dirt, I’m motoring around town.
I’m quite comfortable on a dirt bike, but riding in traffic is new.
It was supposed to be an intimidating experience for me, so inundated was I with warnings from just about everyone. It DID make the first week nerve wracking, expecting the worst at every turn, totally tense with trepidation.
But I couldn’t let it continue like that. THAT’s not what I signed up for. And it doesn’t suit my personality.
Solution? Bite the bullet.
Worried about traffic? Then I would put myself in every kind of traffic. Practice is the only way to improve. Learn your bike. Learn traffic patterns. Bonding day with my new baby was all day, 200km, on every kind of road. Whatever I had to do that day, I was going by bike, starting with that day’s predawn training: rowing on the Halic with Vedat and his crew.
That day included numerous “first time” experiences. Like the hospital allowing me (asking me to) park my bike on the pavement just outside the sliding glass entry doors to the hospital. VIP Parking, I guess.
Other experiences that day weren’t as amusing.
Unable to find a parking space in the designated motorcycle parking on any of the levels of the Bosphorus Four Seasons Hotel parking garage (and attendant not allowing me to park in a (non-auto) roped-off section, I parked –properly– in a car parking space, only to return an hour later to find someone had PICKED UP AND MOVED my bike to the space between cars and behind a cement column, blocking me in.
Five minutes later I was out of the garage and on my way (with a free drinks offer from the hotel for my next visit).
Sunny day. Seaside road. All is good. Until…
STOPPED BY POLICE
Pulling into Bebek I was waved aside by six motorcycle cops on the side of the road. Laughing to myself, I wondered if I was guilty of dressing too much like a motorcycle cop, what with my black and florescent yellow kit. I looked like a highlighter marker, just like them. But my smirk turned to panic momentarily while unsuccessfully rooting through my bag for my registration. Fumbling through my spare clothes from morning training, my bra popping out of my bag… finally found it, by which time the police were already flagging over a wispy Vespa-riding girl. They must have had a specific tip off about a suspicious biker girl threat. They let me go.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
After all my meetings were finished, I let her lead me where she wanted to go. No surprise– we headed to the enduro track! She got to meet the gang there, while I let loose in the dirt on my other girl, the Sherco.
I made significant headway in road riding that day, but it will still take more time and mastery before it can compare to the dirt.