Did I wait for the tip over bars? Did I wait for my MSF training? Nooooo. I couldn't sit at my computer and just talk about motorcycling one more day. I hopped on, weaved (badly) to the end of my driveway, and took off--well, after stalling it out a couple times. First gear is a little more difficult to get into than in my car. I spent a month of studying the whole "counter-steering" thing on the internet, and still didn't totally understand it--two minutes on the bike and I got it. I decided to take a ride just down the road and turn around--you know, just to try it out. 1.5 hours and 50 miles later I was pulling back in my driveway, my wife sitting on the steps with her cell phone and home phone in hand. It...was...AWESOME.
I drove on windy back roads, I drove through a town, I even went on the highway. I cranked the throttle and got it up to 85 before getting nervous and backing off. I pulled up next to a few semis to get a feel for the blowing around. I tried some heavy braking on the back roads. I waved to the motorcyclists I came across.
I saw another Connie (the pet name for the my bike, the Concours) too but was behind them so I don't think they (2-up) saw me. A Harley guy at a gas station I stopped at (for a drink, the fuel gauge barely moved) said "nice bike"--and I think he really meant it.
I had a few problems with oversteering and understeering, nothing that can't be fixed with practice. The biggest issue I had was in the traffic circle by my house. I went around it at about 20, and had a momentary lapse as I was trying to figure out whether to counter-steer or steer. I was able to hold it up, but I must have looked like an idiot with my legs splayed out and the bike jerkin' around. The circle was more of a square for me today
. Low speeds will take some getting used to. I didn't know when to put my feet down or pick them up. The new boots I got today helped a lot--before I was just touching on either side, now with the 1/2" or so of extra rubber my feet are solidly on the ground.
It really helped that I drive a stickshift car, it eliminated a lot of thought process that would be distracting.