This is my second entry. The first one was 17 months ago, which means I've been riding about a year and a half.
I've learnt a lot in that time and continue to learn.
My "biker brain" as @raven put it (thanks to John for his mentoring), has gone from nil to something approaching second nature. I'm predominantly a commuter type rider, with my bike being my primary means to transport to/from work, and now that I've moved, I clock 500km a week. The odometer ticked over 20,000km not so long ago.
The Monash is my main road. I know where the bumps are, I know where the snarls generally occur, and I am grateful that I'm on my bike most days, as my commute would take far more time and would be mindlessly boring. There's nothing quite like using the 'bike lane' to get you focussed and make the daily grind that much more interesting.
I've also been appreciative of the number of cars, and especially trucks that make space for me, especially when there's someone else who appears to be trying to impede forward progress. The good far outnumber the bad. Then there are the ones that seem to think that they need to put half the car off the road when you're already 3/4 of the way past them. I appreciate the thought, if it is somewhat overbaked.
I've been slack on the training side of things. I try and get out on the twisties every other weekend to continue developing the skills that would otherwise atrophy by only commuting. I love this time on the bike. Sometimes I go along with a small group of people I know, but otherwise avoid large group rides. I'm planning on attending some intermediate training before the end of the year to build my cornering and braking skills. Something that doesn't require leathers, as I've only got kevlar jeans and textile gear, and getting leathers made up hasn't made it past the financial planner just yet.
I've pondered the idea of replacing my bike with something a little more powerful and a little more comfortable. This also means heavier and more expensive and given most of my riding is commuting, I'm not sure it's mandatory. I think if I get to the point of being able to outride my bike, then I'll consider something else. For now, my CB500F will do me. It doesn't feel as fast as it first did, but I think that's more a product of me getting used to riding and the acceleration rather than the bike being any slower.
There's still a lot I need to work on with my riding. I'm still crap at downshifts. I can't quite seem to get the timing right with the rev blip and downshift and tend to feather the clutch out, no doubt leading to excessive wear. My slow riding is ok, and I feel my cornering improving all the time. The big 'aha' moment being the point where I started looking *much* further ahead. I still need to work on it, and it's far from perfect.
However, it's all part of what makes riding enjoyable. I love the smells of spring, the feeling of warmth and cold, the ability to move through traffic easily, that parking is no longer a hassle and that sense that you are in more control of your destiny.
I fully subscribe to the quote (whoever said it)
"Four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul"