I've been out of the bike scene for many years and have finally reached the point in life where I'm empty nesting with no wifey to try and manipulate me.. happy times indeed. The last bike went when I was told in all seriousness by the pregnant wifey that I had responsibilities now, etc. And soon after I was pensioned off due to old injuries from my maniac riding days of last century.. so no bike, no bike magazines, etc, as other things had $$ priority once the wifey left me with the girly and took everything else. So this post is about my re-learning phase to safely get out in the wind again. After six months of seeing what you could buy for your money these days I settled on an older (2001) Vstar 1100 classic.. piccies of which I have posted up already in other threads. This fit my small budget of $6,500 and was advertised privately for that amount with no RWC or Rego. So I rang the owner and we gently haggled it down to $5,500 cash since he needed some urgently for his bank account... and I had to sort RWC, Rego and Transfer fees with what I had left after purchase. Next day I left the car in the shed and bussed it up to Gympie to test the bike. I found the owner to be a genuinely nice guy, pretty honest, and desperate for dollars in the bank to keep paying his new HD off with. On my test ride I met an older Viet Nam Veterans MC rider who told me the bike was well loved by the owner so I had better take care of it, etc. That was the confirmation I needed after finding it rode well, didn't seem to have any issues and needed nothing more than a headlight bulb for RWC. I spent some time over coffee looking through the service booklet to see it was all in order and made a mental note of the new tyres and always garaged condition, etc. And I was impressed with the low 52,200 km on the clock in those 11 years of it's life. I became the new owner of a Cruiser that day, after 18 years with no bike. And I was excited, thrilled to bits to have the chance to enjoy riding out again. To be honest I struggled a bit with some elation making it harder to focus clearly... some called it the start of a honeymoon phase. Day one I had about 400 or so k's to get her home after paying for the insurance and paperwork to ride it. The first thing I noticed was how content I was to sit around 80 to 90km/h on the country roads, but also found 100km/h on the highway was a bit uncomfortable due to not having the same neck or upper body strength as I had in my youth... something I can remedy though. The second thing was my tailbone started to get a bit sore after an hour, so I changed my plans and had a few stops at friends and family to let me walk it out a bit before continuing... and suck down a ciggie or two with coffee. Ahh addictions! The last stint was at night.. an open face lid and lots of bugs, dark sunnies didn't really help matters at all and going up the Range made me remember about the cold air going through the wrong sort of clothing. Next morning I dropped the new baby into the local bike mechanics for a service and RWC while I started looking around for jacket, gloves, night riding glasses, etc. All of those came from Ebay at bloody good prices. Now I had the bike, the gear, and was ready to ride. But I knew I had to get my bike-legs back before tackling anything long distance/interstate. So I began taking regular small rides, under 200km, and a lot of around town stuff to get a feel for being in traffic again. I made sure I did a couple of test stops so I knew how the bike would react to emergency braking, I made sure to get some wet weather riding in so I could feel how the tyres worked in various conditions, and did some dirt roads while I was at it since they were the things I hated most on a road bike. Something I noted was that with more time in the saddle I could ride further before needing to walk out the sore tailbone. A little handlebar adjustment and some leg stretching to the end of the running boards made a difference. In the month that's passed since I bought the girl home, I've had two instances where car drivers forced me to take evasive action, both times I kept her upright and stayed calm. Not like when I was in my youth at all. With 2,200 k's under the belt now I am very aware that my survival depends completely on my approach to riding. And I am a little surprised with being able to see car drivers 'radiate' their intentions with small clues like head positioning, small steering wheels direction changes.. all the things I didn't really notice in my younger man days. Which is probably why I had a few prangs in those days. I was very happy to find I hadn't turned into a sunshine rider in my older age, so rain still doesn't bother me. But, the cold does now.. maybe that's just a sign of age. I'm looking forward to what the next couple of years brings as I have plans for a 10 day jaunt through NSW later this year to see old friends and see what has changed since my young days of interstate rides, and later I want to see Darwin, the one place I have never been in Oz yet. My daughter asked me if I will come back home after Darwin. I thought about how silly it would be just to turn around and ride home when the road west continues and will eventually bring me home again anyway.. 3, 6, or 12 months later. But, one day at a time.. which is how I have to take life anyway. Thanks for the chance to share my old-newby experiences here.