So I decided to ride to work today for the first time (Beaconsfield to Docklands up the Monash). I should have realised when my alarm failed to go off at 5.55am that it was setting the tone for the day, but I really wanted to do it, so I got ready and off I went. Stalled it getting out of the garage… great. Turn the first corner out of our street and a yapper off its leash runs out at me. Fantastic. Things were not boding well! But I was determined. It felt ace to be on the bike, albeit it a little nerve-wracking being my first commute. It was a nice day, crisp morning, not windy. Awesome. People on the freeway were generally pretty good. Had the obligatory idiot tailgater (WKS-133 silver Falcon wagon I’m looking in your direction), but mostly drivers gave me some space which was nice. Someone rode up alongside me at one stage just after Heatherton Road on a white sportsbike (didn’t see what it was exactly.. looked kinda Firebladish and very nice!) and gave me a nod and looked at the bike for a while, then got in front and looked back at the bike. This was a bit unsettling – I wasn’t sure if he was looking at me because I was doing something stupid or something was hanging off my bike or whether he’d not seen a Gladius before and was doing the whole “wtf is that thing!?”. Anyhoo, got into the city by about 7.30am. Traffic wasn’t the usual Monash carpark, but was still slow in parts. I didn’t feel confident enough to split, so when the traffic did stop, I just stayed in my lane. I get 100metres from the office, left hand turn on the corner of Batmans Hill Drive and Docklands Highway into the little service lane thingy (McCrae street). I get the green, no pedestrians coming so I start to make my turn, then I catch a cyclist out the corner of my eye coming at speed from the left. I stop and he rides across in front of me. I start to go again, the bike stalls, lurches forward a bit and I dunno what happened – I think I had the front wheel turned in too far / not enough juice / combination of both. Bike started to tip and I couldn’t hold it. It was all over in a second. So technically I dropped it, but it was more that Edna “had a little lie down” and I stepped off her. It annoys me that I’m not quite sure how I managed to do it. I’ve been going over it in my mind and I can’t figure out exactly what I did. Ironically the cyclist that I stopped for came over and helped me pick it up. Damage was limited to a teensy scuff on the end of my clutch lever and the hero blob looking stick thing under the left peg snapped off. Peg was still intact. Gear lever was bent slightly. The left hand mirror was a bit loose, so I tightened it back up (I want to replace the mirrors anyway). Annoyed at myself for doing something stupid, I went around the block and came back and made the turn again, with no problems this time. I did note that exactly where I turned there was one of those big square old shiny metal plates covering the road and the road dropped away slightly to either side of it. Was that a contributing factor? I dunno. I just put it down to me being crap! So I found a good parking spot near work, surveyed the lack of damage (god bless naked bikes) and breathed a sigh of relief. Rang husband and told him what had happened. Am I ok? Yes. Bike ok? Yes. Helmet? Fine. I start walking towards my office talking on the phone, walking up the stairs beside where I’d parked Edna carrying my backpack, helmet with gloves inside in my right hand and holding the phone in my left. Halfway up the stairs I managed to step on a strap from the bag, which yoinked my arm back and my helmet out of my hand and my helmet bounced down a few stairs before I could grab it. Iridium visor scratched to hell, dints and scratchs over the helmet. *le sigh* I trudged up to my office, really annoyed at myself by this stage. Luckily I only had a couple of meetings today - I wasn't feeling altogether chirpy. The home trip was relatively event-free. The Monash was more like a car park I remembered and I was nearly asphyxiated in the tunnel. I forgot how hot it gets when you're stationary on a bike on a hot day in peak hour traffic. The constant stop/start on the Monash outbound was freaking annoying and I don't think I'll be commuting again any time soon. On the way home through Berwick I saw a bike approaching in my mirror. I moved across in case he wanted to stop next to me. He did, we gave each other the nod and then he flipped his visor and we commented on the heat (he looked as hot as I felt!). Lights changed and he was on his way (he was game to split, I wasn't). I made it home in one piece, but in need of a shower and a huge drink of water. Things I learned from today: 1. Riding into the city from the south east as the sun is rising = hard to see traffic in your mirrors without being blinded by the sun (even with an iridium visor). 2. Holding my head against the wind for 50km at 100km/hr on a nekkid bike makes my neck sore after a while. 3. My seat is quite comfy (helped by the ample padding that my sizeable arse provides). 4. Don’t try and carry helmet and backpack and talk on phone while traversing stairs. 5. Riding in peak hour traffic in the heat SUCKS. 6. My Falco Zoon boots completely rock my socks. I wore them all day at work and they were so incredibly comfy. 7. Dropping your bike sucks. 8. Dropping your helmet after you've just dropped your bike... sucks doubly.