So, I've been lurking, and very occasionally posting, on here for about 6 months, and I finally picked up my first bike, an '07 GS500 (from a1 motorcycles in Brighton, thumbs up) late on Friday last week. On Saturday, I went out to the industrial estates off Chifley Drive in Preston (Melb) and rode around on the empty roads practicing emergency stops, low speed u-turns, smooth gear changes, hill starts and generally getting comfortable on the bike. It'd been about 3 months since I'd done my L's course, and I wanted to get rid of the "oh shit oh shit oh shit, the road is RIGHT. THERE!" factor before I tackled traffic or going over 60kph. Even though I've been riding my pushie on the road in traffic for over 10 years, with 5 year of cross country MTB racing before that, getting used to the tarmac going past that quickly took a minor amount of getting used to. Anyway, that all went well, and after about 3 hours, I felt good with the basics, and I felt I'd earnt a beer, so home to Fairfield I toddled, where I found http://www.motowhere.com/. I spent a few hours checking out routes around Melbourne, even though I've lived here for years on and off, it was great to fidn a resource that was motorbike specific, well worth a look. On Sunday, I re-read the following threads: https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=111791 and https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=128510 Which should be mandatory reading, with an exam, for every learner rider, end of story. My course was great for low speed stuff, but what Rob has laid down there takes it to the next level. I'd decided to head north, towards Yarra Glen, as this was an area I was a bit familiar with. I left early, as I wanted to have the roads to myself, which I did, apart from the other riders, and very few cars which was sweet. First I headed back up to the industrial estates from Saturday, and spend 20 minutes going over the basic road craft again, until I felt as comfortable on the machine as I had when heading home the day before. I had a great ride out, being surprised at A: how good I felt having had the little warm up earlier, and B: how low stress it was more or less having the road to myself. I highly recommend this for new riders, even if you're not a morning person,get up stupid early on a Sunday (like, 6am, on the road by 7am), if you've been stressing a bit about riding in traffic, just get on the road and let the traffic build up around you bit by bit. I rode out through throught Eltham along Lower Heidleberg Rd, which is 60 or 70km most of the way, well sign posted towards Yarra Glen and nice wide roads, no tram tracks, with enough easy bends to get used to moving the machine around on the road. I was surprised at how COLD I got with the windchill, particulary around my feet and neck. Hadn't read much about that, maybe it's just me, I have spent the last few years living in the tropics, maybe I need just a bit of concrete in the coffee to harden the **** up, or just a scarf and some proper moto boots. Anyway, had a pretty nice ride out to Wattle Glen, had an ice coffee at the general store then hopped on the bike and headed home, feeling like I'd made a start on a good thing. I've still got a week off before I start back at work, so today, (Monday) I took things a bit further, and made a point of getting all the way out to Kinglake. I often drive trucks as part of my job (basically, a Roadie, but we like to call it "Audio Technician" because we're fancy) and my Bro, who is a real truck driver, said to head out there, because he took a 55 ton semi trailer up there once, and that road is "twisty as f**k and you'll love it". Today I think got up to 30 odd degrees, so instead of being cold, I was more worried about overheating. I bought an awesome Dririder all-weather jacket a few weeks ago, and whilst it kept me nice and warm on Sunday morning, I was VERY glad to be able to unzip the inner layers, as when I got to Yarra Glen for lunch, I was dripping sweat all over. I stowed the inner layers in my camelback and had a great sandwich and an acceptable coffee from the girls at the bakery there, exchanged pleasantries with the fella with the brand spanking new Triumph parked next to me, and feeling like I'd been riding for years (well, hours...) headed on up to Kinglake. This is where I'm so happy for threads like the cornering 101 linked above. I found that what I'd THOUGHT was good cornering on the way out, on the nice lazy curves, was no where near good enough. My whole goal of this mission was to start getting comfortable with leaning the bike over, and the Kinglake road was good because I HAD. NO. CHOICE. I found that if I got even slightly distracted, or stiffened up at all, I would run wide, or screw up an entry or an exit. If I just kept the mantra of LOOK, MAINTAIN THROTTLE & RELAX, the bike would, like some kind of magic, go exactly where I wanted it to, like it's supposed to! Knowing that if there was a car in the opposite lane on left handers, winding on more throttle would turn the bike harder and I would move away from the other vehicle, was a counter-intuitive life saver more than once. Now mind you I was never going more that 60kph on the twisties, so it's not like I'm aiming for some kind of moto-gp like skills here, just looking to create the kind of habits that become second nature, getting those skills to go from conscious thoughts to muscle-memory reflexes so I can just concentrate on the joy of riding. I got to Kinglake no worries, felt pretty chuffed with myself, so I had another coffee and a sandwich (gotta love country bakeries!) and headed back down the hill without too much delay, wanted to keep the pressure on a bit, keep working on the leaning over thing. When I got back to the traffic from Eltham towards Fairfield, I felt 200% better than before, knowing that I'd pushed my skills just a little bit further. Riding in traffic was so much easier, as now the bike was less something I was hanging onto, and more an extension of my body. I could concentrate on the cars much better because I wasn't wondering what gear I was in or how fast I was going, I was just riding. I want to get out and ride for at least 2 hours every day this week, as I know I won't get that much constant riding time for a while once I got back to work. I'm so glad to have had everyone on this forum to get me excited for this, I've been wanting to get a bike for years, but there's always been work or travel to get in the way. I don't know how active I'll be, I prefer to lurk and learn, but I wanted to share my experience of the last couple of days, and say thanks for everything so far, I hope I see you out there!