It was a year ago today that I bought my first motorcycle. A nice new blue Kawasaki KLE 500, the last KLE to be released (for the time being). I still remember the day I got it, I couldnâ€™t get home fast enough to give it a go. Mind you, a go was twice around the block at night time. I must of clocked at least 12km in the first week. It took me another week to try the bike above 60km/h and that was a short stretch of road behind my suburb, but I had reached 80k and managed to lock up the rear due to compression. Aaah, the early days. Iâ€™m sure some of you might remember my post about my first ride to work, probably as long as this post I was totally unprepared for the fog and the visor freezing up on my helmet, as I didnâ€™t properly install the antifog pinlock. Thankfully, I felt at ease in the traffic flow and was given space by the other drivers. So many stalls and at the time, so many close calls. I say at the time, when I look back, the stress and thrill of riding may have distorted my perceptions. It wasnâ€™t too long before commuting to work became the norm. Up until that time, I didnâ€™t really comprehend all that was mentioned at the Stay Upright course. I was feeling confident in my situational awareness, but riding has really sharpened it to a fine edge. I was and still am amazed at how many road users are oblivious to what is happening around them. It took me four weeks before I dropped my bike. It was a cold wet day and I had just got to the place where I usually park and had to do a u-turn to get to a free space. Iâ€™d been practicing U-turns and the KLE could u-turn fairly tightly. I took it wide and slow, but didnâ€™t see the rainbow coloured puddle until my front wheel hit it. The bike went down and left me standing over my bike with a â€œWTFâ€ look on my face. A helpful passer-by helped me pick the bike up and it was panic stations. No front brakes and brake fluid pissing out. I had knocked the banjo bolt of the reservoir. Scratching to the faring, front wheel guard, hand guards and mirror, but no bent levers. Got up to work and called the bike shop, who offered to pick it up for a fee. Called my brother, who had access to a trailer and took it into the shop. $50 and itâ€™s all fixed. Phew. I was hooked and loving it, even on the day when I wrote the poor little KLE off Iâ€™m still amazed that I managed to stay on the bike all the way down the deep ditch. Bugger all injuries, gear did itâ€™s job. Nine months and Iâ€™d managed to break my pride and joy. It was around this time, where my brother had bought another new bike, as he didnâ€™t like the GS500F, it didnâ€™t really tick the boxes for him. He bought a very nice GSX650F, only recently released as a LAMS bike. Oh my, it had pick up coming from the KLE. Needless to say, I bought my own outright a week after my off and consequently, two days after my birthday. Gee I buy myself some great presents Six days after that, my first service was due. 1000k in a week, the salesman looked at me and I laughed. I was also responsible for bringing up the 1000k service on my brothers bike, as he didnâ€™t and still does not have the time to ride it. What a learning experience so far. Iâ€™ve ridden in all sorts of weather and conditions, racked up 22000k of riding, seen parts of the ACT and NSW which Iâ€™ve never been and had lots of laughs with other riders. Iâ€™ve met lots of new people and continue to do so. As my first foray onto the roads, I still donâ€™t know how to drive a car and Iâ€™m not really fussed if I ever do, the freedom is amazing. My new found independence has found itâ€™s way into everyday life, even my martial arts teacher comments on my new found urgency and pro activeness. The whole feeling among the riding community is inspiring and positive and that shows on the forums too. Thanks to everyone who has read or listened, offered criticismor a smart comment, I intend to â€œpay it forwardâ€ to other new riders.