Finally rode the SV650! My friend took me to a recreation facility with a number of connected parking lots and helped me practice taking off, riding carefully, and stopping. I actually got into third gear!
I know that sounds pitiful, but I’m such a newbie, and so afraid of messing up; more afraid to mess up the bike than to bruise my shins.
He rode my bike to the parking lot and back home, and I followed in the Jeep. When we got back to the apartment, he said “Put on your helmet. You should get on the road while you’re still feeling confident.”
So I bundled up, threw my shaking leg over the bike, and we rode. I know now that I was wobbly and slow, but I was so thrilled to be on a public street. We road part way down a nearby country road, and then turned off into a little neighborhood and stopped on the side of the road.
“You need to look in your mirrors; you had a string of antsy SUVs up your ass. They expect motorcycles to be fast, not to poke along. Try to pick up the pace.”
Shoot. I thought I was sailing through the countryside. Guess it was the wind whistling in my ears, or the turbulence kicked up by my trembling. But we noodled around the backroads, and made it back home. It felt like such a milestone.