Greetings and thanks

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Fit4Fun
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Greetings and thanks

Post by Fit4Fun » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:46 pm

I bought my first-ever manual transmission car 10 days ago. If I had known what I was in for I might not have made the MT choice! I am a 62-yo female who had never driven a MT. I researched my car, a 2012 Honda Fit, for a year before buying it. Although most buy the automatic (of course), I saw recommended many times that to get the maximum fun and performance from the small Fit engine (1.5L, 117 HP), the MT was the way to go. So that's how I went. :P

Hoo, boy. Nothing like not being able to drive your new car! After my first disastrous attempts I was ready to either shoot myself or sell the car in disgrace at my folly, or maybe both. :lol: Then I found this forum. Not only was it enormously reassuring to read the other newbies' tales of woe, but I credit the FAQ and, especially, the advice in theholycow's sig, with saving the day.

I got the car on a Saturday (someone else drove it home for me). On Sunday night I stayed out all night til dawn practicing no-gas launches in an empty parking lot. I can scarcely describe my despair at my clumsiness and failures, which seemed endless. I also worried that I was destroying my new car.

But, by the end of the night I had gained a little confidence, though still shaky. On Monday night I again stayed out all night, practicing on the deserted streets. Having no traffic, distractions, or people around to watch was key in being able to concentrate on learning. By the end of Monday night I was becoming almost comfortable, and now I drive all over Seattle! Heavy traffic, the freeway, downtown, etc.

Which is not to say I am anywhere near accomplished. My launches are still very slow, I still make mistakes, and then there are the hills. :shock: Seattle is a very hilly city, something I somehow failed to notice before. I can do moderately steep hills, but not perfectly every time and I am still very apprehensive about them. Even little ones make me nervous, especially in traffic. So, I try to work in some additional hill practice every time I go out. And I have a lot more reading to do here on the site.

It has been a very stressful 10 days, and not altogether enjoyable. I am still mostly waiting for the fun to kick in. :lol: But my sincerest thanks to standardshift.com for showing the way.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays!
2012 Honda Fit 5MT!
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94Corolla5Speed
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by 94Corolla5Speed » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:55 pm

Welcome! Great to have another new learner, and you bought a hell of a car to learn on. Apparently the Fit is one of the best cars for manual newbies to drive. Enjoy it!

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Shadow
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Shadow » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:25 pm

Nice....62 and still willing to learn. Don't worry, the fun will start after you get more comfortable with the car.
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Fit4Fun
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Fit4Fun » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:15 pm

Haha, thanks everyone! I just returned from a practice session--merrily lurching along--and getting ready to head out for more. Each time out, I gain a little more confidence. I need all I can get, as learning control is part physical, part mental...for me, anyway. Like I need to concentrate really hard on hills, and I can't let my mind wander from every detail about what the car is doing at all times. Maybe this old dog can learn a new trick after all, but it isn't as easy as I thought!

Yes, a little fun is seeping in around the edges now and again, despite operator error. :lol: Glad to know the Fit is a good one to learn on. At first I was sure something was wrong with the car. :D Someone on fitfreak.net said it is like learning a musical instrument...takes a good while to get really skilled.

Thanks for the encouraging words and great site! I will be spending lots of time here reading.
2012 Honda Fit 5MT!
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FDSpirit
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by FDSpirit » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:38 pm

Welcome aboard! Don't be a stranger. Nice userpic btw :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
2000 Honda Civic Si- Slightly faster than your grandmomma's grocery getter......slightly.

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watkins
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by watkins » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:02 am

Welcome to our little slice of the internet!
Fit4Fun wrote:Like I need to concentrate really hard on hills, and I can't let my mind wander from every detail about what the car is doing at all times.
This is your biggest obstacle. Dont think about driving. Just drive and let it become part of your body's automatic behavior. Your body is unavoidably more in tune with the car than your mind is, after all.

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Fit4Fun
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Fit4Fun » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:01 am

Nice userpic btw
I couldn't post the whole pic due to size restrictions, but it has a caption which says "Evil Cat Laughs at Your Misery" :P ...now if it only said laughs at MY misery, LOL....

Just drive and let it become part of your body's automatic behavior
Yes this is the day I hope and pray for. :) If practice can do it for me, then I will get there eventually. And thanks for the advice.
2012 Honda Fit 5MT!
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theholycow
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by theholycow » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:54 am

Fit4Fun wrote:Yes, a little fun is seeping in around the edges now and again, despite operator error. :lol:
At first I read that as "operator terror"...that might be apt too. :lol:

So can you convince my mom to learn to drive a manual, and/or to drive something economical? :D
1980 Buick LeSabre 4.1L 5MT

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watkins wrote:Humans have rear-biased AWD. Cows have 4WD

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tankinbeans
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by tankinbeans » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:12 pm

First let me say this, and I will probably have many stabby thoughts directed at me, and please don't take offense, but, "you go girl!" :mrgreen:

Now, welcome to the forum. I found the site after many searches for a topic, that I won't bring up lest it arouse even more nerves. Everybody here is really cool, as you've probably already seen. They all seem to be willing to answer similar questions multiple times just to make sure you are happy with your decision. Ask me how I know. :o

You'll get to enjoy your little car and then you'll be putting wannabe gangstas to shame as you peel out while they struggle to get their little, 'all show, no go'mobile up to speed. Just guessing. :wink:
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InlinePaul wrote:The driving force of new fangled features to sell more cars [is to] cater to the masses' abject laziness!
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Rope-Pusher
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Rope-Pusher » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:36 pm

Have you EVER read "The Wizard of Oz"?

No, not watched the movie, read the book?

No, not the book based off the screenplay, have you ever read the original book?

If you have, then you'll remember that:

the Scarecrow wanted a Brane

the Cowardly Lion wanted Courage

the Tin Woodsman wanted a Hart

and Dorothy wanted........no, not to get back to Kansas! That was from the movie.

Dorothy wanted to be Amish!

She wanted to be able to drive a stickshift.

Who needs Kansas when you could be leaving two black streaks down the Yellow Brick Road?
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AHTOXA
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by AHTOXA » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:38 pm

Welcome! It may be tough on some days but remember that everyone goes through the same things and everyone learns just fine.

Enjoy the car. :)
'19 Toyota 4Runner TRD ORP
'12 Suzuki V-Strom 650

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Fit4Fun
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Fit4Fun » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:05 pm

Wow, these are all such great comments! Thank you each and every one...your interest and wisdom means a lot to me on my journey. I am undeniably making progress, but still not very smooth with ordinary shifting, and although I can launch from some pretty steep hills most of the time, I am still deathly afraid to try it in traffic. And the steepest hills still defeat me. So I have been haunting the night streets like a vampire, hiding from lights and observers. :P

But all in good time, from what you say. And really, without this forum, which is the only one like it I have found, I may have given up, or at least had a much more anxious time, figuring I was the only person on earth who couldn't learn to drive stick. I have found it is like you have said, with times when it seems to go smooth as silk, and others when it all goes to heck in a hurry. Still, the overall trend is improvement. Guess everyone here has read the same story countless times, but maybe my post will encourage the next newbie.

Regarding the Fit, it is an inexpensive car and the first brand new car I have ever had. I chose the Fit for many reasons, not least the overall cost of ownership. Cheap and simple has a lot going for it, even though I saved up my pennies and could have gotten a somewhat fancier car...but not a luxury car, as that doesn't really interest me. I wanted a MT because I had the idea I wanted an authentic driving experience (whatever that is, hope to find out), not a "couch on wheels". I even considered crazy things like a 370Z, but figured I wouldn't be able to really appreciate it right now (if ever), and what am I trying to prove, anyway? :lol: So it is the Fit for now, and maybe forever.

I notice members here seem to have personality-plus...I have been enjoying the uniqueness of many of your posts and photos--like in this thread, and like the little shifting ditty the Cow set to music from "Tommy"--haha!

Thanks for reading, and your invaluable help.

Here is a pic of me, the big giant phool...not only did I not test drive the Fit (or anything else) before buying, I couldn't even drive it when I got it! :lol:

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2012 Honda Fit 5MT!
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Shadow
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Shadow » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:16 pm

Fit4Fun wrote:... figuring I was the only person on earth who couldn't learn to drive stick.
I have a cousin who tried and tried and tried to learn how to drive a stick. He eventually gave up and decided to go "automatic only" from that point forward. I don't know what went wrong for him because he didn't seem to be uncoordinated or anything, but for whatever reason he just couldn't grasp driving with a clutch pedal. To this day, he's the only person I know who honestly tried and failed at driving stick.

And that brings up another question: I wonder what percentage of the driving population can actually drive a stick shift vehicle? I'm guessing it is well less than half, and maybe even as low as maybe 25% in the U.S. at least. Europe probably has a higher percentage though...
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watkins
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by watkins » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:50 pm

Many baby boomers can drive stick. Nearly all of their (surviving) parents can I would imagine. Its the post-boomer generations that are dragging the average down.

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Fit4Fun
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Re: Greetings and thanks

Post by Fit4Fun » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:03 am

Shadow wrote:I wonder what percentage of the driving population can actually drive a stick shift vehicle? I'm guessing it is well less than half, and maybe even as low as maybe 25% in the U.S. at least. Europe probably has a higher percentage though...
This may be some indication, numbers higher in Europe of course:

http://autos.aol.com/article/stick-shift-love-affair/
Now we come to the year 2010. The ability to drive a car equipped with a manual transmission is becoming a dying art. The sales numbers tell the story: In 1985, according to Ward’s Communications, 22.4% of all vehicles sold in the United States came with a manual transmission. By 2007, the number had plummeted to 7.7%.

A quick check of vehicles for sale on AOL Autos tells a similar story. Of the 4,391,747 vehicles recently listed for sale, only 241,560 -- or 5.5% -- came with a manual.
watkins wrote:Many baby boomers can drive stick. Nearly all of their (surviving) parents can I would imagine. Its the post-boomer generations that are dragging the average down.
Both my parents (Greatest Generation) and my brother (boomer like me) could and did drive MTs at various points, and both my sons currently do. When I took driver ed in high school (circa 1964), the vehicle provided to learn on was actually a stickshift, but that was so brief and long ago I retained nothing of it.
2012 Honda Fit 5MT!
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