My first car was a bicycle. So was my second, third, and so on. I only got a driver's license to drive the Bike & Build van back in 2006. As a result, I've had relatively little experience driving, and even less experience driving a manual transmission.

I got to drive Dave's 1984 Porsche 944 on the driveway for about 4 hours on our 12 hour trek from Asheville, NC to Brooklyn, NY today. It's a fun little car. Compared to things like 12 and 15 passenger vans with trailers, and U-Haul trucks, the little thing handles like a go-kart. It's quick. It would be even faster if I knew how to properly operate the manual transmission.

I drove a stick once before, when I was about 16. Charlie, my former "Big Brother" (a story for a later time) let me take out the Toyota and play with the manual transmission. I had the classic difficulty of getting the thing to start on an incline.

Driving the Porsche was classic trial by fire. I stalled out leaving the gas station, but managed to get on the highway safely. I got us into the gas station a few hours later, and stalled out 4 feet short of the pump. Hooray for me.

How is this like a bicycle? There is a good analogy here for shifting. When you change chainrings, your legs are the clutch. It's best to ease up on the power while changing rings, just for a split second, so that you don't throw your chain off the cranks. The analogy works better the more that I think about it.