Thursday, August 9, 2007

And so the ride begins!

It looked like a scene from a melodrama: a man rides up on a shiny new red motorcycle that is obviously too small for him, parks, and gets off of the bike. His wife throws a leg over the bike and sits astride it with a grin seemingly larger than her face.

The bike is in neutral and the husband starts it up. With exaggerated movements, he shows his wife the controls. He keeps a hold of the handlebars and revs the bike a time or two. Nodding their heads the man and woman come to some sort of agreement, and the man lets go of the forward controls. His wife shifts the bike into first gear and several things happen simultaneously: the woman lets go of the clutch too quickly and as she is thrown back, she inadvertently revs the bike’s throttle. Her head swings back and she looks at her husband with that same look of panic the damsel in distress who is roped to railroad tracks had in an old silent movie.

The husband starts jumping up and down yelling, “Hit the brakes! Hit the brakes!” The wife is headed right for the garage wall of the house two doors down. A car is parked in its drive just a few feet away.

The neighbor girl, who hears the commotion outside of her home, throws open an upstairs window and looks down upon the scene beneath her. Realizing the woman on the red motorcycle is headed straight for her house she turns and vanishes from the window shouting the news about the run-away motorcycle to her mom.

Meanwhile, the woman on the motorcycle somehow manages to steer the bike between the garage and the car parked in the driveway. She runs right through the entry garden of her neighbor’s house. The planter she takes out on her unplanned route through the prim foliage helps slow the bike, it loses impetus, and the woman drops it on the lawn. Her husband catches up to her in time to pick the motorcycle up and turn to face his angry neighbor who is yelling at him and demanding to know who destroyed her garden.

Yep, that was my first ride. It took me some time to overcome the fear from the near miss I had with the brick wall, but I kept at it and eventually passed the second Motorcycle Safety Course I took. That was five and a half years ago. I’ve ridden between forty and fifty thousand miles in that time and hope to ride many more.

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