Motorcycle Diary

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I never learned how to ride a motorcyle, not officially anyway. In 1984 I got my driver's license renewed, and maybe because I was wearing a leather jacket or something, they added a motorcyle certification to it. That was fine by me. I had driven some smaller motorcycles (bigger than dirt bikes, you know) and I had ridden on lots of motocycles - it didn't look that hard. Balance like you do on a bicycle, twist the throttle, squeeze the handbrake. Nothing too it.

I remember the first time and only time that I rode a large road bike. My brother had a one - I think it was a Honda or Kawasaki of some sort. We were moving to the LA area. I didn't want to. Everything and everyone that I knew was up in the Bay Area. Up there I had managed, over the last couple of years to become, well, popular. For the first time in my life I had girlfriends. Yes, PLURAL girlfriends. It was an enormous shift from the guy who got caught in Driver's Ed class reading his copy of the AD&D Monster Manual behind his text book a few years earlier.

Anyway, Tony's bike was being rolled out of the moving truck, and he was pushing it into the garage.

"Can I take it out?", I asked

"You don't know how to ride a motorcycle", he replied.

Pulling out my (mistaken) Driver's license I showed it to him. "Yes I do, see?".

Relectantly, he said "Okay, but be careful".

I still remember rolling it down the driveway. It was heavier than I thought it would be - much heavier than I was. When I got it onto the street I started it up. All of the sudden I began to realize that I had the equivalent of a Volkswagon Bug between my legs, and nothing protecting me. This was back in the eighties; no helmet; I am pretty sure I didn't even have the leather jacket with me.

But I couldn't back down now. I started the engine and took off. Turning the corner out of the cul de sac I hit the gas and went up onto one wheel for a moment.

At that point I knew I was probably going to die. Still, I decided that I at least needed to go around the block in order to feel like I had really succeeded at this.

I almost made it.

On the way back to the house I turned a corner on a section of road that was lightly covered with gravel, and lost control of the bike. It went over and I didn't know how to get out of it's way. I lost a couple of inches of skin on my right leg, and gained an enormous amount of respect for, and a healthy fear of motorcycles that stays with me today. The damage to the bike was minor - scratches and a bent kickstand. I guess I broke it's fall.

I'm pretty sure I paid him back for the repairs, but I probably should have given him two or three thousand dollars on top of that for the life lesson.

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3 Comments

Heheheh I think you are more of an un-Easy Rider...

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I had to let that one spam comment get through the filtering process because, well, it's actually really, really on topic and that makes me laugh.

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This page contains a single entry by edgore published on June 28, 2006 10:42 PM.

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