I suited up nervously and went outside to pull the cover off my Suzuki, marveling at my decision which had brought me to this point. It was too exciting and I had to take a deep breath before I rolled it down the driveway. I inserted the key into the ignition and it began with a rumble that flooded my ears and heart with joy. (Does that sound corny? Yes, but no other way to describe it.)
I had asked my husband to follow me in his truck around the neighbourhood that day in case I had any trouble. The bike weighs 450 pounds and I wasn't sure if I could pick it up by myself.
Started out by doing a very wide u-turn on our cul-de-sac at the end of the street, and then stopped to do a right turn out to the neighbourhood. Well...let me just say that within 30 seconds, the first thought in my head was "I feel just like I did on my Kawasaki when I was 18".
So the afternoon went by with me figuring out how the controls work and getting used to the feel of the bike.
It was interesting learning to stop the bike and sliding forward each time. I had to figure out how to turn off the turn signals without hitting the horn button and without taking my eyes off the road. I had to watch for running, barking dogs. I had to figure out how to stop slowly in gravel so as not to fish-tail too much with my non-knobby tires (hiking boots to the rescue that time).
At one point during the trip, I had stopped at a stop sign and looked over to see three young guys working on a shiny black Harley. Dressed in the standard black tank shirts and muscles bristling, they all stopped working to stand up and see what kind of bike was rumbling at the intersection. I nodded to them and received one back and proceeded on my way. Went by them a few more times, eliciting a stop work action each time.
By the end of the afternoon, I was tired and satisfied that I had done enough learning for the day. My hands were sore...but I had had a great time and knew I was not going to give this up any time soon.
My husband pulled up behind me in the driveway, got out and closed the door. He walked over to me and I said, "Well, did I look like I knew what I was doing?" He looked at the Suzuki and said "Yeah, you looked like you were having fun...maybe I should try that."
He had not ridden since he was a teen either. He had bought a trail bike with a buddy back in the day and rode a bit without telling his parents. When he told them that he wanted to ride on the street, they had forbidden it and there was no more discussion about it.
So along comes me to shake up his life and his parents' views on a few things in the ensuing years, and here we are that day - standing in our own driveway with me having my inaugural ride under my belt, and him with that look on his face as he stares at the bike.
I cannot even begin to describe the look on his face the day I came home and told him I had bought a motorcycle. I had asked him that day if he was interested in taking the safety course with me and buying a bike and doing something completely different with our lives. That day, he had decided no, he could not for various reasons.
So I went ahead anyway with my own plans to ride as I could not wait any longer. I was not getting any younger and the kids could look after themselves, and my job was causing me way more stress than a person should have to put up with. If I didn't do this for myself...well, I think you have all hit a wall in your own life in this regard...
Needless to say, within a month of my inaugural ride on my Suzuki, my husband had taken the motorcycle safety course too. He told me that he had been scraping his pegs on the fancy little tight "S" curve and had no problem with the u-turn - I called him a show-off! And just before he was to do his road test on the course, a 16 year old had flipped her bike up in the air and landed on her head. The ambulance was called and she spent the night at the hospital, but we heard later that the next day she was in buying a new helmet. They work! It shook him up a little, but he passed his test with a little more reserve as to what he was getting into.
The day after his course was finished, he came home from work, and told me that he had bought a motorcycle and you should have seen the look on my face! Within two weeks of that purchase, I saw where my son had picked up his natural riding ability and I knew it wasn't from me. He bought a Kawasaki 250 Ninja.
Yep, my husband is totally hooked and addicted and can ride circles around me - which really only took a few weeks. He rides it to work, rides it to buy me flowers and rides it to buy things at the store. Our daughter has noticed a distinct lightening of mood since her dad got himself this machine.
His work friends - who ride also - keep asking him "When are you going to get yourself a real bike?" He's thinking of getting a bigger one but is having way too much fun on this more maneuverable size. The right deal will come along when it's meant to.
So, that is my tale of the beginnings.
Heading out to this today, the forecast is for more snow tomorrow and it's -11 C (12 F).
There is a car under there - really!
Have a great day!