Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Start at the very beginning...

The best place to start is at the beginning. That's what Maria says in the Sound of Music...& that's what Vizzini told Inigo Montoya to do.

And let's be clear: I mean the Julie Andrews version. Because it's the ONLY version. I have no idea what possessed Carrie Underwood to do that.

When I turned 30, I decided to go a bit crazy & try to do 30 brand new things. The list included stuff I should've been doing already (putting away laundry after cleaning), reading books that'd been on my list for years, running a marathon (still haven't done that one)...& riding a motorcyle. I signed up for my Harely Davidson-branded Riders Edge course, bought all the gear, & even a motorcycle of my very own:

2009...& quite a few extra pounds. Not motorcycle; straight up fat.
And the truth of the matter is...I hated it. I hated having to get suited up every single time I wanted to go somewhere. I hated every single garment of clothing because I'm not into leather. Or tassles. Or roses dripping blood. And as it turns out, hot pink motorcyle gear is actually tough to find. Girly-Girl wasn't being sold at the time. I was entirely out of my element. I couldn't wear the "biker bimbo" look, all leathered out, & feel comfortable walking around. I felt like a complete moronidiotbimbo every time I put the gear on. But I couldn't ride unprotected, either. When I finally bought chaps (only because I was FREEZING on a horrible group ride), it could be counted as a miracle.

And that's just the gear.

The actual riding itself was a whole different animal. It's not that I didn't like doing it... but I don't think I understood the learning curve. My husband, a moto-noob at the same time, took to it instantly. I couldn't keep up with him. Literally. He spent as much time as he could riding, but I couldn't; I even bought luggage so I could change into business attire at work to get riding time in...but I just didn't take to it. I always felt it was more hassle, as a lady, than it was really worth. And because he took to it so naturally, I thought there was something about me that didn't make for a good motorcyclist...just because I didn't get it straightaway.

And then, 4 months later, we moved to Italy...where the U.S./Italian agreement for the military allows for THREE registered vehicles. So we had to decide: which 3 vehicles would be registered? I opted immediately for both cars & his motorcycle....because if I wasn't cool with riding in Louisiana, I knew I'd never be okay in Italy. And if I'm being honest, it was the perfect excuse to stop doing something I didn't like doing to begin with.

There I was...in Italy for 4 years, my little 883 rotting in the garage. And so, I sold it just before we moved back to the States. Because if I'd known better...or shopped at a better dealership (more on that later), I'd have never had that bike. It was always the wrong one for me. I hated the stupid choke on it, the balance made me feel like I was always going to fall over, I couldn't reach the highway pegs, & the mid-controls felt unnatural. Even if I never rode again, I knew selling the bike was my best option; I was never going to ride it again regardless!

Fast forward to December 2013. Randomly decided to check out our local Harley Davidson dealership. And of course, found the perfect "grown up" motorcycle for my husband. Too good a price on a Road King to walk away from, so we bought it. But what to do with his 2007 HD Sportster Roadster? Instead of trading it in, we kept it...for me. I surprised myself by suiting up in all my old gear, which is now about 3 sizes too big for me, & taking off. Sure, my turns are crap, but I got around our little subdivision without dropping or stalling the bike...which is a vast improvement over 4 years ago when I started.

So here I am...retaking the Motorcycle Safety Course for a refresher & trying this out all over again. I'm still a moto-noob. I'm still not sure if I'm going to stick with it. But at least I understand the learning curve better...& I'm going to take my sweet ass time getting to my comfy zone...with the goal of actually enjoying the experience instead of freaking out about stalling or dropping the bike.

And here's the aforementioned hand-me-down, in case you're interested.

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