Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 182 - Power Between My Legs

Ok, motorcycles are NOT like I remember them from, what... 1980-something.

Waaaaay back then, I bought a Kawasaki 125 dirt bike from a friend. I looked very similar to the bike in the picture over there --->. I thought I was the king of the motoring world.

I was stupid. I had no idea what I didn't know. No training. No one to get advice from. I didn't even need to take a test or prove I had passable riding skillz. (Back then we spelled it "skills".) And I can't believe my parents let me ride that thing.

I did have a helmet, but that's it.

Still, I rode all over the place. I had to cross 3 lanes of I-65 to get from my house to civilization, or for what passed as civilization in Lebanon, IN in 1980-something.

I'm embarrassed to say that one day my mom told me to take my brother, who was maybe 7 at the time, into town. I put him on the back of the bike. But I kept the helmet.

Again... what on earth were my parents thinking?

Anyway... Yesterday I took the new bike out for a spin.

Holy Mother of Jiminy Cricket! I twisted the throttle...easily... gently, and the thing exploded forward.

With the exception of a few roller coasters, and a couple intimate encounters, I'd never been so frightened and exhilarated at the same time.

This bike, as you might guess having compared the pictures, is approximately INFINITELY more powerful than the last motorcycle I owned.

Blipping the throttle is like whipping a thoroughbred. And closing the throttle is like standing up in the saddled and pulling the reins, with all your might.

It's as if the brilliant/wicked/sadistic Italian engineers designed the thing to accelerate madly, and stop insanely, and ignored everything in between. There is no in between.

And I love it.

Yesterday's ride was short. A few laps around the neighborhood. Ok, 2 laps. I stopped when I realized I had a death grip on the handlebars.

Today, having had a good 24 hours to let it all sink in, and some time to adjust my approach, went smoother. Plus, I knew what to expect. I tooled around the middle school parking lot. Practiced stopping and starting and turning and gear shifting and hit the horn only once by mistake.

And then, I took to actual roads.

Very lightly trafficked roads. But roads. Real roads. With lines and stop signs and everything. There were even a couple other cars on them.

I gotta say I did ok. I'm still pretty timid. But unlike that punk from 1980-something, I know my limits.

And I'm a little more comfortable with the bike. I haven't tamed the thing yet. I still think that at any moment it might buck me off and zoom off into the distance, free to go as fast as it was born to.

Hopefully, before that happens, I'll be able to give him the exercise he craves.

For now, I'd be happy if I could just remember to turn off the turn signal.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.3 miles on roads over lunch.