Friday, December 13, 2013

Biker Babe.... more realistically just Bike Rider

My father has been a major influence on me throughout my life. I have always for some reason connected with him more than my mother and my brother. We have for the most part, shared similar interests. Minus him wanting me to be involved in some form of a sport that would involve sweating, which has always been against my policy. Some of my first memories involve covering my ears on the back steps as he roared up the driveway to show off another motorcycle that had somehow managed to make its way into his collection. I had taken my stab at riding smaller dirt bikes as a child around the abandoned lot behind a Commerce Bank in South Jersey, but the speed and vulnerability scared me at the time.

("Blazing some new trails" on a Honda Trail 90)

This past summer I decided to finally put on my big girl pants… jeans, boots, and a jacket in ninety-degree weather… and get my motorcycle license. I took a class that consisted of three days of "training" and on the third day was given a certificate that said I am legally responsible to operate a motorcycle in New Jersey. Of course I decided to take the class on the hottest days of July and basically had heat-stroke riding around black tarmac at some community college. The "students" were the strangest bunch of people I had ever seen together in one classroom. The age ranged from me, being the youngest, to probably late forties. Unfortunately, a lot of the people in attendance had already pledged their midlife-crisis-love to Harley Davison and were clad in the most ridiculous outfits. The company had not spared on advertising their logos all over their salad bowl helmets, orange and black jackets complete with fringe and eagles, and some sort of boot variety. I am here to admit I loathe anyone/everyone who rides a Harley. There is just no reason for your motorcycle to alert everyone, including the near-deaf, of your presence on the road. You look, and thanks to their excruciatingly-load exhaust pipes, sound like a tool. Anyway, in case you were wondering how the class went, fine, for the most part, except, the fact that I am one of the clumsiest people I have met to date. I am also almost legally classified as a midget and weigh about 100lbs. Basically the perfect mixture to have a couple hundred pound motorcycle to fall on you in front of everyone in said motorcycle class. Oh and of course the only one to have that happen to over the course of three days. Thankfully, on the third day, I left, a little bruised and sore, with a license in my hand and ready to ride.

(Bikes all lined-up in class)

My dad and I had perused our favorite source of used goods, Craiglist, and met a guy in some lot in Philadelphia to buy my bike. I had caught the bug of vintage bikes from my dad apparently because the fussy kickstart and rusty gas tank had me swooning.  Soon we were loading my 1973 Honda CB-350 into the truck. Unfortunately, because of my height impairments the bike is a little too tall for me to stand flat-footed at a complete stop so the seat has to be adjusted. Now that it is December I'll have to wait for warmer weather to get back on a bike to ride. I can't wait until I get more comfortable on the bike itself and start getting lost on some back roads this year. If you have never been on a motorcycle, on a not crowded backroad as the sun is setting and finally shifting into the bike's sweet spot, you haven't felt the rush and yet complete serenity all at once of this phenomena. I suggest trying it at least once in your life - it's magic.

(1973 Honda CB 350)

(Me looking like a toddler next to my bike)

(Honda CB125)

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