Friday, March 6, 2009

Rockmoto Blog #3 - The Old Motorscooter

January 15, 2009

When I used to make resolutions, by the end of January, half had already fallen by the wayside. But when someone else (like a new girlfriend) gives you a new years resolution it's a completely different scenario. So I’m doing this. Learning to ride. I hope I don’t sound reluctant. I have nothing against motorcycles, I’ve just never once even thought of making it a part of my life. And unlike driving a car, it seems riding really is a lifestyle. Something I know nothing about.

It’s not that I’ve never been on a bike. We had a Honda when I was a kid. A Honda motor scooter, that is. It had two wheels and an engine, but that was about the only manner in which it resembled a motorcycle. My dad had it from when he was a teenager. It was a 1950s gun-metal blue clunker. Must have weighed 300lbs. And it was always a special treat to take it out. When I was little I’d sit behind my dad and hold on for dear life even though the top speed was about 30mph - downhill. It never occurred to me I ought to be wearing a helmet. Didn’t occur to my dad either. Maybe it was because the thing barely had enough power to make it up the littlest hill. Or maybe we were just less fearful of severe head trauma in those days. I don’t think I ever had a child seat in the car - much to the chagrin of my mother whose only means to restrain my brother and me were prophetic threats “If you don’t stop doing that I’m going to pull over right now!”

When I was a teen, I even took out the Honda a few times on my own and at least that experience means I have the basics of balancing, gripping a hand throttle and pumping a 2-wheeler around the curvy Connecticut back roads I grew up on.

But then there’s my woman’s Suzuki GSX-R 750 (See. I’ve even learned the letters in her bike’s name!) You have to lean forward on the fuel tank like you’re an anime character about to fly off into space and battle robot monsters. The speedometer is electronic – as if it can go as fast as three digits will allow. One assumes a mere dial would shatter if you kept it analog. And the tachometer doesn’t hit the Red ‘til 15,000 RPM. For someone who’s gotten used to driving cars and keeping it under 5K, that number is perfectly terrifying – especially as the motor would be pumping away right between my legs. I’m rather particular about what I come in contact with down there.

But I’ll try not to think about that for now.

I think it’ll be cool to learn how to ride. I’m not sure if I’m gonna buy a bike and head to Sturges yet, but you never know.

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