Over a week ago I mentioned that I am a big, fat, squawky-type chicken when it comes to quads and three-wheeled ATV’s. Then I said I was going to take a motorcycle course. Makes total sense, right?! Obviously I survived the class, since you’re reading this. I’m here to tell you that everyone else around me survived too. Thank goodness. However, I was really worried about Moses. Truth be told, I still am. But not from me running him over on accident.
The first day (night, actually) of our course, we had to do a classroom type setting. We all were supposed to come prepared by having read our handbook and answered the questions in the back. I was the first person there (insert Mister rolling is eyes and saying, “of course”). A woman in her 60’s showed up shortly thereafter and sat by me. A few other people trickled in, all in their 50’s and 60’s, and then Moses (not his real name) showed up. I kid you not. This guy, with his wispy white hair, translucent skin showing off his spiderweb of blue veins came shuffling, SHUFFLING, into class. Wearing shorts and long tube socks. FOR REALS, people! And, class went from there…
The lady next to me proudly proclaimed to any and all who would hear her that she “just bought a Can Am!!!” Then she would lean over and whisper to me, “I’m TERRIFIED of taking this class tomorrow!” Repeatedly. RE-PEAT-ED-LY. Then there was the woman all decked out in her Harley-Davidson gear (remember…CLASSROOM night) whose husband came strutting in with all his HD gear on as well and asked if he could “sit-in” on the class to get a “refresher”. Seriously?! Yo, buttface, I just paid $250 smackaroonies for this class that you seriously want to sit-in on?! The instructor said it was fine, particularly since he didn’t have a choice since the dude quickly followed his request with, “most instructors wouldn’t be okay with this, like they’ve got some issue with other people listening in on it or something.” Yeah, he was THAT kind of dude. Ugh.
Since everyone had supposedly done their homework, instructor-man said our four hour class should only be two and half hours. Tops. But, he underestimated Moses and the HD chick and their ability to actually follow instructions. And hear (Moses). And pay attention. Three and a half hours (and 50 “I’m terrified’s” from Can Am lady) later, I was headed home, anxious to get to the actual motorcycle riding the next morning. I was also anxious about Moses. Most concerning to me was the fact that Moses should not be driving, much less motorcycling, on our public roads.
Morning came, and all but one of the students made it to class on time. Moses was late. I was full of nervousness. We were told to pick a bike, and get on. I wondered if Moses had slept in. Then, I wondered if he had died in his sleep overnight. Then, I felt like a schmuck for thinking such a thought. Then I wondered if he had family living with him and, if not, how long it would be before someone found the body. That made me sad (it happens around here in this retirement community, you know), and a bit perturbed at my morbid thoughts. During this time the instructor was telling us that he had coned off two of the three entrances to the parking area we were using and should anyone attempt to come in that way he would “give them hell”. Right after he said that, we noticed Moses was pulling up to the parking lot and aiming to turn in to one of the two coned-off driveways. Those big neon pylons ain’t got nothin’ on Moses. But, Moses must have realized at the last minute that he probably didn’t really want to enter that way, so he went to the third driveway. Also, I was very relieved to know he woke up that morning.
So, there we were, 6 students on our bikes waiting for Moses to get on his so we could start class. And, we waited…and waited. And Moses shuffled himself on over, helmet in one hand, gloves in the other. He got to his bike, bent his head down, took a breath, braced his hands against the motorcycle seat, and shakily put a leg over. Did you read that? SHAKILY PUT A LEG OVER. I had the thought that I was probably going to crash during class, and I knew it was NOT going to be my fault. Moses slowly put his helmet on, then his gloves, and then we were ready. I totally expected Moses to be THAT student. You know, the problem student. The one who can’t get their crap together and everyone has to wait for them. So you can imagine my surprise when it turned out to be ME. For the first 20 minutes of class at least.
Let me first just say that I was the one really terrified of class. Not Can Am lady, I think she was just pretending to get attention for her Can Am. I was straddling my bike, and the motor was purring (well, in a choppy idle anyway), and I felt like a HAWT MOMMA… Just until it was time to let out the clutch and duck walk it across the parking lot. Seriously, NO ONE looks ‘hawt’ duck-walking a bike. But, I was about to get my hawt back on as soon as he said we could lift up our feet and ride it back. Except that my feet would NOT lift up. My brain said, “lift” and my legs said, “oh HELL no!” For some reason, I was in the midst of an outright limb rebellion. I thought I was going to fall over, and I REFUSED to be the student in class who dropped their bike. Not me. No way. So, I duck-walked-attempted-to-ride-wobbled-duck-walked. A LOT. In fact, the whole class had to continue to go back and forth across the parking lot while I tried to figure it out.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. But, I am not a quitter. I asked myself why on earth was I even doing this. Then, the instructor-man’s wife (who also is an instructor) came over to help. She was my motorcycle angel. She told me I could DO this. Then she told me my ass seemed to have a mind of its own. Yeah. Seriously, she said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but your problem is that when you start to lift your legs up your ass starts wiggling all over the place.” I had NO idea what that meant, how that was happening, or what I was doing to make that happen. I just stared at her for a second and said, “Well, it’s big, so it takes time for it to stop jiggling and settle down, you know??” Except that she didn’t know, she couldn’t possibly know, because she was this pretty petite blonde thing. But, she did appreciate my smart-assery about the whole subject. After holding up the whole class for about 20 minutes doing an exercise they all got down within 2 minutes, I finally got my feet up and made it 20 feet across the parking lot. Yay me! Then the instructor said it was time to move on to the next exercise… Going around the parking lot.
I did fairly well after that. I stopped being “THAT” student. Thank the Good Lord above. Because that was awful. I managed to do a figure 8 inside a box that was probably about 15′ wide by 30′ long. I only stalled about 6 times the whole class, and every time it was in front of the instructor. Of course. I didn’t drop the bike, but I did take off straight for the instructor several times. He really only had to jump out of the way twice (oopsies). By the way, if you ever take a course and the instructor points in a direction he wants you to go… look in that direction, not at him. Because if you look at him, you’ll head straight for him. Every. single. time. Also, you’ll look like an ass.
In case you were wondering about Moses, he only fell asleep on his bike (while we were stopped and listening to the instructor) once. He did have to go get a chair to sit in, in between course set-up changes, because he was too weak to stand. He couldn’t turn his head very well (which makes turning on a bike down right difficult), and he could barely hear the instructions given. Or see the instructor’s hand signals, apparently. But, he passed, even though he had to duck walk some of it himself. And that, right there, should scare the living daylights out of anyone motoring around Havasu.
After passing the class, I felt like a HAWT MOMMA again (albeit with a big ass… thanks for that, instructor-lady). I came home and Mister got the Honda Magna out and we took it back down to the now-emptied parking lot where I had just learned to ride. I was ready. I was excited! I got on the bike and realized it was MUCH bigger. A lot heavier. It dawned on me that I had only just been qualified enough to ride a little 20HP Suzuki 250 around this parking lot, and now I was on a 78HP Honda 750. And, I became terrified all over again. I duck walked it. A LOT. I finally got the courage to put my feet up, and did ok (apparently the Magna is big enough to handle my fat ass). I went around in a circle once. One thing I did a couple times during class was to forget that the right handle is not just a handle… it’s the throttle too. We didn’t have to use hardly any throttle at all during class. Lots of clutch work, idling, and maybe second gear. So, let me tell you that when you’re on a much bigger bike, and happen to be nervously turning in a circle, it is NOT ok to forget that your right hand is on the throttle… and then accidentally goose it. I almost shat my pants. I shit you not.
I was pretty much done on the Magna after that. Mister took me out to another area the next day to practice some more. I did, but I am still extremely nervous on the Magna. We all got sick with the flu after that, so I didn’t get to practice anymore on it. Mister could see that I was visibly stressed by trying to ride the bike, but I was giving it my best. I don’t want to be so scared that I won’t even get on the bike, and I was starting to head down that path. The Mister, as he does in all things, observed all of this and made a plan. That man bought me another bike.
SERIOUSLY!! He just bought me a bike today! He knew I was comfortable on the little Suzuki 250, so he went on Craigs list looking for that or a Honda Rebel 250 for me. He came up to me at 11:30 this morning and said, “Missy, I’m leaving for a couple-three hours”. Since Mister and I are basically never apart, I just looked at him and said, “Wha….??? Gone? For THREE HOURS?? Where are you going?” He told me he couldn’t tell me, and he took off. Except he was gone for FOUR hours. And he brought me back the prettiest little Rebel in the whole wide world. She’s an ’87, a rebuilt engine, aftermarket pipes, chrome engine guard (and highway pegs), sissy bar, and the seats look fantastic!! The gears are smooth, the brakes are great, and I can RIDE it! And I did too. I hopped on that baby and ran down to the cul-de-sac and came back with a big grin on my face. By the way, her name is Ruby. Rebel Ruby.
Seriously, Mister rocks my world. I told him thank you about a billion times tonight. When he said, “Why?!” after the billionth time, I told him it was because he didn’t need to do this at all. That I could have learned on the Magna. It would have been the hard way, I would just have taken a longer amount of time to get my confidence up; but that him getting the Rebel made it easier for me. His reply? “Honey, my job in life is to make your life easier.” I. Love. This. Man.
Well, that’s the whole motorcycle story “enchilada” (as Mister just said). He thought I was going to just write a post about the Rebel, but I’m far too wordy for that. Context is important. People (me), need the background story. Plus, I was dying to tell you all about Moses (NO pun intended there. Seriously). If you made it this far in the post, I’m impressed. And, I’ll leave you with wishes for safe riding. If you’re not a rider, watch out for them, ok?