For those of you not immediately in my sphere of daily contact, I thought I’d update you on my latest obsession: I’m currently studying for the temporary permit test for a motorcycle endorsement. A friend of mine and her husband (R and J from my recent skiing adventures) and I are signed up for Ohio’s motorcycle safety course on June 18, 20, and 21st, at the end of which, if we “successfully graduate” from the course, we get our permanent motorcycle endorsement. I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle–despite vigorous safety warnings from friends and family–and I’ve finally found the right person(s) to motivate me into action. I’ve talked about learning for years. Now with the safety course, I’ll at least get to find out whether or not I would even enjoy riding a motorcycle.
Now, please, I don’t need a hundred people posting to tell me how dangerous motorcycles are. Look, I ride a bicycle on the roads. If you don’t think that’s a dangerous activity–especially in Northeast Ohio with its barrage of angry drivers–then you are sadly mistaken. I’ve known of people getting hit and dying on bicycles and it’s not as rare as you might think. I take the risk when riding my bike on the street and I do it willingly because I love the sport. If I worried about the myriad of ways I could die each day, I’d never leave the house. I don’t let my fears stop me from doing the things I want to do. Life is too short for regret.
I think I have the kind of safety awareness to be a good motorcyclist. My years of riding a bicycle on the street have taught me that drivers don’t see you, so I’m particularly cognizant of cars about to turn into my path. I’m always prepared to stop suddenly or take evasive action as the situation arises. I know how to scan the road for potholes and obstructions because I have to avoid these on a bicycle. I think a motorcycle is going to feel beefy compared to my light-weight and thin-wheeled bicycle. I’m guessing I will feel comfortable on the motorcycle. But I don’t know yet.
I’m actually excited about fulfilling yet another thing on my unofficial list of things I’ve wanted to do before I die. I’ve been slowly checking things off this list my whole life, really, and it’s taken my adulthood to reach these dreams. So please, no nay-saying comments. In each of the activities I do, you could name people who have died doing them (skiing, bicycling) so I don’t need further proclamations of doom. I have noticed that mentioning motorcycles around people produces immediate reactions of either positive or negative with no middle ground. It’s almost as if I took out a cigarette in front of a new group of people or told everyone I’d taken to jumping out of airplanes for a living (I have, in fact, jumped out of airplanes before). Yet my bicycling is seen as healthy, when in all reality I’m at a similar risk (though at lower speeds) riding on the road.
Anyway, this is a bonding activity for me and my dad. He’s always wanted to get back on a motorcycle. He had one in his younger years, I think before I was born. However, when I was much younger, he would borrow a friend’s motorcycle and I’d ride on the back with him. So I guess it’s his fault I have the lust to ride in my blood. He also used to let me take sips of his beer when I was a kid and look where that’s got me. Dad and I bond over beer, motorcycles, and hiking mountains in Colorado. What a cool father-daughter relationship!
And, no, a motorcycle will not replace my cycling. I still like to work hard to get to a destination–endurance sports are in my blood. I’ll just use the motorcycle to get to places I’d normally go by car in the summer. Just think about how much I’m helping save the environment with the high mileage you can get out of a motorcycle! I’m an environmentalist now!