Born To Ride, Part One

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I’ve always had this fascination with motorcycles.

I’m not sure where it came from, or what started it. I do know, however, that my father owned a motorcycle, and yes, he even crashed on his motorcycle. I was very young, and as a result, I have no real recollection of this. In any event, I have always been drawn to the power and allure of this two-wheeled mode of transportation.

Fast-forward to about six months ago. James and I began our life together and quickly began riding together on his Triumph Daytona 675. But, before we began riding, James took me to a local motorcycle shop and outfitted me head to toe in the best quality moto gear. He was insistent that I was not to be on the bike without being properly outfitted. With that complete, we began to enjoy countless Sundays riding through the hills of Marin and southern Sonoma County.

Bliss. The feel of the open road has been described countless times before, but I simply cannot resist the opportunity to step outside of a car and onto a motorcycle. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m sharing something with the man I love. Maybe it’s the sound of the wind as it whips past my helmet, as I hold tight to James. Maybe it’s the way I lay my head down, glance sideways, and watch the world fly past as we speed through the straightaways. Maybe it’s the danger element. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things.

A few months into our rides, I began to seriously contemplate the idea of taking a motorcycle safety course of my own. I thought it might be wise for me to learn more about motorcycles as the passenger with James. Only after I thought about it a few times did I think to myself,

“Wait. I want to ride a motorcycle.”

I took my MSF course in downtown San Francisco at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club. I didn’t really become nervous about the course until I set foot inside the door. I was desperately hoping I wasn’t the only female there.

I wasn’t.

There were six of us gals of varying ages and abilities. Most of the people there had never even been ON a motorcycle, let alone ride one themselves. I felt reassured. We all sat down, introduced ourselves, and we began a bit of nervous chatter before class began. As we quieted down and class began, the enormity of what I had undertaken hit me.

Shit.

I am going to learn to ride a motorcycle.

The first night of class was strictly book work, learning about the workings of a motorcycle, the ‘anatomy’ so to speak,  shifting, turning, braking, along with defensive riding techniques, traffic laws, and other safety items. Five hours worth of motorcycle learning. I was immediately excited.

I was completing a big item off my bucket list.

I felt alive.

I felt excited.

I remember looking around the room and wondering, “Are these people as excited as me?”

We made our way through all the material, and at the end of the class, after answering 126 practice questions, we took a 50-question test. If you didn’t pass the test, you weren’t allowed to ride the following weekend on the testing range.

I scored 100%.

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3 thoughts on “Born To Ride, Part One

  1. James says:

    That’s a great indicator of how much you paid attention in class, but of course it’s the RIDING part where you need to ‘score 100%’. Don’t worry—nobody does. Those of us who have ridden for years usually strive for the mid-90th percentile because you know what? Nobody’s perfect.

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