If you asked anyone I know to describe me, none of their adjectives would be "daring" or "adventurous" or even "spontaneous". In general I'm none of these things; it's okay, I'm fine with that. I've never thought, "If only I were brave enough to hurl myself from a plane and let a large piece of fabric keep me from having my internal organs spread across several acres."
So when Steve got his motorcycle back in January and I decided I wanted to learn to properly ride it, people were surprised. And when I posted the image below to Facebook during our basic rider course, friends commented "Cool!" and "Badass!" And if you've ever taken a 3-day motorcycle training course having only spent maybe a quarter mile on a motorcycle (and almost running yourself down in the process) you'd know that more appropriate statements might be, "Grueling!" or "Exhausting!"
The class made me realize how long it's been since I've had to absorb any amount of new skills and information. Those brain cells I used a little bit in college started to come out of their midlife hibernation so that by the fifth drill when we had to not only remember the million steps to make a bike stop and go safely (there were 5 steps just to start up my wee training bike) but pay attention to curves, other students, traffic patterns and the instructors' hand signals, all I wanted was A/C, a nap and a beer in whatever order I could get them. My brain and body were spent.
I woke up the night before our second riding day dreading getting back on the little Suzuki. I was tired of the unrelenting heat and sun out on the tarmac where our range was set up. I was tired of clumsily shifting gears and accidentally riding outside the lines, I was anxious about the licensing assessment and my clutch muscles were killing me. But at 7:45 a.m. we arrived back at the airfield and by 8:00 I was taking curves at a breakneck 12 miles per hour. People, it was fun as hell.
Steve and I both passed the course; he got 100 on his written test to my 98 (NERD ALERT), we tied on the riding assessment. I still don't feel tough or badass or especially confident. I have a lot of practice ahead of me that I'm looking forward to starting on. But I'm proud of myself for stepping way out of my comfort zone and for doing pretty well, for going back even though I really thought I'd had enough of drills and videos and sunburn, for taking a risk and following through.
Ironically, the most dangerous part of the 3 days happened on the asphalt before class had even started, when Steve made me laugh so hard I choked on a piece of my Egg McMuffin. Sure, I almost asphyxiated, but I did not dump my bike. True story.