Back on May 22nd, I threw out a challenge to a few of my blogging buddies to write or photograph or wax poetic, during the month of June, over two-wheeled transportation: Bicycles and Motorcycles.
If you’ve not been to Mary J Melange prior to today, I must tell you that I have a love of both. While the 15 years of motorcycling are but a memory in photos and brain matter and the weight of a leather jacket, the past three years have been awash with bicycle trails, new bike gear and many miles of pedaling under the sun. My intention is to write about both in the coming weeks, with this post as the official opener.
In 1994, the now former husband bought a black Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider. The then wife dumped the Harley on a roadway behind the nearby mall, after which she signed up for motorcycle driving lessons at the technical college. One night a week, for four or five weeks, a few biker people and I studied the laws, learned biker etiquette and watched video of motorcycle safety. The first time on the 200cc Honda at the tech college, the instructor wouldn’t let us put the motorcycle into second gear. We had to leave it in first. Students paired up and pushed each other around on the motorcycle to get a feel for balance. Eventually, we were able to shift gears and almost stop on a dime, as well as weave through orange cones and avoid the instructors in the parking lot. On the last day of instruction, I passed the written test with one wrong answer and performed perfectly for the road test.
Which meant that I was bitten and smitten. I wanted my own motorcycle.
The former husband didn’t argue and we agreed that my first motorcycle would not be a Harley.
Enter a Suzuki Intruder 800. Big enough for me to keep up with a Harley, but not too big that a newbie Biker Chick can’t handle. It served a good purpose while I overcame white-knuckled, hand-tingling nervousness on the first ride and learned to maneuver through construction and the curves of a road on many rides thereafter. I found that the Intruder handled well, but did not provide a good ride for a passenger. Suzuki also decided it would be a great idea to place the battery in such a position that it would take two people and a few swear words to remove. I kept company with my first motorcycle for five years, until the arrival of a Harley Dyna Convertible in 2000.
I absolutely, positively loved the red and black Dyna Convertible. It was my baby. It took me out to the Dakotas and on several rides within the state. The only mistake I made, that I still regret, was letting the former husband talk me into trading in both of our bikes for a trike. Yeah, a trike sounds cool and they look cool, but they don’t handle the same. One “steers” a trike through the corners, the thrill of “leaning” into a curve no longer an option. I found leaning into a curve part of the motorcycle therapy. I missed it when it was gone and never got it back as a divorce eventually took away the trike as well.
“You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!” ~Dan Aykroyd~
The end of the practicing Biker Chick era came in the fall of 2009. The start of the practicing Bicycle Chick era began a few years later when a brother’s orange mountain bike was shipped to her from Virginia. At first, I only rode short distances, around the neighborhood, because I had to find my bike legs and was unaware of the many bike trails in the area. From the start, I was not a fan of riding on a busy street, so I stuck to side streets and sidewalks. At some point, I began putting the bike in the back of my SUV and driving it over to Natasha’s place. From there, we would make our way to the technical college, where I had learned to drive a motorcycle and where there was a walk/bike path surrounded by fields of milkweed and native flowers.
When I moved two years ago, I found the neighbor across the hall was also a Bicycle Chick. She, Natasha, and I started to go on jaunts together, which turned into even longer jaunts. Natasha and I also searched out state and local bike trails, ripe with adventure. One of my favorite bike rides was on the Sparta-Elroy and Omaha trails in September, 2014. You can read about it HERE.
When Natasha wasn’t able to go for a ride, the neighbor took her place. Last summer, the neighbor and I biked whenever possible, while Natasha nursed a sore knee. This summer, the CB and Friendship trails will allow me to bike to work. If it stops raining. It’s been a rainy month so far.
Meanwhile, Kona has been living a lonely existence in the garage. It’s dark in there, a place not worthy of this beautiful piece of orange and black art. As I’m typing these words, the neighbor and I were contemplating a Sunday ride during a small window of sunshine. However a headache, brisk winds and threat of a late afternoon hail storm put an end to those plans. I suppose I can bake a spaghetti squash and prepare a yummy tomato sauce for supper instead. And finish this post. Maybe go to yoga later.
I feel bad for Kona.
Anyhow, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have the opportunity to ride the orange and black Picasso one or two days this week and continue that habit through the summer. Two different sources are predicting a dry and hot summer, so the rain must end soon. Right?
Stay tuned for a few additional posts this month in the veins of bicycles and motorcycles. I have plans. And also keep your eyes (or taters) peeled for reblogs and Tweets as I expect fabulous two-wheeled posts from a few blogging friends (you know who you are) that will be more than share-friendly. Join in the fun, if you are motivated, by leaving a link to your bicycle or motorcycle post in the comments below. I’d love to hear your experiences on two wheels.