Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lesson Learned

So Dan has mentioned his Harley several times. Back in the "old" days when the kids were much younger and I was somewhat skinny and much younger, we owned a Harley. In fact, we have owned two. One for die hard fans and one for grannys. I preferred the granny one. (I'll have Dan explain and get the bike pics for you.)As Dan explained, we used to love to go riding. He drove and I rode and it was a lot of fun.

We also had a couple that we hung out with in San Diego and they went riding with us. Now the wife of this couple did not exactly wallow in common sense. As a matter of fact she often did not seem to have any at all. For instance, she bought a new car one year and her husband told her that everytime she went to the gas station she should check her oil. She thought that meant add oil so everytime she went to the station she just had the attendant add a quart of oil. Well about 4 weeks later her car started running really poorly. It actually sounded like it was drowning... so she asked her husband to check the car and see what was wrong with it. The car had an extra 8 quarts of oil in it and SURPRISE!! it was drowning! Anyway, we decided to go for a ride one day out towards the desert and they decided to ride with us. Well we got to this beautiful scenic lookout spot and Dan's bike decided to break down so we pulled over and Dan and the other hubby decided to try and fix Dan's bike. While they did that the wife decided she was going to learn to ride a motorcycle! So she got on her hubby's Harley, started it up and I'll be darned if she didn't start going down the road. Hubby did tell her where the brakes were and the clutch and how to operate them but she just went... and came back and for about 30 minutes or so she rode the bike up and down the road and the around the pullout and well... I was really impressed. I was so impressed that I decided that if she could do it then .. WELL so could I!! but not on Dan's Harley.. God no! He'd kill me for sure if I ruined his Harley.

We had a very small Kawasaki (Note from Dan: It was a Yamaha -- see picture above, but mine was blue) at home that Dan had used for a short time as a commuter bike to the hospital and I waited till we were home and it was quiet one day and I decided it was time for me to learn to ride a bike! So I told Dan who thought this was a great idea. He told me to come outside and get on the bike and he would give me my first lesson. When I asked about the keys he told me "you wont need those for at least two days yet!" I was a little confused.. How was I supposed to learn to ride the bike without keys but he informed me I would be learning the same way he did or not at all. I said OK and we went out and I got on the bike. Dan told me where the brakes were and the clutch and then he told me he wanted me to sit on the bike for an hour and squeeze the handlebars for the brake and clutch and recite the corresponding name for the handlebar while I did it. It sounded something like this.. brake brake, clutch clutch, brake, brake, clutch, clutch. I started to do this while he went into the garage to work on the Harley. (I swear that thing was in constant need of repairs..) Well I sat there reciting the mantra of "brake,brake,clutch,clutch" for about 5 minutes and decided I had it down and it was time to get the keys. So I went into the house grabbed the keys and brought them out to the bike. I was jazzed..totally ready...brake, brake, clutch, clutch yeah got it. So I turned the bike on and headed it down our driveway. Now our drive way was fairly long by San Diego standards. It actually was maybe 100 feet long to 150 feet. But the last 15to20 feet of the driveway was a pretty precipitous hill and It was where we parked our Ford Bronco. My thought was that I would go really slow, go around the Bronco, coast down the hill and stop then pull onto the road go around the block (slowly!!) and pull back into the driveway and park the bike back where it started. I then had visions of Dan congratulating me and us going merrily out to buy a new Harley for me and we would both ride off on our Harleys into the sunset... But enough of that...

I kinda forgot that when you started up the motorcycle if you dropped the clutch or let it up to sudden then the motorcycle would have a tendency to kind of leap forward. Of course your hands are on the handlebar where the gas is located and well the leap causes a natural reaction for you to lean back thus pulling the gas throttle back and giving the motorcycle more gas which causes it to pick up steam which causes you to continue to give it yet more gas because you haven't quite got your equilibrium, which only makes you close up that 70 feet or so distance between you and your Ford Bronco.. Well, at some point while I was rapidly zooming toward my Bronco.. I remembered where the brakes were and I promptly planted them! The bike (which wasn't actually going that fast unless you were on it's back at the time) promptly stopped ran headfirst into the side of the house and fell over with me on it. I turned the bike off, got off it, picked it up and rolled it back to where it was parked before starting it and limped into the house.

Dan? Well my husband has the same response that his father does to a lot of things and this was one of them. He looked up at me while I wheeled the bike back to its parking space, and then quietly got back to working on his Harley and shaking his head. Enough said! I could not walk well for a few days and then I decided I just maybe was a little to old to be trying things like that any more. The visions of driving my own motorcycle have gone and well to tell you the truth I am not real sure WHAT I was thinking because motorcycles tend to scare me a little. As a matter of fact I spent a lot of time on the back of the Harley praying to God "Oh lord, I don't know why I am on this thing but if you will get me home safe I promise I wont do this again... He got me home and a week later I was back on the bike. I guess he knew the prayer was not in earnest but I often wonder "what if I used all my bargaining chips and the next time I got on the back of a Harley he said "Yeah I heard that before!"? I'm to old to fall off a motorcycle now and to tell you the truth.. I like my air conditioning, and my soft cushioned seats, and I like being able to walk when I get out of my ride now! It's time for a BOAT!

Never rode a Harley on Whidbey Island.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Hey Rene!
My first experience on a motorcycle was much the same, only I was on my brother's Kawasaki dirt racing bike, and promptly drove it through the wall of the garage! Fortunately, no serious damage to either me or the bike, the garage, on the other hand, did need some repairs...

Mary

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