Do motorcycles get names? I am not sure if there is a protocol with this. Some of my friends have named their bicycles. My dad named his Celica (Connie). I think if my motorcycle were to have a name it would be Sally.
The first day after my 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 was brought to my house – by my friend who knows how to ride – I got on it. I rode it past two houses on the block and back to the house. Then I struggled to park it.
Sunday, I rode my bike* to the corner and back. And, struggled to park.
Motorcycles are interesting in that they appear to be bicycles – but are not. I am still trying to train myself not to attempt to propel the bike with my body but to let the motor do the work.
The next day I rode the bike around a block of our neighborhood. It was a good ride. I felt mostly confident. In retrospect I made only one left turn. I should probably try to work more of those into my jaunts.
Tuesday, I rode around a bigger block. I had no left turns on this ride. There was, however, one notable right turn that was just shy of me becoming a passenger in someone’s car. With motorcycles, where you look is where you go. Instead of looking at the turn I was looking at cross-traffic. I corrected (after panicking as I was headed towards the other vehicle). I stalled out. I waved the traffic forward. I got my bike started up again and made it home safely. At home, I moved things around in the garage and struggledly** parked the bike in there – it looked like it might rain.
That evening I wanted to take another trip. I was building up my confidence. So I went to 24-hour fitness which is maybe a mile or so away from home. I parked with much less struggle. I grabbed my workout gear from my side bags. Then, I swaggered (yes, a real swagger, first time ever – I think I pulled it off) all the way to the changing room carrying my helmet and taking off my gloves swaggeredingly.**
After my workout – which is currently limited because I am still healing from my knee surgery and my arthritis is not yet back in remission so holding things in hand hurts – I got back on the bike to go home. I got to the exit of the parking lot and it was time to make a sharp left turn. That is when I laid-down my bike*. I was uninjured, mildly startled, and very frustrated. This bike is heavy. Even if I hadn’t just worked out there would be no way I could lift the Vulcan (yes, yes, it wasn’t logical). Luckily, I live in Vancouver, which is almost like living at a tow truck village. Within seconds, and seemingly from nowhere, a full-sized, flat-bedded, extended-cab, gun-rack on wheels pulled up right next to me. A pair of bulging biceps jumped out and suddenly my bike was upright. Leading me to believe that the bumper sticker on the truck was true and that despite my being raised Jewish, Jesus does love me.
I got back on my bike, navigated the turn and got myself home safe and sound.
The next day, Wednesday, I rode on the highway. In the rain. In the dark. A lot. It was wonderful.
Thursday I did sound at The Rumble Bee (see previous post). It was really a fun time and we raised quite a bit of money for a great cause. After the show I hopped on my bike. The theater (ComedySportz) is on Kearney between 19th and 20th. I went to 19th and then Everett (the streets run alphabetically – so that is 6 blocks). There, I made a sharp left turn….
It was a breeze! I totally killed it. I was SO stoked. I rode all the way to the next sharp left (four blocks) all smiles and giddy-like, all the way until the moment I laid-down my bike and hit the ground with my knee.
As though I was in Vancouver, out of nowhere, appeared a full-size, flat-bedded, extended-cab full of 20somethings who came over and helped me put my bike upright. I got on it to ride the rest of the way home and noticed that the clutch lever had bent to inoperable. I parked the Vulcan on the side of the road and called my knight in shining Mazda.
In the end, my knee is slightly scraped, but I am not worse for the wear. And, it was a good thing to get my bike to the shop. It needed a tune-up and some adjustments. Plus, now, I will have a new clutch lever on it. And, and, I now know what I need to work on (sharp left turns). And, and, and, apparently I have a guardian angel who follows me around in an assortment of pick-up trucks. And, and, and, and, it gave me something to blog about!
All in all, laying my bike down is not SUCH a bad thing.