Motorcycle diaries – Part III


The desire to experience a big taste of freedom and a small dose of rebellion made me eager to get out of the classroom and onto a Kawasaki Eliminator, which was provided as part of our course fee. It’s a good thing that I’m not superstitious or else the model name would have really freaked me out. Instead, I said a quick prayer for wisdom and safety. Then I gripped the right brake and hopped into the saddle.

“Power walking” took on new meaning that morning as the instructors had us get acquainted with our bikes and learn to balance by straddling our bikes and literally pushing them from one side of the range to the other. It was a great way to work out one’s thighs. Yes, I used muscles that I didn’t even know I had! To top it off, there were gale-force winds that day so we had to push even harder.

I was especially glad to have a full-face helmet keeping the wind out of my ears, plus the head covering helped me stay warmer all over. (It was 38 degree Fahrenheit at 8 a.m. that morning.) I was dressed in layers including a long-sleeve thermal shirt, a fleece and my ski jacket. If only I would have thought to put on long johns to keep my legs warm! Leather gloves helped protect my hands from the chill and protected my skin in the one instance that I forgot to leave both feet on the ground. Leather boots protected my ankles and gave me traction while straddling my bike and later peddling my feet as I gained balance.

While we began by taking “baby steps,” it wasn’t long before we started our engines and learned to put up our feet.