I think what this blog is currently lacking is Adventure.
And maybe some Bad-Assery.
"Ohmigosh, Bustle," you say, "Please, tell us this lacking will not continue a moment longer."
I've got a huge treat for you today. In exchange for driving her son to church one day, my friend and Very Cool Reader, Jennifer is sharing her Absolutely True Adventure of Bad-Assery - Getting her Motorcycle License!
Can you believe I know this gal? She's like some Charlie's Angel in a knitted scarf!
But before Jennifer achieved this status of Chic Cool, she was...
a little irritated with the whole thing.
Gather 'round, me Gentle Readers, for this Tale of Bad-Ass Adventure!
Me? Driving a Motorcycle? Never! But, wait… by Jennifer
Darling Husband (DH) has said for years, maybe decades, how fun scooters/mopeds/etc. are. How much more vacation can you get than motoring around Key West on a moped? We have some cousins that lived nearby that had four scooters, yes four!, for their family of four and it was an entertaining after-Thanksgiving-meal activity to ride along. Again DH says “how fun are those?”
Fast forward to moving inside the loop of Houston to the Montrose neighborhood and we see them more frequently in every day life. In December of 2016, with consultation of our 12 and 10 year olds, I decided to buy Darling Husband his own scooter. (Because asking children for advice on purchasing a vehicle without my spouse’s knowledge is a good idea. But, I digress.) I am a researcher. But I also know when I have a subject matter expert, use them. So, one call to Cousin Jim, and I knew what scooter to buy and where to buy it.
I drove up to the Honda scooter dealer and selected the color of Honda PCX for him. I was asked if I wanted to test drive it. Um, no! Do you KNOW how bad of a driver I am? I then used a card DH only reviews purchases on once per month, paused a second and asked if I could return it if he did not like it, and the answer was “No!” but I still proceeded. Scooter was delivered to the house on DH’s birthday and the kids and I fashioned a bow to it and placed it in the garage for him to discover when he got home from work.
It was the BEST surprise I have ever given and he was delighted. He has had it 2.5 years now with over 1000 miles on it. He doesn’t use it daily but probably at least 3x/week and it is truly a place he feels happy and free on. We knew when we purchased it that because the engine was over 50cc *technically*, per the state of Texas, he is supposed to have a motorcycle designation on his license. He finally decided it was time to take the course and get the motorcycle license. I thought “well, I should learn too since I technically own this vehicle!” and joined him.
Cue a 40 degree and rainy day in January when we arrived at Awesome Cycles. Thankfully, the first portion of the class was learning the rules and taking the written test, which we both got 100% on! So, I go into the driving portion pretty pumped up and confident. Until I actually got ON the motorcycles they provide for you. You see, they give you motorcycles to learn on, not scooters. Because, it’s a motorcycle class. But hey, I got this!! I can’t feel my fingers or toes, but I can do this!
But, I couldn’t. Motorcycle #1 (yes, there’s a list of bikes…just wait) was a little too big for me and I dropped it on my shin in the early exercises of walking it around on the parking lot while straddling it. Nothing advanced, mind you. I will not cry, I will not cry! But dang, that hurt. And made some glorious bruises. Our lovely instructor asked if I would like a different bike because it was having some “issues" after I dropped it.
On to Motorcycle #2. This one is more my size but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to shift. I know it has something to do with my left toe but it WAS NOT WORKING. I am only sightly (completely) traumatized from learning to drive a standard truck at the age of 14 in the country, yes over 30 years ago and getting stuck on the railroad tracks, but there is something about shifting and I that just do not mix. I was beyond frustrated. DH was so encouraging and so good at riding the motorcycle which exasperated me more.
Finally, the ever patient, Andy, our instructor gets very terse with me and says “Do you just want to do this on a scooter?!?” Um, YES! I have a scooter at home, that’s all I need to know how to ride. I storm off, DH thinks I am quitting, and then Vehicle #3 comes out, the cutest tiniest pink Vespa. We bust out laughing as the instructor hands it off to me. Finally, I thought I found what I was meant to drive! Until I broke that one…or it ran out of gas. That one was not my fault.
Vehicle #4 comes out, a big red scooter, much more similar to what we have at home and finally, we were a match. DH and I both passed the test with flying colors and if we ever make it to the DMV to get our M sticker, we will be legal. I figure since our 15 year old is going there soon for his drivers permit we might as well combine that into one trip.
I learned SO much from those two days:
We are so much more aware of motorcyclists and those on scooters and give them a wide berth and a lot of grace.
I am physically stronger than I think I am.
I am mentally weaker than I want to be.
DH is truly better than me at everything he does. It’s annoying, but it’s a fact. And I love him for it!
I think we may need a little scooter for the house when we have teen drivers using my car.
I am SO glad I completed the course and continue to learn new things in my late 40s!
So, go out there, try new things, you may succeed, you may fail, but either way, you will grow.
Thank you, Cool Jennifer! I fully expect to see you toodling 'round the neighborhood on your moped, a jaunty scarf tied around your neck, blowing air kisses and cries of "Ciao!"