Well, if I crash, I’m right next to San Joaquin Hospital! I thought. There wasn’t a relaxed bone in my body when I test-drove the metallic gold 125 Honda scooter that would become my starter bike. Wrestling with the handlebars, I managed to stay upright while taking the corner out of Fred Cummings Honda. I was riding on the sidewalk and yelled aloud, “What are you DOING? This is dangerous, girl!”
As I rounded that last corner, I caught a glimpse of my friend standing by the front door of the motorcycle shop, stretching and straining to see me. Trying the scooter had been her idea. “We ought to do something exciting. How about getting motor scooters? There are lots of back roads around here.”
The white-knuckle, E-ticket ride around the block came to a halt without mishap. Relieved and grateful that I’d kept the scooter upright, I reminded myself: put your feet down when you stop. Though I felt a bit dizzy when I lowered the kickstand and stepped off the scooter, a huge grin spread across my face. I’d made it. I was hooked.
After plunking down the cash to buy the 125 and accompanying gear, I was ready to practice the riding skills I’d need. Weekends brought frequent jaunts through the hills and winding roads of Kern County. Occasionally, I’d feel my stomach rise to my throat when it seemed that I was coming into a curve too fast. I’d let up on the throttle, lean a little, and talk myself calm. Then, feeling free, I would get back to letting the breeze blow in my face over the little Honda’s stumpy windshield.
Twenty-eight years later, I’ve owned two other scooters and two motorcycles. I’ve ridden all over the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Some of the most challenging and happiest days of my life have been spent in the wind.
~ xoA ~