Springtime. And almost every year about this time, as the temps get back to the 60’s and 70’s, I think how cool it would be to get a bike. Not a bicycle, as regular readers might presume, but a badass motorized one. Commonly referred to here in the States as a motorcycle. I sure you Canadians and Brits have your own wacky term for them. Many times when meeting people in social situations, as much as I try to avoid that type of thing, they will, in an attempt to feign interest, ask what I like to do. When I tell them I like to ride my bike, the men quiver and the women swoon, picturing me on my steel and chrome steed with 1200 cc’s between my legs. I correct them by explaining I meant I like to put on lycra clothing and ride my bicycle. Then the men back away slowly and the women steal my lunch money. But I digress.
I think the first time I decided to buy a bike was when I was 27, so you can’t blame this on any sort of mid-life crisis. A new buddy I met when I moved to Dallas had a dirt bike and invited me out to ride with him and his brother. I picked it up pretty quickly and had a blast tearing around a large field that was being prepped for some sort of construction project, while they took turns jumping some dirt mounds and looking way cooler than I. They convinced me that my 30 minutes of experience qualified me to do the same, and I lined up for my first jump to accept my promotion on the cool scale. It didn’t quite end as badly as you’re probably imagining but I was separated from the bike by some blunt force trauma and learned my second lesson. (The first lesson was that it probably takes something more like 60 minutes before tackling your first jump.) The second lesson, which they should have had the foresight to teach me before rolling out, was that once you’re falling off the bike don’t fight it. For some reason after landing and realizing that I was no longer securely seated upright on the bike, I decided I should still hang on as tight as I could even if that hand was gripped tightly to the throttle and responsible for dragging me through the dirt as if attached to a plow horse on steroids. The boys came over and repaired the bike while I shooed the birds circling my head and scooped earth out of my pants. Still with a smile on my face.
Of course, being a wise man of 27 years I decided that all I had to do was to buy a street bike not designed for dirt jumping and I would never crash again. Armed with this infallible logic I went out to check out the market on bikes. When all my friends discovered this information, I found out that they had started a pool to bet on the date of my likely early demise. As evidenced by the earlier dirt jumping anecdote, I wasn’t exactly risk averse at the time, and my penchant for beverages containing barley, hops, and, well, alcohol didn’t do much to improve the decision making process. After I tried to get into the pool on behalf of my estate, I came to the realization that maybe getting a bike at that time in my life wasn’t the best I idea I had ever had. However the idea always lurked in the back of my mind and struggled to take priority every Spring.
So what’s stopping me?
1) I’ve lived in big cities where congestion and long commutes encourage drivers to become more efficient by using driving time to make phone calls, text message, work on Sukoku, apply make-up, eat jelly donuts, share the latest Young Jeezy CD with fellow commuters, write blogs and run over motorcycles.
2) Even though I wanted to be a TV weatherman when I was a strange little kid, I suck at predicting weather even when presented with the latest in satellite imagery technology and a direct line to the National Weather Service. This would result in me getting cold or wet way more often than I could accept.
3) I’m married now to a woman whose nickname is Miss Safety. We wear safety goggles when we brush our teeth. If I owned a motorcycle I’d never be allowed to leave the house in anything less than full Stormtrooper gear.
4) All sorts of bikers would want me to join their gangs, and I’d constantly be having to recite the “I’m a loner, Dottie… a rebel” speech from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
5) I’m just not cool enough to pull it off.
Don’t try to talk me out of it; I’m better off without it. The bug only strikes a handful of days out of the year and I seem to have it under control. In fact, once I pump up the bicycle tires this season, I’m sure a spin in my lycra will help me get over it.