Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home Again and the Heat's Turned On ...

Easter at our house isn't the same without the big three: ham, my Mom's scalloped potatoes and my favorite (perhaps the reason I ride alone) baked beans. Good food, great company … yesterday’s feast was topped only by finally getting the VStar back home again today. Yes, today was the day. Thanks to everyone who had their fingers crossed, the weather defied the weatherman. I had warm temperatures and clear skies for this year’s first ride. 
Toggle switch discretely
 (can you even see it?)
above instruments on
the tank.

It’s the day I’ve been anticipating, talking about for months but, when the time actually came I have to admit sheer anxiety took over. There I stood, face to face with 650ccs of Japanese technology (aka a motorcycle) that I hadn’t ridden in months. It looked so much larger and far more dangerous than I remembered. My gear weighed a ton and I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to get my short little leg over the seat let alone maneuver through city streets long enough to make it home alive. The traffic in town was, to say the least, horrendous (what is it about a holiday weekend?) I was as close to terrified as I could be. My hands were literally shaking. I couldn’t remember where the choke was, I couldn’t get it started … my confidence level was about to bottom out when the mechanic came out to help. Of course he gallantly explained the work he’d done, pointed out that he had installed the toggle switch for the heated grips backwards on purpose because high (left), low (right) made more sense to him (and for some strange reason it did to me too). I muttered under my breath that I didn’t like the first ride and he assured me that he and everybody felt the same way. I could have cooked an entire Easter feast in the time it took me to put on my jacket, put in the big ears, adjust my helmet, put on the gloves, reposition the mirrors, adjust the helmet again…from the parking lot to the street was the longest 50 foot ride I think I’ve ever taken.
By the time I got to the gas station 10 km away I was feeling comfortable and at home, back in the saddle again. I think a little fear and paranoia is a good thing – it makes you respect the machine you’re riding. It makes you think about what the rest of the world is going to throw at you, like the woman in the SUV who pulled out around another vehicle in front of me today - she couldn’t have possibly seen me, luckily, I was watching for her.
My 25 kilometer ride home took me 116 km. There was a tiny bit of a chill in the air by 3 so I flicked the perfectly positioned toggle switch for the heated grips and headed for home.
All cleaned and polished, dressed in stunning new saddle bags and wearing the latest in heated grips the VStar is home again ready for this year's adventure.

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