First Day Riding

First Day Riding

Today fellow employee, Randy, reluctantly gave up the keys to the company owned Zero for the weekend. After he gave an overview of the all-electric motorcycle I was perched on, I hopped off and let the thumping adrenaline in my ears subside. What an awesome feeling, I thought. What’s it going to be like when I ride it? That’s when Randy turned very serious.

Our legendary wall of crashed Roadcrafter gear was hauntingly visible through the open overhead door as we stood outside talking. Randy didn’t pull any punches. He explained how cars like to turn left in front of motorcycles and the importance of assuming you’re invisible when riding. Then he motioned toward the empty lot across the street and suggested, or rather required, that I get the feel of riding there before heading home.

Forcing myself back inside the Aerostich building for a final meeting before heading home, I pondered the enormity of the adventure ahead. Our company is in town and home is in the country, leaving no way to commute without riding through town, which has lots of scary cars. Getting 100% on the permit test yesterday gives me confidence – just need to block out flunking it four days ago.

The following half hour meeting was the longest week I ever spent sitting in an office. Finally, I dashed down the stairs and got suited up for the initiation. As a kid I’d ridden a Yamaha TY 50, but not on the road, much. Now, a hand full of decades later, I steadied my flipping stomach, turned the key, then the throttle, and pulled from the curb over to the dirt lot and practiced for 15 minutes. Good enough. I was anxious to get on with it.

At the second stop sign a pickup almost went out of turn, then the driver smiled sheepishly and waved me, slightly wobbling, through. Turning from the streets, I white nickeled it up to 50mph on the highway and was exhilarated by the wholly unexpected blast of air. Fifteen minutes later I made it to our driveway and was so grateful for the safe transit that I named the bike! Seeing the bike pull in, my wife looked alarmed. Then, recognizing parts of the dorky outfit I wore, she relaxed, looking bemused.

After a good rest and a settling snack, I hopped back on the cool, light orange bike and rode to nearly every friend and neighbor I know within ten miles. The bike even made it slowly through the rutted muddy trail in the back field with just one minor dump, which my sons saw. But, we pounded and promised everlasting secrecy from mom, which lasted under 30 minutes.

Country rides for tomorrow have been mapped, more surprised faces of friends imagined, and now I won’t be able to sleep. Louise (the bike not my wife) is charging up outside and waiting, pretty as a peach, for Saturday to dawn.

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