My First Ride
I grew up in fear. Fear I was going to fail, fear I wasn’t good enough, fear I was going to hurt myself or others and afraid of people. Why? I have no idea really. Well I have a few but I don’t need to get into some sort of psychotherapy session. When I was growing up, a kid used to ride around our neighborhood and get chased by the cops. He would stop only long enough to huff some gas from his tank and then zoom off, seemingly vanishing like a premonition. But there was no real mystique or attraction to risk taking for me as a child, I was comfortable, bored and typically numb until I was 18. I graduated, moved to Colorado and found a group of friends who enjoyed the fast lane. I soon found myself cliff diving (I was scared of heights), 4 wheeling up mountains, guiding raft trips on the Arkansas River and doing the Chinese downhill on my mountain bike.
The thrill ride had begun. I got my first tattoo with my friend Mark, and shortly before or after (I can’t remember which) I rode a motorcycle for the first time. Motorcycles had a stigma to me – dangerous, fast and possibly a way to meet girls. My friend Mark had an old, fairly beat up Yamaha 125 Enduro that he buzzed around on constantly. It wasn’t a fashion item, but it was a utilitarian way to get from one place to the next. My only form of transportation was my legs. I had no car and no money and Mark was going away for a month and he said I could use his motorcycle. So nonchalant, like it was no big deal. For me it was a huge opportunity, and I would almost say a crossroads. I could try something new that I didn’t know how to do and have some way of getting around. Or I could wimp out.
I had no idea what I was doing when I straddled that green, mostly plastic motorcycle. We were in an alley behind his Mom’s house, he gave me little instruction. I popped the clutch and ended up in the bushes. I got the first crash out of the way and was soon terrorizing the streets. It didn’t take me long to learn that riding in shorts would produce a nice burn on my leg and that big knobby tires weren’t really meant for street riding. It took me another year to buy my own and get a motorcycle license but I had a blast that summer riding around feeling the freedom and learning a bit about myself and the life on two wheels. 4Ever2Wheels!