Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To All the Bikes I Loved Before...

Well he's gone and done it, Vigilant Readers. The Man sold my boyfriend. Again. He does this about every other year. He gets a bike, sportbike, to be more specific. He rides it around, taunting me with his fluid shifting and popping wheelies (for the children) as he heads to work. Then, after approximately 2,450 incidents involving Douchey Car Drivers, he decides he really *doesn't* want to end up as footage for Driver's Ed "Blood on the Highway" Part XVI and sells it.

Rinse and repeat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly all crying in my coffee in the Blazing Hot Steam-room/Computer Nook. Why? We made some money, always a WIN... and I know that much like Odysseus being lured onto the rocks, The Man will heed the siren song again. (See how much that liberal arts degree just keeps GIVING?!)

It all began (cue the violins) with a '98 Kawasaki Ninja ZX7, no, I mean, it LITERALLY all began with that bike. I, frankly, might never have agreed to meet The Man if my friend hadn't uttered those magical words "Oh, and he has a bike" - picture 23 year old Sammo acquiring a thoughtful look. When it became clear that she was talking about a sportbike, my visit up to Indy was pretty much assured. The rest, as they say, is history. At over 100 mph.

We've done bike shows, bike races, bike classes and bike repairs. Somewhere, in a parallel universe, there is a (possibly) cooler version of me wrenching on her very own bike. (Because in that parallel universe, I actually learned how to move into first gear without stalling out.)

I've wrecked his bike (the very same Kawasaki) and then put it all back together again with the help of eBay. I've helped him change fairings, rear sets and gas tanks and handed him various types of Allen wrenches. I've packed him up for bike rides and done charity rides on the back. I've griped about the lack of grab-bars and how the cruiser ladies are FAR more comfortable on the back than I am. I've damn near set my leg on fire thanks to the exhaust/rear peg placement more times than I remember. And the only time I've jumped off the bike and acted like a COMPLETE PSYCHOPATH is when a car driver has tried to hit us or run us off the road on purpose.

I've waved in the passing sonic boom as we've had trucks, cars and various forms of Cameros try to race us at stop lights. Silly, silly drivers, it will never. ever. happen. I've also really become very PRO anti-texting laws - mainly because I see *exactly* how much most drivers are ignoring the road.

I've said the Lord's Prayer about a million times. And usually amended it with "please don't let this car cross into our lane Amen!"

There is pretty much nothing I don't love about bikes. I can tell you all about performance, engine size, oil changes (stick with synthetic) and which one I liked the best (the Kawasaki, although the Suzuki rates a close second).

I will miss it, no doubt. But frankly, it isn't like it used to be, when we could jump on and take off and be gone for an entire afternoon. We have to get a sitter and pay for the privilege of going down the road for 20 minutes. And, oh yeah, there IS that whole being afraid to die thing. It seems like every single time I'm on back, some driver out there does something so insanely stupid that I am convinced I could have died.

We know people who've gone down. The saying is "there are two types of rider, those who have gone down and those who are going down." It's just a matter of when and how hard. We've heard the horror stories of broken bones, concussions, road rash and death. Everyone has a "this buddy of mine" story. (None of us really finds the term "donorcycle" all that amusing, if you're wondering.)

And yet...

It is still, bar none, one of my favorite things in life. So even as I sell my gear (with plans to buy pink women's gear next time), I have my eye on future days on the road, future days at the track and future times of hitting the curves.

Goodbye, Honda, I hardly knew ya' - but hopefully hello to something else someday.

Comments, questions, what's your parallel self doing?