“Don’t you think that’s dangerous?” my friend asked with a slight frown. Last week I excitedly signed up to take the Basic Riders Course required for a motorcycle license. Friends’ comments vary from cool to crazy, but this decision has been years in the making and it’s mine.
Since my dad always looked out for his little girl, he adamantly forbade me to get on the back of a bike. He had good reason to discourage motorcycles when the drivers were young and irresponsible. One afternoon when I was standing in my uncle’s barnyard in Upstate New York, one of the guys took the turn onto the bridge too fast. The motorcycle made it, but he didn’t. As I watched, his right leg was broken back in an unnatural position. The ambulance took forever while he screamed in pain then grew silent. We thought we were losing him until they started to cut off his jeans. He yelled, “I don’t have on any underwear!” His worry over this detail assured us that he was going to be fine. Dad’s warnings were justified.
Years later as an adult, my dad’s rule was very much on my mind when my husband asked me to ride. We were only dating back then, but I trusted him and jumped on the back of a bike. He would take me out over the mountains in rural Pennsylvania. Soaring over the hills with my arms around him was the most exhilarating feeling. I never wanted to let go.
After we had our first child, my husband took possession of one of his family’s bikes. With an authoritative attitude, I deemed the Washington, DC area too dangerous. As parents, it would be irresponsible for the both of us to get on a motorcycle. No need for my father’s warnings, my own apprehensions were taking precedent. My husband suggested I get a license. He rightly surmised that if I was on my own bike, I would agree to ride. Although an enticing idea, I was soon pregnant with our second son and it didn’t happen.
Last year I signed up for the motorcycle course but had to cancel because my husband took a different year-long work detail and we had to go away that week. Fighting a strong feeling that this was the end of it, I promised myself that in a year I would take the course. Now I’m signed up four months in advance, waiting for my reward.
The little voice in my head is very much warning me to be careful. Even so, there’s no doubt that my time to hit the road on two wheels is finally arriving, my very own motorcycle moment.