Mid June 2020 the Sunday I passed the test, of course I had to go tell my best friend! He was at his apartment building his bed frame. He was my biggest supporter through the mission to ride, and his was the bike I almost killed myself on the previous summer the second time I tried to ride it in a parking lot....
Summer 2019 ...it was a narrower parking lot than the first time. Why does that matter? I had no clue how to use the friction zone to help me navigate tight turns, and to me, that parking lot made me nervous compared to the first one because it felt like a tight turn. What do nerves and insecurities make me do? Yup, you guessed it, overthink. Bad bad bad! There was also a hill and a dead end circle lined with thick wooden posts... another bad combination. The stars were stacked against me and I should've stayed in bed.
Soul crushing incident one: trying to turn around, on a slight hill, also trying to avoid the post lined dead end, I totally failed even the slightest resemblance of using the friction zone, ended up going too slow and tipped over in slow motion. How? HA, had the bright idea I could stop the tip without being even close to getting good leverage first. However, I did manage to not hurt myself! YAY! BUT I FELT HORRIBLE! just laid down my best friends' baby! Ungh! There were a few scratches on the mirror and some chrome got rubbed, but the bike was ok.
Lots of stalls, stops, and just plain unfun stupidity later (with a few accomplishments in between like shifting, and actually surviving the post lined dead end.... yes, I tended to fixate on the posts.... just like the cones.) The second soul crushing incident happened. Braking was problematic this ride. Kind of did it a couple times my first ride, but not bad, and not often. Somehow I was revving the engine bad whenever I tried braking. It was getting frustrating and scary. No matter what, I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Then it happened. I accidentally lost my grip on the clutch.... THAT was an oh s#!t moment! Thankfully I also accidentally (or perhaps the biker gods said "not today Pamela, not today"?)hit the kill switch as the front end jumped up, and by the skin of my teeth managed to stay on and keep her upright upon touch down.
The world stopped for a breath or two. It's a freaky thing when adrenaline kicks in, and for a moment everything is in slow motion. Unfortunately, unlike the movies, I was also in slow motion and felt as if it took forever to take that breath. The next thing I know, my best friend ran up to me, stood over the front tire, grabbed the handle bars steadying the bike, and asked if I was ok. I managed to squeak out a breathless "I will be" and got off the bike. Embarrassment, shame, and utter disappointment settled in cranking up the beat-myself-up machine to high production. *sigh*
My best friend got me to stop long enough to put the kickstand down, and picked me up in a bear hug and didn't put me down until I started squirming and giggling because it was just so ridiculous a thing to do at that moment. I um.... kinda.... while I was squirming.... well.... it was a miracle he didn't drop me when my leg connected.... with his....
Anyway, a little bit later, he asked me what happened and I told him about the revvy braking and losing my grip on the clutch... he never said it, but... I knew he would never let me ride his bike again. And I could not argue it. Never asked again.
This is where being an overthinker is a little less curse-like. The revvy braking? Yeah, I was pulling the brake, rolling the throttle with it instead of squeezing the brake without moving my palm. Sheesh! So simple, but it took days to realize it!
But I digress... where was I? OH yes. The bike.
While helping him finish building his bed, he asked me all kinds of questions about what I want for a bike, have I looked for one yet... and he asked about the test and how I felt about riding now,what kind of helmet... He was scheming. I should have seen it, but nooooo. Blind as a deaf bat!
A week later he asked me to look up bluebook on his bike. He did it so casually.... yup, still blind. Told him what I found. Next thing I know, he's offering to sell me his bike for half of blue book. I. Was. Stunned. Speechless. That's not easy to do! Heck, my mind still stutters a bit on that one. That was no small thing this man was offering me. How can you put a price on fulfilling a 40 year long dream? How can you turn down an offer of freedom like that? But I did. I couldn't take his baby!
Then he said "if I miss a season, it's ok. My skills are solid. You, on the other hand, need to develop your skills or you will lose everything you learned in the class, and you'll end up killing yourself". Hmm. Kinda backhanded there azzhole! Lol but he was right. He also knew I wasn't likely to spend enough money on myself to buy a decent bike any other way. Ok. I whispered it. What? He teased... OK!
Took a couple days before I made my first payment to him. $500 cash. We exchanged money, title and keys. We drove to my place, he took the bike, and I took his car. We arranged for him to pick me up for work the next day, so I could drive my truck home after.
My bike. *brain stutter* m mine. It's real.
I donned my gear, and awkwardly duckwalked it around to face the street. It started. Wow.... I'm really doing this! I stall it out. (Expletive). Starts again, I try again, and I'm on the road!