So we arrived at the dealership. It was a Harley and Triumph dealership.
Let’s just get this out of the way. I’m not really a Harley person. No offense, they are fine motorcycles, but just like some people are cat people and some people are dog people, some people are Harley People and some people are Not Harley People. It’s just not my thing.
Also, I’m not really a cruiser style bike person. Cruiser style bikes are all leany-backy and stuff. Your feet are in front of you. No me gusta.
Nor am I a street bike type person. Street bikes tip you up so your behind is in the air. It’s not comfortable and makes me feel like I’m going to fall on my face. (Also, what if the wind hits me just right and I really do have a buttsong?)
I’m not an off-road type, even occasionally. Me likey the pavement. So no “adventure” or “enduro” bike for me.
I want something small enough to ride in town, which leaves out the big old touring bikes with all kinds of niceties like fairings and luggage and cruise control and reverse and stereo and cup holders. My dad rides one of these. I affectionately refer to it as a Hondabago.
So that pretty much leaves what is called a standard bike. Your feet are below you, you aren’t leaned forward or back, it’s pretty comfy. The engine can be biggish but it’s still nimble enough to muscle around in town and you can get a ways out on the highway without feeling like you’re riding a skateboard.
At any rate, we were met at the door by a tall, slender guy whose shirt patch declared him to be — I am not making this up — “Slim Dave.” Apparently there is another Dave and rather than call that guy “Chunky Dave” or “Tubby Dave,” they decided to call this guy “Slim Dave” for purposes of differentiation.
Anyway I told Slim Dave, “So if anybody had ever told me I’d be walking into a Harley dealership…” and he looked at me very seriously and said, “AND Triumph.” And I said, “Which brings us to why we are here.”
We admired the various models of Triumph and Slim Dave inquired about whether I might like a test drive. The Lovely Rhonda mentioned that if there was, perhaps, an orange Bonneville lying around the shop, well, I might like to see that one. Possibly.
So we moseyed up the elevator to the warehouse, which is this big room stuffed full of shiny new motorcycles, and there it was: the orange one. That one orange one. I was nearly struck dumb, which if you know me at all you know that this is almost an impossible state for me to be in.
They lent me a helmet and gloves, I let them photocopy my license and signed an impressive looking paper saying I wouldn’t steal the bike or sue anybody if I got hurt, and would be a good girl and follow the rules of the road and not break any laws or anything. Evidently when you test drive a brand new motorcycle you are not allowed to be Sick of the Man Keeping You Down.
I had not ridden in ten years and did I mention I have anxiety issues? So the butterflies were thick and fast, but Slim Dave was comfortingly trusting so I figured I’d go with it. He rode alongside me on … some kind of motorcycle. No idea what. We rode around for a little while, and I learned some stuff:
If you rode a motorcycle for around ten years, and then you didn’t for another ten years or so, you will not have forgotten how to ride. You will be a little rusty, but you will still know how to ride.
A brand-new motorcycle with four miles on the odometer is delightful to ride, but you’ll be terrified to drop it like a noob.
Everything works on a brand-new motorcycle, including the throttle. I was so used to crusty old bikes with sluggish throttles that I felt like a jet pilot on that thing.
If you loved to ride ten years ago, you will still love to ride.
When I got home I learned another new thing: you will still fit into your old gloves, which are coincidentally the only thing you kept from ten years ago when you gave up riding. They are nice lined gauntlet gloves that I got at Langlitz Leathers back in the day, and they are nicely broken in and comfy. They are old friends in glove form. I’m so glad I kept them.