This morning I ignited a passionate discussion on motorcycles with my significant other.  In his former life (before me), he rode motorcycles both alone and with his (ex) wife.  He owned several, enjoyed the activity, and like most things in our life, became knowledgeable and passionate about it. 

I most decidedly am not a fan.  Although I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, the limits of safety are always there:  cycling but not speeding down hills as if I’m invincible, riding extreme roller coasters but only ones that are visibly up kept, riding a horse at top speed but not dangerously so.  You get the drift.  To me, no matter the safety courses, no matter the statistics on road bikes versus sport bikes (is that the right terminology?), no matter the emphasis on who the riders are, the idea of motorcycling does not feel safe to me.

I freely admit I have never been on the back of a motorcycle, with the exception of one at a children’s museum that was clearly not going anywhere.  The closest I’ve ever been to one purposefully was standing at the back of my cousin’s truck that had one of his racing motorcycles on it – when I was 12.  “Do you want to sit on it?  I can take you for a ride.”  “No,” I said shakily, “I don’t.” 

I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this innocent neurosis.  I have no reason to dislike them.  I have no reason to avoid them.  I have had no personal experience with them.  I come up with reasons that I don’t like them, like this morning’s “I don’t like bikers, they look like they might rape me.”  The reasoning changes every time, and I recognize this.

So, Joel, I’m really sorry I have such a negative reaction to something you like so much.  I may be eating my words in a few years when you have me on the back of one.  But for now, for whatever reason, recognize that the thought of me climbing on one scares me.  It does.  I have no real reason for it.  I can actually feel my legs quivering and my heart start to ramp up when I think about riding one, or even being very near to one.

Maybe it was my mother’s insistence that I never ride motorcycles because they were unsafe.  Maybe it was me, seven years old, turning down my neighborhood friend and his dad for a ride knowing that if my mom had found out she would have been angry, only to find out 15 minutes later they had managed to flip their bike over and my friend broke his arm.  Maybe it was me, thirteen years old, watching my twenty-five year old cousin have my aunt on my grandmother’s bed take out his stitches above his eye after wrecking his bike.  Maybe it’s my aversion to loud noises.  Maybe it’s my distrustfulness of my stereotype of who rides motorcycles.  Maybe I don’t need a reason.

I’m of the opinion never to discount something unless I’ve tried it.  Something may work for someone else, it may work for me; I won’t ever know until I’ve done it.  So I say never say never; however, today is not the day I will try riding a motorcycle.  Tomorrow doesn’t look promising.  Someday, maybe.  But definitely not next week, either.

2/17/2009 03:32:13 am

As I had to sell all my bikes to finance grad school and I am now as poor as they come you are safe until I get a job...


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