Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ptarmigan or Milquetoast?

This particular post is about motorcycles. Now the title doesn't seem to make much sense right now but bear with me and it will.

You know from my previous post that I am married to the Troubadour which means motorcycles are a big part of our lives. Do I ride you might ask? Well the answer to that is not black and white. More of a lavender grey I'd say.

When the opportunity arises to join Brad on the bike for a ride I go along as long as I don't mind where we're headed, how long we'll be gone, and how big the group is we're riding with or if we're just headed out for a solitary ride. I admit the solitary rides are my favorite. I did more riding with him this season since he has the America as opposed to last riding season with the Sprint ST.

Have I ever thought about my own bike? Sure I ponder it often. In 2002 I went through the Motorcycle Safety Course through Team Oregon (highly recommended) and I am officially a licensed motorcycle rider. Have I ever ridden on my own? I am sad to say that 6 years later I have not. The State of Oregon trusts me to ride on my own, I however, do not.

That is where our story of ptarmigans and milquetoasts comes in. Why haven't I ridden on my own? Am I like the humble ptarmigan, also known as a chicken? Or am I like a milquetoast - a fancy name for a sissy? Lets delve further into my grey matter and find out.

Troubadour patiently taught me the basics of riding on his old KZ900 riding around the local High School parking lot. I was comfortable even confident. He wanted me to have some basic skills before taking the class. I went to the class and was given one of those very low to the ground Suzuki 250's with the forward controls. I think I have sat on toilet seats that have been higher off the ground. I am not an overly tall woman at just under 5'8" but my legs are the greater part of that height. It took some getting used to in the class but I nevertheless was used to that bike by the end and was actually confident on it. Of course I took the class in September in the pouring rain - note to self, do not leave your rain pants in your car. They do not keep you from getting wet when they are in the trunk. I choked during the testing and laid the bike down and ended up going back in November for a re-test. No shame in that, I aced it next time around - in worse weather conditions in November, maybe because I wore my rain pants.

The problem started after getting endorsed. I went from that low center of gravity Suzuki with forward controls back to the KZ900 that is taller with sportier located controls. I didn't feel comfortable at all. My confidence was shaken and in no way did I want to drop the Troubadour's only bike. A second bike wasn't an option at the time as we had only been in Corvallis about 18 months and were still getting settled.

Priorities change, we bought our first house. I believe we did buy a Honda Magna in there thinking either one of us could ride it and it was still newer than the KZ. For whatever reason I still didn't ride it. Maybe because I didn't want to drop the newer bike, maybe because it had been a few years since my course? Maybe I was just chicken?

We then sold that house and bought the one we're currently in and renovating. Could I get my own bike right now? Sure, but I'd rather have a new kitchen. Those damn priorities and being fiscally responsible get in the way.

Do I ever want my own bike? Most definitely. For now I shall continue to make excuses for "not right now". Why expend double the cost in bikes, double cost for insurance, and double the cost for gas when we'll be headed in the same direction at the same time anyway? Maybe I am being environmentally friendly and lowering our carbon footprint by riding two up? Sadly, maybe I am just a ptarmigan. Time will tell.

Je suis un poulet humble.
-Au Revoir

"You are a coward when you even seem to have backed down from a thing you openly set out to do" - Mark Twain

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