Sunday, July 03, 2011

In My Blood

I'd like to start by saying that I grew up on motorbikes.  I'd like to, but I can't.  Still, I think it's somehow in my genes.  My parents fell in love on a motorcycle.  Riding out to band practice.  Taking of their helmets to kiss on that first date when they were younger than my now-youngest sibling.

By time I came along motorcycles were traded for a brown Toyota with car seats in the back and an ancient pick-up to go with a budding construction business.  Five kids later these eventually turned into a stubborn minivan and "Big Red," (hint: not a bike.)

I always knew, regardless, that my parents both held class 6 driver's licenses.  At ten I had my first ride when my Dad's oldest friend brought around his cruiser.  I don't remember what it was but I remember the thrill and the wind on my arms.  I clung tight as we accelerated.  I didn't know about counter-steering and had it explained to me after trying consistently to upright on corners.

Once a biker always in your blood, so I've been told.  Once you start you'll never really stop.  When I was fourteen my parents bought a little orange Yamaha Enduro 100 from roughly the stone-age, aka the 1970s.  That's what I learned to drive up and down our lane.  With a throttle in your fist and no license in your pocket 100ccs feels like a lot of power.  20MPH feels like a lot of speed.  An old gold helmet from your parent's dating days feels pretty cool.  And it starts to get in your blood.

At sixteen I drove it on Mexican highways to neighboring villages for an internet fix.  The smell of tortillas and the muggy wind on my face was nothing but pure independence.  I wanted more.  My little brother drives it around mountain roads with his friends now.

I moved out and my parent's young family grew up enough to justify getting rid of the minivan.  They bought a Honda 400.  This time only from the Dark Ages.  AKA, the early 1980s.  It looked like this only until my oldest brother turned his mad airbrushing skills its way.  I made it past the first two steps of licensing and then life got in the way.  I still hoped for the wind on my face and a ride down the lake but my lifetime commitment of achieving my own class 6 was still out of reach.

My middle brother fixed up a Honda 400 dual sport from the same era and would take me burning around mountain trails and rock outcroppings.  I learned to manage the kick start and I'd take it out on my own.  My cousin let me take a   less-than-legal spin on his 600 crotch rocket.  It was only a matter of time.  My license requirements finally fit themselves in last year.

Here's what I'm driving these days.  Yamaha Seca 550.  Check off item 24.  Apparently we have a thing for old-school bikes.  Yes, it's also from the dark ages.  But it's still a whole lotta fun.

6 comments:

K. Syrah said...

I've never met anyone who wasn't at least a little enamored with motorcycles. I've only ridden bitch on them, and there's a huge thrill. The fact that it's in your genes? Even better.

I'm sitting here writhing in my jealousy at the moment.

Tabs A. Geek said...

That's amazing Kris! Congratulations! That's a beautiful bike. I'm terrified of them, but I love that you have such a passion for them :)

Kris said...

In some ways "riding bitch" is even more of a thrill. When you're not in control it takes a lot more trust. Even if you trust the lean probably feels unnatural.

Yes. Biking will probably always be part of me. It brings driving to another level.

Thanks Tabs! Guess it's not for everyone, but I'm having fun :)

Rider said...

I'm glad you find your freedom in the wind, Ms. Kris.

If I'm right, then you'll like this video:

http://vimeo.com/16981453

Rider said...

I'm sending you a link to a video of old chopper motorcycles.

There's something beautiful about vintage machinery that still works, that belongs on the road, and that never sees a showroom floor. If you really hear the call of the wind, then this video will mean something to you, Ms. Kris.

http://vimeo.com/26799551

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