50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #16 – Ride on a motorcycle

Let’s just make this clear – Born to Be Wild is NOT my theme song!

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Yes, I rode a motorcycle. Yes, Tracy Odber survived!

To say I’m not into motorcycles would be an understatement. Not only do they not appeal to me, they scare me. I hear the horror stories and I know friends of friends who have (fill in the blank with any selection of motorcycle horror stories). So, because I actually fear them, I know I had to add it to my list of 50 Crazy Things. Luckily, I have a large contingent of friends who were more than happy to help me get out of my comfort zone on two wheels. A number of my friends are Harley Davidson enthusiasts, a few like other brands of bikes, but they are all touring enthusiasts and they all get very animated when talking about sitting for his many hours in the hot sun wearing leather and nearly getting hit by other vehicles. My… that sounds like fun! (not!)

So, early on when I was planning my list I had plenty of volunteers. Around the time I decided to do it, some were away on motorcycle trips (go figure), but the two I fully expected to do this with, Tracy and Yvonne Odber, were at home and Tracy was more than willing to let me sit behind him and squeeze the stuffing out of him while he steered. What a guy!

Yvonne and I made plans to get together on September 29th because our lives had gotten way too busy. I didn’t realize I would also be riding the motorcycle that day. When I got to her place I had to turn around and go home to get changed. I wasn’t riding a motorcycle in shorts and flip flops! Jeans and runners it was.

Tracy and Yvonne ride a bike they have named Autumn. She is a 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide CVO (whatever that means). Before I got there Tracy polished her up so she was sparkling in the sunshine. I’m pretty sure he would have been polishing her whether I was coming or not. I don’t think that bike ever gets very dirty!

Yvonne lent me her leather jacket and a helmet. Tracy lovingly showed me all of Autumn’s special details – the chrome, the holographic paint job… I’m sure there were other things. From an aesthetic point of view, Autumn is very pretty .. even I admit that.

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Me  – smiling on the outside, screaming on the inside. Tracy – smiling all the time.

After all of that Tracy got on the bike and I got on behind. It was surprisingly comfortable. Autumn is meant for touring, long rides, and the comfort of the person riding in the back. I’ve seen many others (many on my online dating matches) that don’t look nearly as comfortable. Yvonne says there are times she could fall asleep on the back of the bike. I’m pretty sure I would never get to that state of relaxation on a motorcycle but good on her.

My thing against motorcycles is the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. If anything happens there is no big car frame to offer at least a first level of protection. There’s a leather jacket – not very comforting! Plus, there’s that speed thing (a recurring theme in these crazy things) and the leaning into the corners… just typing that makes my stomach lurch! My 2007 Honda Fit doesn’t lean… ever! Tracy, to his extreme credit, barely leaned into any corner we drove on… bless his heart! I think he may have actually done this for his own safety and the continued structure integrity of his rib cage. Too much leaning and my panic may have limited his ability to breathe!

The ride itself was surprisingly peaceful and nearly pleasant. We went out to the airport and back along Ord Rd. Tracy didn’t lean much, we could actually talk, and there were hardly any cars. I consider this a win. Tracy’s ribs arrived back at the house in relatively the same shape they left in. My thighs, however, were exhausted from squeezing tightly the entire time – good workout!

Why was this crazy?

Oh, the usual – not big on being out of control, being exposed, being vulnerable, etc.

Would I do it again?

I still felt vulnerable, but being alive makes you vulnerable so it’s a risk that can be taken. I wouldn’t say I was dying to jump on a bike again, but if the opportunity arose I wouldn’t necessarily run away screaming. I wouldn’t be jumping up and down in excitement either. I would say it wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be and I’m really glad I did it.

Thanks so much to Tracy and Yvonne for making this happen for me!

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Tracy, Yvonne, and Autumn… motorcycle freaks but I love them anyway!

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