Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Facing Fears (well, one of them)

I was spending time with my man a couple weekends ago, and he has a motorbike. He has been saying for a year that we are going to go for a ride, but never got around to getting it road ready. I pretended to be genuinely fearless, and agreed that when it was ready, we could go for a ride. In reality, I am scared shitless of anything that goes fast, except for my Honda when I am in the driver’s seat. I was secretly assuming that he would continue to procrastinate and that I would remain off the hook for the time being. Well, finally, it was ready. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. I lied and said “Yes!”

Me getting ready to go
Being a couple days shy of summer solstice, it was sunny and warm and many motorbike enthusiasts were out and about. So, he got the R1 all ready. By all ready, I mean, filled up with gas and oil, scrubbed own and towel dried, triple checked to ensure spotlessness. It did look great, as good as new! I was content admiring it from the garage, but it was time to stop admiring it and get on the back. I was instructed that I would need to wear jeans, a long sleeved shirt, socks and proper footwear. Flip flops apparently aren’t proper footwear. When I asked why I needed jeans he said “because it gives you more protection if we crash”

I responded “But, we aren’t gonna crash”
“Just in case” he said, hopping on the bike.
I didn’t care for the “just in case”. I know that accidents are called accidents for a reason, and that no one intends to crash and that sometimes it’s unavoidable; otherwise they would be called “deliberates”. But still, I was hoping that he would offer me a guarantee that I would be absolutely safe while trying to enjoy the ride.

After a quick lesson on how to be a good passenger, we were on our way. I was scared of the 1st corner, because I had been told to just go with the turn and not fight it. I didn’t really know what that meant, having never rode before, so I was afraid I would screw it up somehow. I took to heart 100% the instruction to hold on tight. I became exhausted from holding on even before we got to the real road!

As for the real road, I was not impressed. I was hoping he would take me on some traffic-less back roads, perhaps through the country where there were minimal turns and practically zero chance of colliding with another vehicle. Nope. We went right through town, stopping at stop lights, turning with arrows, and changing lanes. Whenever any of those situations would occur, I would almost hide behind him, careful not to focus too much on the other cars, maintaining such a tight grip with my arms and my legs that I started to get sore. I figured, oh well if I survive this, as least I’ll have gotten a workout out of the deal!  At one point, I looked around from behind him and noticed that we were turning onto the highway. I was really not cool with that. As soon as we got on and he started going faster, I started to regret the decision to go on the bike. I am terrified of almost everything and I was craving the safety of my little Honda.

 As we continued on, my confidence slowly started to increase.  I eased my grip and started to look around a bit. I noticed that the riders of every other bike that passed, whether a sport bike or a hawg, would wave, and he, in turn would wave back. I found this to be an interesting part of the motor bike community!

We ended up at a nice pullout overlooking the Columbia River.  At that point, I wanted to continue riding, and go explore more scenery, but it was time to go. The way back was much easier. I only cringed a little on the turns and I wasn’t deathly afraid of stoplights or the cars around me.  At one point I even caught myself thinking about how bad the wind must be for my hair! I realized that my thoughts had migrated from fear for my life to fear of damaged hair, and I felt immensely relieved. I started to almost feel cool!

When we got back to the house, I was exhilarated and satisfied that I had finally experienced something new. I had faced one of my fears, and was back safe and sound. A couple weeks later, we ventured out again, this time going on a longer ride. It was amazing! I loved being able to feel the coolness of the foliage on the side of the road, and I no longer felt unsafe at all, having survived the last ride. The destination was stunning: a small hike through a forest to an impressive lookout where 5 different mountain peaks are in view. I thoroughly enjoyed being a passenger, and only feel hindered by the fact that my clothing options are limited when going for a ride! My butt got really sore after the long ride, but I can tell that in time that will ease up.  I feel safe on the bike now that I realize that I am probably safer on there with a helmet on than I am in my Honda, protected by mere fiberglass and a seatbelt!

I had been on the back or a motorbike before, in Southeast Asia, but this bike is much faster, and going for a ride for pleasure is different than using it for a short trip to a specific destination. It helped that my man is an experienced rider, and that I know he will be extra careful with me on the back. I am looking forward to the next chance to go for a ride, as this is just a new addition to the many things that I love about summer!

Hope everyone else is having a good summer too! Cheers!


  1. Sounds like you're having a thrilling time! It's is good to try something new. I went rock climbing once and it was terrifying but I was SO proud I stuck it out!

  2. I still want to try that...and scuba diving!