Motorcycle Mama

For Sale at the Grafton Flea Market

Is that a motorcycle jacket with my name on it? Well….about 13 years ago, when I worked for a community college and got a discount on courses, I decided to do something outside of my comfort zone. I thought it would be a fun experience to sign up for a motorcycle class with my son, Michael. Michael was about 19 at the time, and he happily agreed.

The course was over a weekend, on a Saturday and Sunday. We began early Saturday morning with some classroom instruction. There were about a dozen students in our class, and coincidentally, there were two other mother/son pairs. Once the classroom instruction was over, our group left the building and headed out to a row of motorcycles lined up on the street. I had borrowed a helmet and some hefty shoes from one of our Scrabble friends, so I was ready to go.

Our first task was to get on the motorcycle and kind of “walk/ride” it over to a large parking lot where we would be working on skills. We would be working through a set of skills, each one building on the previous one. In front of us, lay the road, a small island with a couple of trees on it and in the distance, our hands-on learning classroom, the parking lot.

As we sat on the bikes, in the middle of listening to the final words of instruction, one of the motorcycles suddenly, kind of like a jack rabbit, leapt forward and headed straight for the island. And not two seconds later, a second bike also leapt forward, this time hitting one of the trees. Michael looked over at me with eyes wide and said, “What is happening?”

Fortunately, neither one was hurt, and I successfully “walk/rode” my bike over to the parking lot. Of all the skills we were to learn that day, this was the one I truly excelled at. What I mean to say is, I actually could do it.

As the day went on, each skill got harder. At one point, as we were riding in a figure eight, the instructor was running right along side me and yelling, “Go Faster! Faster! Faster!” I couldn’t shake the guy.

At another point, he told me he could see me thinking and to “stop thinking and just do it.” I can’t really remember all the details, but you had to do one thing with one hand, something else with one of your feet, and something else with the other foot. And each thing to do was different! When I replied, “How can I do it if I don’t think about it?” He then replied that women think too much. Huh?

At another point, when practicing a skill, I looked at my hands. The veins on my hands seemed to be sticking out about 1/2 inch. I’d never seen that phenomenon before nor since. I wonder what my blood pressure was. Michael, of course, was doing just fine.

About 3/4 through the day, I took off my helmet and told the instructor I was done. I was going to sit out the rest of the day and wouldn’t be returning tomorrow. I thought he would try to talk me into sticking it out, but instead, he looked at me and said, “Okay.”

As I sat on the sidelines, one of the other mothers from one of the other mother/son pairs came up to me. She said, “Betty, don’t quit. You can do this.” I said, “No, I’m gonna quit.” Now, normally, as Dan will bemoan to you, I mean, as Dan will tell you, I don’t quit. That day, I quit.

Now, at the end of the day, the instructor did walk over to me. He wanted to ask me something. He asked me if I would be selling my helmet because, if I was, he was interested in buying it. He said sometimes people sign up for the class, go out and buy the helmet, and then decide a helmet would not be needed. Of course, I wasn’t selling as I didn’t think my Scrabble friend would appreciate me selling her motorcycle helmet. But I did have to wonder, how much of a side hustle this was for the instructor? Perhaps, this was where the real money lay. Maybe the real reason he taught the class wasn’t for the hourly rate, but rather for the easy procurement of second-hand motorcycle helmet inventory. Who knew?

Since Michael did so well, he did go back the next day and complete the course. He got some kind of certificate with his name on it. Not surprisingly, nobody sent me a certificate. However, when Michael got home, he had some news. You know the woman, who had so kindly encouraged me? Unfortunately, she ended the class with two broken legs! Somehow she started to fall off the bike and ended up having the bike fall on both of her legs. I’m thinking she didn’t get the certificate either.

In all my days, I am so glad, that on that day, I knew my limits. Was there ever a time when you knew your limits? I do believe in getting out of your comfort zone. I do believe in trying new things. I do believe in making new adventures and in making shared memories. But, in all things, I believe in safety first.

Be safe out there!

Mom and Michael,
but no motorcycle!

27 comments

  1. Reminds me of my motorcycle lesson. I also failed the test on my first attempt (I dropped the bike). What made it even worse was my husband, who took the course on the same weekend, passed at the top of the class with a perfect test ride and my middle son only had one minor error. With my husband’s encouragement, I went back to do the remedial test and I still enjoy riding my motorcycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! There could be many reasons why something started isn’t finished. And I learned something valuable by trying the class – I am not made for motorcycles! I’ll never have to wonder about that. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

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      • This reminds me of a boyfriend who borrowed a friends motorcycle to impress me on a date. The bike overturned and landed on my leg. I was inappropriately wearing shorts so my leg was badly burned from some heated part of the motor. I’ve never gone near a motorcycle since then. I salute you for knowing your limits. Please give me the safety of a car!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Betty, I’m glad you realized it was time to quit, but it gave you a funny story! I know first hand that even though they may be fun to ride, they are very dangerous even when not navigating in traffic. My son-in-law lost his leg in his second accident. In the first one my daughter was on the back, thankfully wearing a helmet that saved her life. They were air-lifed to hospital in serious condition, but in time recovered. My ex and son rode motorcycles years ago and I was always concerned for their safety. I never rode with them and had no desire to try to balance on one while doing this and that with my hands and feet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right! I didn’t realize how dangerous motorcycles were when I signed up for the class. After the class, my son bought a motorcycle, fixed it up and kept it about a year. He fell off it once, and that was the end of it for him. He sold it, and I was very glad. I am sorry about your son-in-law’s leg. Glad your daughter came out okay – eventually. I have no desire to ride again. The only bike I want to ride is my bicycle! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of the reasons I never rode the bike with my ex was because I had had a messy bike accident a few years before. I can still feel the pavement coming up to meet me and I could only imagine how much worse it would be on a motor cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post. I have always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle. I rode a few times as a teenager and felt that one day I could once again experience the wind on my face. As I was reading this story I thought to myself, “alright, this lady is full of surprises”. When I read that you decided to quit I was just like the other women, “no Betty don’t quit, you can do it”. But then I read the conclusion and thought, “hmmm, Betty sure has a superb intuition”. You went out of your comfort zone and gave it a try. I never did. I have abandoned my dream to buy a Harley and these days focus on staying balanced on my own two feet. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had wanted to do something with my son, and I was pretty sure he would like this. I am glad I tried it, but I have no regrets about not pursuing it further. Maybe you never got your Harley, but you sure have gotten many great adventures! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

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  4. Oh my!! You’re very brave to even consider taking that class. My husband owned a large touring motorcycle for a few years. I loved riding on the back as a passenger but couldn’t imagine ever attempting to drive it solo! I do know my limits in most cases because if even the thought of doing something raises a dread type of anxiety I know to back off. Excitement is a different thing. If I feel excited about trying something new, I’ll usually give it a go. Great descriptive post! Enjoy your weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a really good distinction between anxiety and excitement! It is great to be excited about something! I was brave, but that was 12 or 13 years ago. I am not that brave now! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. It was truly wonderful that you tried and even more impressive that you knew your limits. I also like to step out of my comfort zone on occasion, but one advantage of being older is being comfortable saying no, that’s not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, there are lots of advantages of getting older, including – who cares what others think? It’s a nice memory – even better because I knew it was not for me, and I didn’t go any further! Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. What memories your post brought back. I rode a motorcycle for many years and enjoyed every minute of every ride. I also rode year round and that was in New Jersey. Many a time in the winter I came home with my tears frozen on my cheeks. But the rest of me was always nice and warm because I wore heated gear. I rode up and down the East Coast mile after mile. But there came the day when I knew it was time to call it quits. It goes to your comment of knowing your limits. My knees finally got so bad I simply could not hold up an 800 lb motorcycle. That is when we started considering going RV’ing. And the rest is history. That of course meant we, like you, back then had to step out of our comfort zone and just go for it. I can’t help but wonder how many people miss so many wonderful times in life because they just don’t “step out and try something new”‘. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad the post brought back so many great memories for you! And I’m glad you survived all that motorcycle riding. We have a friend who rides his motorcycle all over the country. He really enjoys it. I just could not “get it.” My brain is just not wired to operate a motorcycle, but I am glad I tried. We are both fortunate to have partners with a sense of adventure, too! That makes it even more fun! Enjoy your Sunday!

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  7. That’s awesome that you gave it a try. If you hadn’t, you would’ve been thinking the rest of your life that you were missing out. I like to try new things (unless it involves jumping out of a plane). We all have our limits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I would never want to jump out of a plane. My son did do that twice, but I don’t believe he’ll do it again. I guess he got it out of his system! And I am glad!!! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!
      P.S. The comment came through 2 times, so I am deleting the 2nd.

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  8. Great post, and as another reader above observed, it’s also a wonderful object lesson. Many years ago, I walked in on the tail end of a conversation amongst the retired policemen who worked part-time guarding the courthouse where I worked. As I was going through security I heard one of them say, “… Yes, but eventually everyone who ever rides one takes a tumble. That’s why I’m not crazy about them.” I knew right away they were discussing motorcycles! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Back when we did this, I really didn’t realize how dangerous motorcycles were. I hadn’t thought about them that much. The only bike for me is my bicycle! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My wife wants to learn to ride but has resisted every opportunity to go learn. It is great to read that you actually tried it. At least now you can look back and say that you gave it a try.

    Will you try again? Maybe practice on a small motorcycle in a parking lot? It might make a great follow up story, your breaking through an obstacke and conquering it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well… in theory, I do like a story where someone is challenged by an obstacle and works to overcome it. However, I am just fine to stay off of motorcycles the rest of my life. I just don’t have the confidence – which I think is huge. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend!

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