Where to start. We had a great last 2 days celebrating Carm's birthday. Personally, I did a lot of time travel - I've been doing lots of that lately. It started when we were walking through the market and passed a little store selling Vespa's and little motorcycles. I was immediately transported to a day in March or April in 1981 - I was in a little motorcycle shop in Stittsville with my boyfriend Steve. Bored, I started checking out the motorcycles for sale, and then... magic happened... I sat on one that was made for me - a Suzuki GN400.
The handlebars reached back perfectly to my hands, the seat fit perfectly, and my legs touched the floor perfectly. It was beautiful. I was in LOVE. We left the shop and carried on our way, but I just couldn't get that bike out of my mind. I was only 19 and pretty much broke - I had no money for a motorcycle! I was living on my own in a tiny (teeny tiny) apartment, my parents lived in another city, plus I was pretty sure I couldn't hit them up for any money (nor would I have wanted to - I was pretty independent). It may have been the following weekend, or maybe it was a few weeks later, but one Sunday afternoon we were out for a walk in the Glebe and decided to deek into a motorcycle store... and there it was... sitting on the showroom floor as if it had been waiting for me. I sat on it again and knew that I had to have it, somehow I'd have to find the money. Luckily for me Steve kindly volunteered to lend me the money (oh my I was going to be broke paying him back!), and we sat down with the salesman and made the deal!!!!
The next day I called my Dad at his office. "Guess what I got!"... "a cat?"... "a puppy?"... "no, something bigger!"... "a horse???"... "no, a MOTORCYCLE"!!!
"OH MY GOD - do you know where I just was? I was at a long term care facility and there were all these young men in wheelchairs. I asked why so many - MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS!".
Well, that didn't go particularly well, but he did agree to tell my mother. I guess my Mom said the "F" word and cried. My Mom never swears... she says fuddle, duddle and oh sugar. I guess they weren't too happy... I did however agree to take a Motorcycle Safety Course which I would strongly recommend to any new (or old) motorcycle rider).
When the day came to pick up my bike Steve borrowed his father's pickup truck and we brought it out to his parents farm on that (how I wonder?). Neither Steve nor myself had a licence so we had to have some place to practice so we could go and get one. I don't remember what the requirements were or how I went about learning, but I did get my license.
Oh how I remember the feeling of freedom racing (okay, not racing), down the roads. That bike felt like it was part of me. In those days there weren't too many girls riding - I remember many times pulling up for gas or to the convenience store, getting off the bike and taking off my helmet. My hair was longer, and blonde, and I was a slightly hot 19 year old (oh to be 19 again!). I caused quite a stir at times - I liked that :-)
Anyway, back to my parents. The first time I drove the motorcycle down to the boat (about 2 hours away) my Dad had to try it out. They let me take my young brothers for a ride. They didn't freak out. In fact one time that summer, or maybe it was the next, they let me bring Olaf, my 6 year old (or maybe he was 7) brother, home with me… on the motorcycle… on a 2 hour drive.... Of course nothing went wrong, but seriously WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!
Oh well, I had that bike for 2 years... and then Steve and I broke up... and I was stuck with an expensive apartment that I couldn't afford... I couldn't afford the insurance... so I had to sell it. Oh SOB. I don't have the urge to get another one now - but this time of year, when spring is in the air, I can't help but remember that feeling of freedom. I suppose it was a bit of a horse substitute for me at the time.
As a side note years later my Dad got his own motorcycle(s) (Harleys) and even my Mom got her motorcycle licence and her own bike! Both of my brothers also became riders.