Friday, April 23, 2010
Look, Press, Lean, Roll!
I didn't think it would happen yesterday, though. Not when I'm a mere week away from celebrating (celebrating?) my half-century of existence. I was at a red light at the corner of Brittain Road and East Avenue. So was the Hyundai full of girls next to me in the left-hand turn-lane. Staring. Pointing. Laughing. Ah, the memories. However, my spectacles were devoid of duct-tape. Even if I did rock some adhesive on my frames, they wouldn't have been able to be seen anyway because of my darkened face-shield. And any lingering cellulite would have been compressed nicely by my form-fitting motorcycle jacket. However, I wasn't on a motorcycle. I was on my little scooter. Admittedly, I would probably laugh at me, too, if I were sitting next to me waiting for the light to change.
It was a spectacular Fall weekend, sunny and warm. The class was held in a parking lot on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. The weekend was divided up into time spent "on the range" and in the classroom. I didn't have to bring the scooter because motorcycles were provided. On Saturday, we spent time completing a variety of exercises which taught us various techniques. Once we had completed several, we adjourned to the classroom to go over the prescribed handbook, watch safety videos, and discuss real-life obstacles and predicaments out there on the road. We did the same on Sunday, except the afternoon was reserved for testing. On the range. we had to successfully pass 4 exercises, where we were graded. After the skills testing, we headed for the classroom for the written test. I was the last person finished in the classroom. I guess I wanted to make sure that I hadn't blown a whole weekend by failing. Interestingly, everyone in the class passed! Receiving that completion card from the state of Illinois meant that I did not have to take the written or the skills test for my M-class license. I was stoked!
I've also learned that I want a bigger bike. Sure, they all say that after they've been riding for awhile. I don't know that I have a deep desire to do highway riding, since the Yumbo can travel on any road except the interstate. It would be nice, though, to be able to at least keep up with traffic. And I think I want to stay with a scooter, too. I prefer not having to deal with a clutch and shifting. I've been reading a good deal about the maxi-scooters, and I see one near me for sale. It's a Suzuki 400, which I think would be a perfect upgrade for a newbie like me. Bigger, sleeker, and a bit more reliable I think. And it helps that you can get parts for it, which is not the case for the Yumbo. The only thing that stands in the way is price.
So as I sat at that light waiting impatiently for it to turn green, I tried not to look over at the girls in the car. Sure, they were laughing now, but wait until I have the power of a Suzuki Burgman 400 underneath me. Until then, I'll continue to creep along on my little red bike with the funny name. Sure, it's too small for me. But the storage space underneath the seat will house a 6-pack perfectly, and I'll endure ridicule anytime for that.
Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net