impeccable timing

On Saturday afternoon, I found myself hunched over in a parking lot halfway up a mountain, trying desperately to get the hang of shifting gears via the manual transmission of a sports bike, with snow flying directly into my eyes and thoroughly wet pants. It was .. uncomfortable. I was cold, sore, soaked through, tired, and sucking really hard at riding a motorcycle: basically, miserably.

Yes, only I would have the extreme good fortune to have a riding class scheduled amidst Vancouver’s first major* snowstorm of the year; one that started Friday night and as of this writing (Monday afternoon) has not yet let up. I arrived to class as prepared as I could be, but I don’t own snow gear (because I tend not to go outside when it’s snowing) or even rain gear (because I am dumb) so I was in for a rough day from the very start. To make matters worse, I was loaned a pair of rain pants which I promptly caused to split up the rear because they were the third pair of pants I was wearing, and the universe imploded around my ass. Here’s a helpful tip from me to you: learning how to ride a motorcycle when you’re fantastically uncomfortable and feeling pretty humiliated about torn pants is VERY DIFFICULT. So, don’t do it.

The very best part about all of this is that I should have actually finished the riding course two weeks ago. Due to a scheduling conflict, I had to move my February 6th start date out to the 20th. At the time I was really glad for this, because the temperature had dropped and the weekend was forecasted to be frosty. I figured that I could skip the “high of 0” days, and learn later in February when it would obviously be warmer, possibly even spring-like as it has been in the past! And while it was very cold* over that weekend, it was also clear and beautiful out – and I have plenty of warm gear, so I would have been fine. This past weekend, in the snow and slush and wet and frozen? Not so much.

I was in no way looking forward to class on Sunday, so I was secretly glad to see the snow continue to fall throughout the night. The following morning I stirred myself from the warm cocoon of cats and blankets to text the instructor, and Sunday’s class was indeed postponed: I was off the hook, and could nurse my aching muscles (motorcycles have clutches, and those clutches are STIFF AS FUCK) as well as spend the entire gloriously terrible Sunday doing absolutely nothing.

My remaining three classes have been moved to March 9-12. In the meantime, I can practice shifting on Ed’s bike (interesting fact: I thought I would want to ride nothing but cruisers because I like how they look. Then I actually tried riding one, and I hated it very very much. Sports bikes, which I dismissed entirely because eww, were very comfortable. If I ever decide I need to get a motorcycle, I may have to look at dumb sport bikes.) and prepare for the skills test that will happen on the Sunday. My goal is to pass it with very low speed flying colours that go through a bunch of stupid plastic cones, because I have a Master Plan that revolves around my having my full Class 6 license before my June so I should hurry up and get on with it, already.

I’m working from home today, which means I haven’t left the house since Saturday at 5pm. Tomorrow I have to venture out into the stupid wet cold real world. I am not looking forward to it.

*: by Vancouver measures, “major” is less than 3″ of snow and “very cold” is -2C. We’re delicate folk who had the good sense to move to the coast to get away from REAL winter, because fuck that shit.

I am learning to motorcycle! Soon I will be legal!

this is not good riding weather.

One thought on “impeccable timing

  1. Pants caused me problems when I did my lessons too! My rain pants got snagged on my footpeg when we were doing our second road ride, and like an idiot I looked down at them and bailed in the middle of a 4-way stop. I was trapped under my bike until my instructor came to pick it up off of me. It’s a good story to tell my students who get nervous about going on the road: as long as your pants don’t cause you to fall down you’ll be just fine.

    The Ninja 250/300 and CBR 250s don’t have regular sportbike ergonomics. They’re a lot less cramped and a lot more upright than the supersport bikes. My first bike was a Ninja 250 (that I was entirely too tall for and looked a bit like a circus monkey riding but I loved it and kept it for almost 3 years) and I was comfortable on it. The non “super” sport bikes have a nicer, more upright feel – that’s what my second bike was until some fuckers stole it last summer. Or there’s the mid point between sports and cruiser: standard (which is what I ride now). There’s even a bunch of automatic motorcycles.

    Okay – my motorcycle enthusiasm/geekiness is getting out of hand again…

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