Some might call it a mid-life crisis. We prefer to consider it an old dream just recently fulfilled.
For years Roy talked about wanting a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. For the uninitiated, it’s not a crotch rocket. It’s not a sport bike or even a cruiser. It’s a touring bike, or, in the words of a friend, “a couch on wheels.” Comfort is its name. With a backrest and comfy passenger seat, this is the motorcycle you’re most likely to see a middle-aged couple get off after they’ve been joyriding down the road or across America.
Ours is a 1986 model with 78,000 kilometres on it. That sounds like a lot until you learn a Gold Wing will keep going until about 260,000 kilometres. She’s also very heavy at 728 pounds. Putting her on her side is not something you want to do without ready help to right her again.
Because Roy didn’t have motorcycle experience, he registered for the Alberta Safety Council three-day beginner course. It was an intensive, steep learning curve culminating in the road test.
I observed most of the eight required manoeuvres that the examiner put the 13 students through. I didn’t know anyone but Roy in the group, yet I felt like a nervous mother. You know the feeling: watching your kid get the breakaway and going one-on-one with the goalie. Or having your kid at bat, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, score tied. Or perform at a piano recital.
I wanted so badly for each of the ?kids? to do well. Unfortunately, all three women were eliminated during the figure eight. The trick there was to do the course without touching a pylon or going so slowly that you instinctively stick out your leg to keep from falling over. Three attempts and you’re out.
Roy was dubbed Mr. Smooth by his fellow students. He could shift like a dream. And yes, he passed the road test. There are follow-up courses on group riding, slow driving (like on Whyte Avenue), and riding on metal bridge decks or over Texas gates. He’s since passed the written test, gotten insurance, and registered the bike. If it wasn’t for harvest he may even have gone the five miles to Andrew by now.
It will be some time before he’s confident enough to have a biker chick on the back! Shortly after buying the bike we went shopping for helmets. I was shocked at how heavy they feel. I felt like a bobble head. It’s really quite a foreign feeling. We didn’t want the claustrophobia of a full-face visor so we settled on the flip-up style. We looked at Joe Rocket body armour jackets.
It’s lucky we ran out of time before we got to the ass-less chaps or dew rags! And you’ll be relieved to know there are no immediate plans for tattoos.
We expect to do some serious riding next year, so look out world. Mid-life crisis, phooey–it’s living the dream, from where I sit.