Friday, September 21, 2007

Scooter guy joins a biker pack: Part I

Last night’s first session of the Team Oregon motorcycle basics course was all in a classroom at PCC Sylvania. Book learning, or to be more exact, course manual learning.

The instructor was a slight young woman with the unlikely given name of “Kentucky.” She was an odd mix of caution and whimsy. “You like your brain? Remember to fasten your helmet,” she said with an earnest smile.

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 the class throws their collective legs over the bikes. I’m not sure the world is ready this. Some of us are utter newbies to motorcycles. Kentucky warned that some folks simply freak with a bike between their legs.

Based on what we have learned so far, I’m convinced that riding a motor scooter (that’s what I ride) is to driving a motorcycle as flying a kite is to flying a 747.

In a way this course (three classroom sessions and two rubber-meets-the-parking-lot classes) seems like overkill as I have no intention of riding a hog or sow or whatever.

Some of my classmates, however, are raring to go. We have a 16-year-old who can take apart a two-stroke engine blindfolded. He wants his license cycle endorsement big time and bad — like yesterday! We have a grandmother who craves adrenalin highs. There is a squad of beefy guys who are simply out to connect with a missing part of their personas.

It should be a wild morning on the PCC Sylvania upper lot.

My take-away from last night’s class is that a biker can’t be too well protected. I never realized the kinds of body armor these road warriors encase themselves in. Gloves worthy of a medieval joust. A helmet that puts another skull plus padding around the brain. Boots to keep blazing-hot exhaust pipes from charbroiling ankles. Ear plugs to ward of the engine's incessant rumbling growl.

I mean these people are encased. Are they having fun?

Are you kidding? They can’t wait.

And all I want to do is scoot from ‘hood to ‘hood on my faux Vespa.

I’m off to study my Basic Rider Training Guide, a manual designed to prepare me to mount in the morning — and fire up!

As my Quakers friends say, hold me in the Light!

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