“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” Gabriel García Márquez
Motorcycles are a big part of my family stories. My dad rode a motorcycle when he and my mom dated. My first boyfriend bought a motorcycle when he turned eighteen. My husband rode a motorcycle when he and I met. My brother used to drop me off at school on the back of his motorcycle and both of my sisters rode mopeds before they ever got cars. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a license but rather, I was always busy with something else that taking rides on the back seemed just fine. Despite the fact that I’ve consistently put “getting a motorcycle license” on every list of things-to-do-before-I-die, it wasn’t until the very last days of 2016 that I finally got around to it.
My Motorcycle School
My daughter, who is almost twenty, expressed a desire in getting a cafe racer. I know a motorcycle is dangerous but I thought it would be hypocritical of me to try to talk her out of it so instead, I decided that if she was really going to do this, that she should learn from a professional and not some friend in an empty parking lot. So for Christmas, one of her gifts was a motorcycle safety course endorsed by the California Highway Patrol. I figured I’d tag along.
For a couple of days, we sat in a trailer equipped for ten students and watched presentations on the screen as we reviewed traffic rules, motorcycle gear, and best practices on the road. The course was taught by two veteran motorcyclists who, when out on the road, made every maneuver look easy. After reviewing the textbook portion for a few hours, the students were allowed to practice simple movements on the paved lot adjacent to our makeshift classroom. The bikes were all 250-300cc Hondas and Yamahas. I chose a white, 250cc Honda Rebel. My daughter was on a black 250cc Yamaha.
We began with simple starting and stopping and soon followed it with short, slow distances so we could gain trust in ourselves and our bikes. Cones marked our route as we learned to swerve, turn sharply, turn wide, enter traffic, stop, start, and change gears. After two days of intensive learning both on and off the motorcycle, we were tested. We both passed!
Fast forward several weeks and my paperwork was submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles, as instructed. I took the online test and am happy to report I only missed one question on the entire test. A few days after my 45th birthday, my motorcycle license arrived in the mail. Oh, and my daughter? She decided motorcycles were too dangerous and has decided to postpone her license.