Five years ago today I purchased my first bike, a 2005 Derbi Atlantis 50cc two-stroke scooter. I bought it from a so-called “scooter dealership” (read: glorified clothing store with a service garage). They sold me a helmet that was far too big, and couldn’t have be bothered to show me the controls to my new scooter after they handed me the key. That is to say, five years ago today is the day of my first two wheeled accident, about 10 feet down the alleyway from the first place I ever fired up a bike.
We’ve all been down this same, long road of learning. This short story looks back on how quickly motorcycling can become a way of life.
Pushing the limits is fun. You get knocked down. You jump up quickly. You make sure the cager behind you isn’t about to mow you down. You pick up your bike. You keep on riding. I’ve been fortunate that in all of my accidents I’ve never hurt anyone, or needed more than just the kiss of a loving woman to heal me right up. I’ve always lived to ride another day.
The first rides are always the most interesting. The nervousness, deathgrip, and paranoia create a heightened sense of alertness that you’ll carry with you for endless rides ever after. The first ride with a passenger, who thinks the world of you and your stinky little scooter, leaves you smiling at its memory for years to come. Even then you were breaking the law, defiantly saying to hell with your temporary license permit rules and taking your sweetheart out for a rip, at a full throttle top speed of 80 km/hr or 50 mph.
My parents forbid me to buy a motorcycle. When they left the country for a few weeks they came back home and found a scooter in their driveway. When I would go out, my mother would yell “Adrian, don’t take that scooter! You’ll die! Take the bus!” Seven months later a truck pulled up and shortly thereafter my parents found a real motorcycle parked in the driveway. My mother would yell “Adrian, don’t take that motorcycle! You’ll die! Take the scooter!” Suddenly the scooter was safe.
I was 19 years old. I started making payments for that little scooter at 18. Over the past 5 years I’ve owned 9 bikes. I’ve traveled tens of thousands of kilometers every year across the country. Working hard allowed me to buy my first Harley Davidson at 21 years old. I moved out, graduated from university, and made a career for myself in the motorcycle industry at 22. My motorcycle career allowed me to purchase a condominium in the city of Toronto, Canada, at 23.
Today at 24 years old, I realize that while as riders we each share so many resemblances, so many of the same trials and so many of the same laughs, our paths our entirely our own. We may wave as we pass by. We may help each other on the side of the road. Our hearts may all skip a beat when we first hear the sound of our engine after a long winter. Nonetheless, not every teenager dreaming of a motorcycle will grow up to be like me, and not everyone who’s grown up to be me will become the next Burt Munro or Erik Buell… but I’m fine with that.
To Ashley and Rockie, I miss you both terribly. To my friends who helped make this happen, I’m paying it forward!
To everyone who told me I would die on a bike five years ago. You might be right, but for now, while I’m still here, I’d like to ask you to please bend up, pucker up and kiss my bony ass!
Doing it better than ever,
(the one and only YouMotorcycle.com)