I see more, I feel more; therefore I am more alive while riding a motorcycle.
I have driven these roads hundreds of times since I was a kid but never have I experienced them this way. It is different on a motorcycle. I feel the road, see the imperfections; I notice the subtle changes in temperature, the smell of the fresh air, grass, even the water. When I arrive at work I remember the ride. I enjoyed the ride. I am not just another commuter mindlessly driving to work. I have driven a car since I was 16 and have always enjoyed driving, but as time goes by, it is more about the destination and not the journey. Now, every day is a new journey on a bike.
I have always enjoyed trying new things, I love camping, horseback riding, and I have tried white water rafting and rock climbing. I am envious of people with a bohemian lifestyle; I have always secretly dreamed of quitting my job and traveling. But my responsible side always had me at a Monday – Friday job my whole life. Eventually I got married and had a daughter. I am very happy with my life and after “mastering” motherhood I slowly started to realize I hadn’t tried anything new/different in a while and was looking for a new adventure, so I started to think of things to do that would fit into my life.
It isn’t a new story, but it is mine. Call it a midlife crisis if you like but at some point I realized that I had to stop thinking about what have could have been and just do it.
When I was a teenager I had wanted a dirt bike to go up and down the dirt roads at our summer camp on the Kingston Peninsula, but my parents wouldn’t allow it. I might fall and break my teeth. I think my mom used that excuse for everything. Then in my twenties my ex-boyfriend and I talked about getting Harleys and traveling (cool thing to do live like rock stars). But that relationship ended along with that dream. I couldn’t imagine getting a motorcycle by myself; I like to try things with people that have common interest and looking back at my life I would have to say that I am more of a follower then a leader. Maybe in order for me to realize my dream I was going to have to be brave and do this by myself.
(Just like writing this article, this is way out of my comfort zone. I keep putting it off and think that no one is going to want to read it. But I want to finish it, I know I can do it too.)
I started to wonder if it would it be like I had imagined. I don’t like the windows down in the car: it’s too windy, and it makes the music hard to hear. Would it be like that on a bike? It had been so long since I had been on a bike I had forgotten what it felt like. What about the cost? Aren’t motorcycles expensive? What about the insurance? There was a lot to figure out.
To get started I enrolled in a Motorcycle Safety Course as suggested by new and experienced riders. MSQ (Motorcycle Safety Quest) in Saint John, NB on Long Wharf, a 2 day course then on the 3rd day take the test, that simple. I signed up during my August vacation. I had to get some gear, but I didn’t want to invest too much money. I used an old pair of Dr. Martens boots, work gloves, jeans and a borrowed helmet. I found a used Joe Rocket textile jacket on Kijiji for only $50, a perfect fit! The course was great, there were only 4 of us and I was riding by lunch time, easier than I thought. I knew I was hooked.
The first thing out of anyone’s mouth when they heard I had gotten my license was “when you are getting a bike?” All I knew was I couldn’t get it now, summer was almost over and I didn’t have any money saved. I spoke with my husband who had many concerns about my riding; safety on the road and other drivers, time away from him and our daughter and the cost of a bike. I was planning on using the bike primarily for commuting to work, it is a 35km drive and I can take some nice back roads instead of the highway. I told him I was looking for something sporty around $2000. I had been scouring the internet and discovered that used motorcycles went from $500 and up.
I started saving and planned on getting a bike next year. Well, I almost made it. Dec 27th I found my bike: a great winter deal for $1500. I didn’t know anything about motorcycles, so I asked friend who knows bikes to come with me. He gave it thumbs up after letting it run for a while. He thought it might need the carburetor cleaned and new tires, but otherwise a good investment. It had a few scratches on the fairing, but I didn’t mind. I would feel better when I drop it myself. I was the proud owner of a 2006 Suzuki GS500F. I had done some research on the internet and it was recommended it as a good beginner bike.
A few days later my very first motorcycle was delivered to the house. I was so excited and proud, I couldn’t wait to show my daughter but I couldn’t even get it started. It was -10oC that day so I had to push it to the garage and impatiently wait for spring.
Written by Tracy Kilpatrick.