Realizing a dream

When I was 19, I had a dream to ride across the country on a motorcycle with my girlfriend at the time. The girlfriend betrayed me but the dream stayed loyal, and now, 33 years later, I’m doing it.

What took me so long, you ask? Well, when many of my high school friends were getting bikes, I was saving my shekels to put myself through university. Once I finished grad school, I became a father, and there was another whole set of concerns—getting a job, starting a career, paying the mortgage, not orphaning my child—so buying a motorbike seemed like a crazy idea. But always I’d feel a little twinge of envy when I saw someone on a bike, especially if that person was around my age.

Now my son is 22 and is on his own, and things aren’t quite as financially tight as they once were, or so it seems (my wife would differ). Last spring I was texting with my cousin in England who rides a bike. It was a sunny Saturday morning, and I was sitting on my front porch drinking my morning café au lait. The conversation went something like this:

Cousin: “Rode through the New Forest this weekend to my folks. Here’s a photo of your dad’s 350 Matchless.”

Me: “I’ve always wanted to ride a bike. It’s in my blood.”

Cousin: “You should. Why don’t you?”

Me: “Hmm . . . ”

I got a referral to a good local motorcycle school and went to their website. You could sign up for a course online. Again, I was sitting on my front porch (I spend a lot of time there in the summer). My wife was inside watching TV. A pop-up menu showed June 15 as the starting date of the next course. And before my mind could stop my gut from doing what it wanted to do, I’d registered and committed to realizing this dream.

Little did I know the dream would take on a life of its own.

That was last summer. Since then, I’ve bought a bike, done the course, and obtained my Learner’s Permit (in that order). This summer I’m riding with a club. The date for my road test is set for August 11. (The rules governing obtaining a licence here in Quebec, Canada, are complex and will be a topic of a later post.) The Bike (as I’m sure my wife thinks of it) has quickly become a passion for me. When I can’t be riding, I spend hours online in forums reading about the particularities of my bike, researching affordable upgrades, watching helmet-cam vlogs, reading books about biking, skills development, maintenance, studying my Haynes repair manual, and working on the bike.

This blog will in part trace my planning, preparation and eventual ride across Canada and perhaps beyond, but it’s going to be much more. I want to make it relevant to all bikers and perhaps even non-bikers by sharing some of what I’m learning. The underlying premise is if a newbie can learn from an experienced rider, can an experienced rider learn something from a newbie? I hope so. You tell me. Please comment and let’s make this a dialogue, and exchange of knowledge.

This blog will change in appearance as it evolves. For now, I’m starting with the default formatting until I get more familiar with wordpress. I’ll update the banner image once I find or create a better one. For now, it actually looks quite similar to the beautiful orchards I was riding through last weekend in the Eastern Townships here in Quebec, except the apple trees were in full bloom.

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