So, I've spent the last two days riding in circles (and weaves, and s-curves, and over 2x4s) around a parking lot. On a very badly abused motorcycle. I dropped the 300-lb Kawasaki Eliminator on my foot. Twice, in fact. I stalled the bike out at least three hundred MILLION times, and I don't even know how. And yet, I'm currently in possession of a card that will allow me to walk into the NC DMV, take a ridiculous written test, pay $10, and then have a Class M endorsement on my license.
And then I can legally ride a motorcycle on the streets of North Carolina.
Hey, I didn't say I'd ride it well.
Nah, I did okay. I mean, I passed, after all. And my instructor commented that I came a long way (I can only imagine what I looked like yesterday!). Of course, he told me this during the talk when he said specifically to me, "You need to get a bike. You need to start riding. You need the practice."
I didn't love it the way I'd expected to. I think that I will, actually, but he's not wrong that I need practice. I went in thinking, "How hard can this be?" and left thinking "Holy shit, that's hard work!" I expected to be a natural. Why, I don't know, because it's not like I'm a natural at walking or anything requiring balance. But I expected handling the bike to be a lot easier. I'm wicked sore today - in my back, my thighs...oh, yeah, and my foot.
Right? Because my feet weren't messed up enough.
So I was trying to come to a stop yesterday and I think I had the handlebars turned when I hit the front brake. And I dropped the bike. It just got away from me. Unfortunately, I didn't quite get away from it. The engine (read: the heavy part) fell on my foot, and of course the first thing I thought was Shit. I just broke my foot, didn't I? But I pulled it out and put some weight on it and it hurt, but it was stable.
So what did I do with my potentially broken foot? I got back up on the bike.
Okay, and I cried a little bit.
But I got back in line and I stuck it out for the next five hours. I went out to dinner with Jen and Bill for moral support ("I'm the worst rider ever!" "Uh, no, let me tell you some stories..."). I came home and took some ibuprofen. And I woke up at 4:30 am (thanks, Daylight Savings Time) with a very sore foot.
So I made the time calculations around 5, and figured I could probably make it through the ER in time to get to class if the dumb thing wasn't fractured. So I packed up my gear and went to have the foot looked at. It went a little something like this:
Front desk nurse: How can I help you?
Me: I think I might have broken my foot.
Me: I dropped a motorcycle on it.
FDN: What part?
Me: Well, the pain's in the lateral -
FDN: No, I mean, what part of the motorcycle?
So it turns out both he and the resident who treated me rode. I had an x-ray and a very nice chat with the doc about what sort of protective gear I should get. Which started with "You need to get you some damn boots."
He warned me to be careful out there and offered me some painkillers I didn't take. And then I got in my car and headed towards the community college, all the while arguing in my head about whether or not I should go to class. But my foot hurt! But it wasn't broken. Was I using that as an excuse to not go back? I could've quit. Easily. I almost did. I mean, I'd already decided to take the class again in the spring. So why bother?
But my stubbornness prevailed. I got coffee and more motrin and I sucked it up. Although I dropped the bike again, doing pretty much the same thing. I thought about leaving then. I thought about leaving several times after that. After all, I had such a great excuse...
But I stayed.
And I'm glad I did.
By the end of the day, it was a lot more enjoyable. I felt a lot more comfortable, even on my crappy bike. The anxiety abated a bit. Things started making more sense. Leaning into the curve was actually a lot of fun.
And so, we'll see. I'm going to look at bikes soon. I'm going to think about what I want and what I can handle skillfully, emotionally and fiscally. And either way I've got the M on my license. Go me!