I always hated motorcycles. I detested them. They were loud. Their riders obnoxious. Their very premise and existence ridiculous. My husband wanted a bike. We argued. Then we argued some more. I cried and pleaded. He showed up on the bike and looked sexier than Edris Elba on his best day. I was intrigued.
A few weeks later he bought me a jacket and a helmet and insisted I backpack. I was terrified, but agreed. He did 25 mph in down town Newark and I thought death was imminent. It was about to rain and he said “Hold on baby, we gotta book it home.” Before I could even inhale, we were doing 85 up 78 east. Then 95. Then 100…I just closed my eyes and held on. I fell in the grass when we got home but it was the greatest rush of my life. The wind was everything I never knew it was. I wondered what would happen if I got my own. But I didn’t dare.
A couple of weeks later I asked him to go out again. He not so gently told me he was tired of riding me. The novelty had worn off. I quietly put my little helmet and jacket away. Got on the computer and signed up the for a class to get my license.
Fast forward 2 years – past a surprise pregnancy and past saving, then spending, my bike money. I finally have my own. Its an old, tubby, 500lb piece of rickety shit…and I love her. But I feared her more than anything. Eventually, with the help of some dedicated sisters and friends, I learned to ride her. First 9 blocks then 9 miles, up to 90 to 900 miles.
When I ride, I’m free. Free of the burden and responsibilities and the pressure of being what people need and expect me to be. When I ride I’m nothing and no one. And there’s freedom in that. I ride because it feeds every whim and untapped desire. Every time I throw a leg over I pen a new adventure. I may be in OH or MD, but in my mind I’m in the English countryside. Or in Calcutta, or Kenya. I’m everywhere I dream of going but never got the chance.
I ride because I pushed past my fear and turned my hatred into a love story. I ride because I earned it.