Bent Words

Bent Words

April 24, 2008

They were all just sitting there, lined up side by side in a neat row, finally on the other side of the glass and basking in the sun on the first near-seventy degree day of the year. They appeared innocent at first, their once-distinct sounds forgotten after a long winter’s silence, but as you studied them further you couldn’t help noticing the glints of mischief, the pinches of persuasion, the winks of wonder peeking out from under months of accumulated dust.

Dirty reds, yellows, silvers, blues and blacks; some aggressively inviting and others laid back; waiting to pounce and waiting to roll; tired of resting idly on unmoving wheels; ready to be ridden.

And I was ready, too…

From its parked position, I pushed one backwards, turned the key, pulled in the clutch and thumbed the starter. With a resistant growl she came alive. I smiled. I could smell the old gas before I noticed it exiting through the exhaust but it wasn’t all that bad. She just needed the old ‘Charlie Rev Tune,’ a few hard turns of the throttle to loosen up the carbs. I looked around, waiting for someone to yell at me as though my intentions were written clearly across my face, to protest my lacking helmet, but I was already sitting on the bike.

The Honda XR650L is a tall motorcycle. Taller than I would have imagined. Taller than the DL1000 even. I stood on the tips of my toes, adjusted one mirror and tapped her into first gear. The boys pretended not to watch me from the window and I pretended not to care. I smiled and…

GO.

I whipped around the building, carefully maneuvering through the cars parked on the opposite side, stupidly realizing that I hadn’t checked the tire pressure, even more stupidly realizing that I still didn’t care – the bike was so light that I would have noticed any deficiency in pressure anyway. I shifted into second upon hitting the small straight away on the other side of the building and then kicked her into third. Nice.

Clicking down a gear for the next corner, a touch of gas without worrying about the clutch, I felt the confidence well within my chest and leaned over her a little farther than before. I rounded the same corner I had started from and the highly flickable XR650 seemed to maneuver itself this time through the cars waiting on the other side. I shoved her into neutral before coming to a complete stop in front of the service bays, smiling from ear to ear, and shouting to no one in particular, I exclaimed,

“I want one!”

I repeated this highly necessary task with a ZX-6R, a CBR600RR, a CBR1000RR, a Super Hawk and a GSX-R1000 – all aggressively positioned, highly qualified sport bikes – but none of them had anything on the XR650L. There was something so different about it (besides the obvious), about riding it, that I had not felt since… My last ride in the dirt!

I was ready.

On Monday, April 21st 2008, I purchased my sixth motorcycle, my first ever dual sport bike – not the XR650L since (oops) that was already purchased – but the highly commendable, versatile, light weight, liquid cooled, oh-so-much freakin’ fun Suzuki DRZ400SM.

My pocket book would disagree but my heart would do no such thing.

My sense of frugality would be justified with 65 MPG in gas.

My fear of falling (thus comprising my already compromised shoulders) would be overridden by my cocky technician who, when instructed to ‘scrub in the tires without crashing,’ wiped her out with .7 miles registering on the tach (thanks a lot, Andy).

My passion. My baby. My White Devil with the curled brake lever…

My bike.

(All Mine.)

Written at 10:29 p.m.