My love of motorcycling, I’m sure, followed a very typical path…I met a boy. His name was Norman and he was the middle son of an avid motorcyclist.
Norman rode like he was born on a motorcycle. He’d pick me up every morning for the 30 mile trip in to school. He brought a beat up old, ill fitting helmet for me and I dressed the best I could for the cool morning rides. I was lucky to be shielded by him as some of those mornings were damp and chilly. But there was no going back to an hour long bus ride.
His dual sport had no passenger foot pegs, so I had to stretch my legs forward to his pegs while he rested his feet on top of mine. We rode everywhere. Once, when stopping at the tiny local post office, both wearing red sateen jackets (school colors), a little lady noted happily what a perfect couple we were. I beamed with delight, embracing my new identity as Norm’s girl and a biker to boot. Life was great.
I remember making all the usual passenger mistakes….looking over the wrong shoulder at the most inopportune time in a corner, leaning the OTHER way because surely we’re gonna fall if I don’t, and generally just moving around constantly to get a view of the road ahead. With patience and love Norm taught me how to ride behind and to trust him. Like I said, the boy KNEW how to ride.
One day he came over to my house, I hopped on his motorcycle and we rode back to the creek on the backside of the property. I thought the ride would end when the rode did and we’d climb on up into the tree house… I was wrong. He barely slowed down as we jumped off the bank onto a boulder on the other side of Deer Creek, balancing on the back tire as he bunny hopped from one boulder to the next.
I was in awe…and barely holding on. It wasn’t until years later that I saw a trials event but that was exactly how Norm was riding that machine. Hopping from one point to the other…double up. That was the most amazing passenger experience I’ve ever had…even after 30+ years.