One look was all it took. I set eyes upon an ’08 blue KLR and I knew that it had to be mine. It didn’t matter that it was tall and I didn’t know how to shift or ride dirt, I had visions of adventure dancing in my head! A thirst that must be quenched! I imagined myself jumping on and riding off into the sunset.
Pssh, I thought, it can’t be -that- different than a scooter!
Actually yes, yes it can.
My fantasies (delusions?) were dashed on the test ride. I stopped on a slight slope with my toe dangling just above the ground. My fashionably impractical scootering boots slid slowly out on the tiny gravel bits as the bike leaned further and further and got heavier and heavier until it plopped almost slow motion onto its side on the pavement. Dammit! It’s not even mine yet and I already dumped it. Apparently I wasn’t a dual sporting prodigy with an inborn knowledge of how to do this.
Like most things in life worth doing, this was going to take practice. Practice and many more embarrasing episodes of motorcycle narcolepsy.
The bike’s current owner seemed unaffected by the added scratches, but solidified in his opinion that I was insane. Probably because I got back on and did a couple laps to recoup some confidence. I was determined to ride this bike, whatever it took.
My first ride on the KLR
I returned a couple days later to put down a deposit. He was about to eat dinner and suggested I take the bike for a spin until he was done and then we could settle up paperwork. I was understandably nervous after the last episode, but excitement won out and I took him up on it.
I made it down a few side streets before coming to a stop sign. I stalled getting going again and the bike lurched forward hard. I felt as though I’d been thrown by a bull and the beast fell down beside me. Crap!
(At this point I will plead with other newbie readers to please take an MSF class. I really had no business trying to ride around like that without instruction. Learning the hard way is…hard. So is pavement.)
Unable to bear the shame of calling for help, I mustered all the strength within me to heft the mighty beast upright again. I put it on the kickstand and rested for a while. “You’re a heavy beast.” I panted as I slumped over the seat, completely drained of energy. I decided then that Beast would be his name. I managed to get back on and putt back without stalling again.
We settled up the paperwork and Beast was mine! Now I just had to…learn to ride it…