I just read that sales of scooters in the US have gone up 18% since last year. The smaller models get up to 70 or 80 mpg. I have been eyeing a cute little one at the Honda shop next to my favorite place for joe. But I'm afraid my riding days are over for now. I wasn't much of a rider anyway, I guess. This is the segue for my second most embarrassing moment (1st being the undergarments on the lawn).
My good friend SS had planned a ride for anyone even remotely connected to the high school--parents, grandparents, staff, the guy who works the lights in the auditorium--basically anyone who lives in Small Town, because in small towns, everyone can connect themselves to the high school if they try hard enough. I had been riding my Honda Silver Wing for about a year and had spent a solid week practicing leaning into the curves, and since I had two kids in the school, and since I pay property taxes, I joined up.
It was a very cold October Sunday morning--40 degrees with wind gusts up to 20 mph--so quite a few people backed out, including Husband. I arrived very late because I had to go to church, and then I had to race home and put on three layers of long underwear. The group of about 18 had already pulled out, and I passed them on the street, so I had to turn around, make them stop, and take my place in line. I was placed third from the front because that's where the beginners go. That way, you can keep an eye on them, and they can't kill anybody. My big entrance was a little embarrassing--my being on a cherry red scooter and everyone else being on rough and tumble Harleys or Yamahas--but I was determined. Sneer all you want but move over, I'm ridin'!
So, we rode two hours in the unbearable cold and wind, and my fingers were frozen solid into a handlebar shape. We finally stopped at a parking lot for a butt rest and hand warming rest--I followed my leaders, SS and my friend JW, as they parked. I had gotten a lecture earlier about how I needed to learn how to back in, so I decided to give it a try. What I didn't know is that you don't back in when the pavement has a incline, and as I was turning my front-heavy "bike" going at a crawl, I tipped. Honda Silver Wings weigh 487 pounds, which I knew, and which I knew I couldn't catch at the slight angle, so I thought in that split second that my only hope was to drop it and hop off. That would have been bad enough, but I didn't hop far enough, and the side caught the heel of my boot and threw me down with it. My head hit the pavement, and my ankle was caught under the seat.
I could not get up fast enough. I could not be invisible enough with the already skeptical "real bikers" looking at me and gasping. I couldn't tell if the joint gasp was out of concern or to mask a kind of corporate chuckle--like when you see someone fall in public, you hope they're OK but you're also privately amused.
Anyway, SS ran to my rescue, even though I didn't need rescuing, and helped me set the bike back up. I shook off the twinge in my ankle and made the biggest joke out of the whole thing. I probably laughed too loud and probably laughed for too long, but good God. With eighteen people in black leather and goggles and furrowed brows, what choice did I have but to be the clown.
I finished the ride with dignity, but there are still a few people in Small Town who giggle every time they remember that cold Sunday afternoon.