In Part 1, I wrote about my very first riding (and crashing) experience when I was 11. I didn’t ride another motorcycle until I was 16 as a consequence.
Here’s experience number two from my history of ‘beginner crash and burns’.
PART 2 – OUTTA MY WAY, WALL!
It was 1990, I working at a bar and getting paid chump change in exchange for my efforts.
It was 3am after work, and six of us hung around the parking lot to smoke and engage in some banter before heading home.
One of our pals Chris told us he wanted to buy a motorcycle, and as if to answer him, there was a spanking new Honda C70 right in front of him (it belonged to our friend Jimmy, but the timing was impeccable). So right there and then, he decided to learn to ride. Chris got off to an admirable start and completed three slow (and wide) circles, so feeling somewhat secure, we took our eyes off him and continued with our dawn discussions.
All of a sudden, the bike’s horn went off and completely startled us. We turned around to see Chris going at 10 mph, feet scraping the ground like The Flintstones, and finally, the horn blaring non-stop at the wall in front of him.
When the front wheel tapped the wall (it wasn’t a high speed collision, thankfully), Chris and the bike toppled over in slow motion like a chopped Christmas tree, the bike ending up on top of his leg.
The horn had finally stopped.
A good 30 metres away from the scene, the five of us stood dumbfounded. Then we just kneeled over with laughter, giving meaning to “ROFL” before it was invented in cyberspace.
We eventually ran over to help. Jimmy was the most distraught as he surveyed his bike and yelled, “Why the hell didn’t you stop?!”
Chris answered in full innocence, “I DID try to stop but bike just kept honking!”
This scene is a good example of jumping the gun when it comes to first time riding — just that my buddy Chris was lucky that a wall had somewhat broken his fall. Things could have been much, much worse for him (and the C70). It’s really important for people itching to get on a bike to remember that it really is not like riding a bicycle for the first time.
A lot of things need to be considered and should be at the advice of a professional rider — not a bunch of mates hanging out after hours in a carpark.