Updated: Mar 7, 2021
The Long Road to Being a Motorcyclist
My love of motorcycles is undeniable. My lack of riding became a discussion because of my love of racing, of my determination to be part of this community and my personal enjoyment of riding (in circles in a parking lot).
I have a bike that I never ride. We named him Purple Burt, because he and Burt Reynolds both typify everything great about the 1970s. It’s a 1973 Yamaha DT100 and it’s mostly original. I’m easily frustrated with it because it always has something to be tinkered with, we have to transport it to a parking lot for me to safely ride it, and ultimately, I’m just having a hard time learning to ride on it. It’s a noisy two-stroke, and I can barely hear The Kid telling me I need to change gears over the racket. I have a difficult time shifting. I start off in first, but due to its low gear settings I need to get it in second right away, which is problematic considering I don’t know how to shift while turning. (Imagine making a right turn from a stop sign.) My lack of natural instincts and general abilities kept me in park until now.
The discussions between my motorcycling comrades left them thinking maybe I need my own bike. A new one that’s a little less quirky.
I received a barrage of bike photos and information from Fuego and The Kid, and we made stops at local motorcycle shops with The Professor and Jerry. But their expertise and recommendations weren’t taking my needs into consideration. My motorcycle must have both on and off-road capabilities. My true desire is to ride it to the mountains, where I’ll ride trails with my dad’s 71-year-old navy buddy, forcing him to slow down for me.
The problem is dual-sports and adventure bikes are very big and pretty expensive. I don’t want to be the new gal riding a bike where she can’t touch the ground, much less dropping a bike she can barely afford. Besides, a disappointing visit to a KTM dealership had the salesman upselling me on the smaller BMW and telling me that the price-point left him unable to spend much time making a sale.
The solution is the new 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan coming to America Spring of 2018 (insert sarcastic punctuation here.)
But sincerely, one glance at this beautiful motorcycle and I was smitten. And after reading the reviews I was absolutely in love with a bike I’ve never touched.
Immediately upon discovery, I began texting anyone that might care that I’d found my perfect bike. When The Kid doesn’t respond, I dedicate all of my time to watching Himalayan videos, reading more reviews and blowing up Fuego’s phone with all of it. Unbeknownst to me, The Kid is also sending texts to Fuego, only they’re his legitimate concerns about the bike. How did she even find this unknown motorcycle? Do we know anything about maintaining it? Should we worry about buying a first-year model? It’s a full-size bike!
No matter, I have every possible advantage in this pursuit. Fuego encourages everything motorcycle, so he’s already on my side. The hubby? He can be talked into anything motorcycle, as his dream is to fill the garage with two-wheeled treasures.
My passion for this bike was fueled by the reviews I’ve read (namely motorcycle.com article by John Burns and of course, the epic Himalayan videos created by Royal Enfield) that demonstrate the many advantages it could provide for a new rider like myself. I have infinite negotiating points to convince The Kid that the Royal Enfield Himalayan is the ideal bike for me:
Accelerates slowly- then I won’t grab too much throttle.
Low top speed- hopefully I can get up to 45MPH where it’s most happy, and you can ride along-side on Purple Burt.
Seat height- at 31.5 inches, I have the perfect inseam.
Two-seater- we can ride together to a safe place for me to practice.
Off-road capabilities- I really just want to ride through some puddles and over some trails. If I’m too slow for the street, we can still do that.
Mounts for panniers- it can hold my whole handbag instead of emptying its contents and forgetting my wallet or chapstick the next day.
Roto Pack- cool. Need I say more?
$4,600 dollars- If I scare myself and never want to ride again, we can always sell it, or you’ll have a bike with different capabilities than your street bike.
SOLD. Deposit placed mid-March by my lovely husband, The Kid.
It’s been four months and my bike hasn’t arrived. California’s CARB is evaluating the Himalayan’s new fuel injection system, despite the other 49 states accepting it and other Enfield owners enjoying their new rides.
I’ve practiced here and there on the DT and even rode it on the street once. I’ve also prepared for the Himalayan by riding Fuego’s Honda CR150, which is more the size I’ll be riding, but without turn signals and mirrors.
The anticipation hasn’t deterred my ambition, although it has delayed my progress. The long summer days would be useful for learning and they feel a bit longer while I await the homecoming of my bike. I dream of someday packing up those panniers and take it camping. Perhaps I could take a detour off-road, leaving my friends with sport bikes enviously behind.
I haven’t entirely lost hope yet, and I haven’t been talked into buying a Grom.
It’s not a bike I’m after; it’s my Himalayan. We will learn to ride together and I will understand its needs and trust my own intuition. I’ve named her after the Roman goddess Luna, the protectress of travelers, who is always depicted riding her chariot.
Perhaps it’s dramatic to name a bike you’ve never met, but that’s what falling in love with a motorcycle does to a woman.