I have told the story in a previous post. The story of how my teenage dreams of riding a sport bike were cut down in their infancy by somebody tipping my father off to the fact that I was doing parking lot drills with my boyfriend on his Kawasaki GPZ900R. I hated living in that town growing up. Well, once I hit the proper age where gossip interferes with one’s social life and the teenage shenanigans. Everybody knew everything about everybody else. But what can you do? Population: 360 and as boring as watching paint peel off the walls. And we had two information hubs, too. One lady to cover each side of the train tracks… well, each side of the brook that divided the town. We really didn’t have a “bad side”, the people in the “Vorderdorf” just thought they were better than us folks from the “Hinterdorf”. Whatever!
Word, then, had gotten around that I was trying to get my motorcycle license. I even started to take the motorcycle classes and written tests in the “Fahrschule”. Mind you, in Germany licensing procedures are tough and extremely expensive. And for motorcycles it’s a graduated system. You can’t just get your license and park your butt on your boyfriend’s 900cc monster. You have to work your way up to that in increments over years. The indignity! It’s really more akin to acquiring a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) than having your parents teach you to drive and then you take a trip to the tag office in your parents’ car and they make you do the block around the courthouse and have you parallel park between two cones that are far enough apart to put a semi-tractor/trailer rig in. Please! You’re kidding me, right?!? I didn’t even have to back in, I could have just pulled that joker in there, but I didn’t; I wanted to show off my Teutonic excellence of getting into a hole fifteen centimeters shorter than the car and without having to do even one single pull up. I was so astonished at how simple it was for me to get my drivers license (yet again) in the US. I couldn’t believe it! Damn, did we get screwed in the homeland!
Anyway, the end result of Radio Free Hometown was that Papa found out, not like he wouldn’t have anyway when the school sent him the bill. Yeah, teenage naïveté, a classic textbook case. He confronted me with the evidence and told me, in no uncertain terms and with a raised voice, that he’d rather kill me himself than let me go through with this. What the hell?!? He rode motorcycles when he was young. He commuted to work on one for years. I knew he hated me riding on the back of my boyfriend’s bike, but I thought that was just because he knew the kid couldn’t freaking drive like a sane person if he tried. Hell, the jerk had a four-point restraining system for a seatbelt. Did the passenger rate one of those? Hell no! I had to use conventional means to hang the fuck on! I had nightmares about his driving and the inevitable frontal collision that took my life before the ripe old age of 24 (his age at the time when we were dating, I was 17.)
Meanwhile, 18 years later. Another time, another place…
I buy a bike, I learn to ride. I don’t tell Papa a thing. I call it the “vehicle” (das Fahrzeug). I never tell him it’s lacking in contact patches by 50% and that it is impossible for me to ever lock my keys in. He never asks what I got, I don’t tell. He assumes it’s a car, I do not correct him. When we send him family pictures, they go through an additional censorship process to verify all the photos are devoid of motorcycles and motorcycle gear. This goes on for over a year and a half. Until I go to racing school. The itch to tell him came sooner, because I wanted to share with my father something that was really important to me, and an integral part of my life. I had accomplished so much. I wanted my father to be proud of me. Finally his daughter, who gets bored with stuff easily and hence “never finishes anything,” has found something that actually keeps her interest and keeps challenging her enough to stick with it.
Over the months I’ve been riding I have occasionally poked around during our weekly telephone conversations as to his current attitude about motorcycles and — God forbid – his daughter riding one… stuck my toe in; no, the water’s not fine. I’m not jumping in. I found out during one of these fishing expeditions that my cousin had wrecked her Beemer and she had been in the hospital for quite some time, waiting for her bones to fuse back together and her lacerations to heal. Her husband had also wrecked his bike before, too. From the description Papa gave me, it sounded like they both are avid long-distance riders. Eventually, I told him that my husband had bought one. I swallowed hard and my heart was racing as I waited for his answer. Then he just flatly said: “Der ist doch bekloppt!” basically calling Mr. Slow crazy. Yeah, so much for that. If that’s what the son-in-law gets, I don’t even want to know what happens if he finds out that his only daughter is riding. And that she has a racing license. Yeah, forget that. Bury it!!!
I came out to him by necessity of circumstance. I didn’t want to, but I had to. So I just told him that I have a motorcycle and was riding it to work daily, but not how long that indecency had been going on. I was so worried he would plop his ass on a plane, fly over here, and take care of his daughter’s business for she is obviously out of her mind. Instead, he paused, then said:
“Mädchen, sei vorsichtig. Die Arschlöcher können nicht fahren!”
(“Girl, be careful. These assholes don’t know how to drive!”)
And that is how I came out to my dad as a biker chick.
The above photo’s source image was downloaded from wikimedia.org and is labeled as public domain, licensed for reuse. I have modified it and cropped it slightly. If this is a copyrighted image, please contact me, so I can take the proper action.
This is Topic #3 for the Post A Day 2011 Challenge. The Daily Post asked:
What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?
I had to think about this, since there are a few things that I’ve done in 2010 that I’m rather proud of, astonished by or surprised with. It has indeed been The Year of the Fast. Fast, as in velocity, not self-induced famine. In retrospect 2010 came and went in a hurry. I experienced a lot of motorcycling firsts and came to learn a thing or two about myself.
I would have to say that my best accomplishment of 2010 is graduating the Kevin Schwantz School at Barber Motorsports Park as “Runner Up Most Improved Rider”. I was the only woman in attendance. I was nervous as hell, I had never ridden a 600, nor had I never been to a track.
I did best (and was at my fastest) when the instructor let me take the lead and I could run a lap at my own pace without having to worry running my nose up somebody’s tailpipe. Passing was not allowed unless instructed to do so and only in the straights; I ran almost exclusively in the Intermediate group and most of the time I felt like I was being held up by the riders in front of me, but stepping up to the fastest group wasn’t an option, I would have not learned anything by riding at 100%+ of my skill level. It was tempting, though. Especially on Day 2, after my brain had a chance to process all the information collected during the previous sessions. There was a distinct jump in speed and skill improvement between the last session of the previous day and the first session that morning. I had wanted to move up, but they were faster now, too. My reason finally overcame my competitiveness. After all, I had a $1000 security deposit to consider and I wouldn’t get that back if I took a short vacation on Pebble Beach stretched out on my backside with a wadded up sport bike to keep me company. Kevin Schwantz and the instructors also impressed upon us that we should concentrate on technique rather than how fast we could make it around the track. I decided to take his word for it, the man obviously must know what he’s talking about. So, I behaved.
Here’s a little video courtesy of the camera bike of one of my earlier (and slow-as-molasses) laps of Day 1. I think it was during Session 3, because I had already quit switching sides on the bike between T7 and T9 and my body position, although still too much ass and not enough torso, had already improved somewhat. The Hayabusa had taught me very, very bad habits. Add to that teaching yourself without anybody with enough experience to check up on your progress occasionally and you have the perfect recipe for hanging on versus hanging off and dragging toes as supposed to dragging knee. And even with all that to work on and having way too much lean in relation to my cornering speed, I still felt I was being held back. I need a group in between Faster and Fastest. Seriously.
I edited Kevin’s lap out, because while he’s leisurely crossing the finish line of his first warm-up lap, I’m still tooling around a little past the Museum Corner’s exit and we really do NOT need to compare the two. No. Really. We don’t. It’s embarrassing. And that’s the last we’re going to talk about that. Thank you. Now bugger off.
Oh, and I almost forgot: I finally got my knee down! w00t!!!!! I’d have to get my notes out, but it happened in Session 4, I believe. Shortly before the apex of T9. I didn’t expect it, it scared the piss out of me until I realized what the hell was happening and then I was screaming out of that turn doing a mini fist-pump with my clutch hand and kicking my clutch foot out, all the while yelling cheerful obscenities into my helmet. Then when I got back to the pits and took a peek (while nobody was watching) it was a total letdown. Hell, my toe sliders have more damage on them! Like the time when I screamed down the road doing 147 mph just to later find out that my odo is way off and the GPS admonished with the fact that I was doing more like 139. Bummer! Somebody (or something) always has to piss on your parade, I swear it!