Vespas hold a certain intrigue for me. They convey an image. Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Hipsters zipping around town, more often than not stylish women in stilettos. And it’s kind of practical. I live in a city where a parking space costs a third of your monthly rent. Scooters, just park that baby anywhere.
My desire to ride a scooter contradicts my desire to be safe. I don’t ride fast down hills on my bike for fear of crashing. I drive the speed limit. My snowboarding pace could more aptly be described as sauntering, rather than shredding.
A friend mentioned she wanted to take a motorcycle safety class. Aha! If I learned more about motorcycles, then maybe I wouldn’t fear riding on them. Or scooters. We signed up.
The first part of the course was a five-hour (yes, FIVE!) evening paperwork course. Picture this: we are grouped in groups of four, given study guides, and the evening commences, a potpourri of finding answers on our own, discussion with group members, videos, and whole-group discussion. We first have to name our group. We stare at each other. We eventually introduce ourselves. We stare at our booklets. The four of us couldn’t have been more incongruous. My friend Danielle and I, mature professional women. Viva and Joseph, two something-teen year old college students who could have easily been extras in The Fast and the Furious. Somehow we came up with the name Easy Riders. Class commences.
As class progresses, we make our way through the different sections of the manual: types of motorcycles, preparing to ride, street strategies. As discussion ensues, both Danielle and I furiously take notes, writing in margins and highlighting with multiple colors of highlighters. We star; we underline; we mark. We listen; we ask questions; we volunteer. About halfway through the course, Joseph looks at us and dryly comments, “Man, you guys must be good students.”
We glance at their booklets. Neither he nor Viva have written anything. Good students? Or are we simply neurotic?
We pass the written test at the end of the class. All four of us. Next step – the driving portion. Five hours on Saturday morning and five hours on Sunday morning. We can do this.