Actually, the title of this blog post is misleading. Never the Biker Chick I dreamed I’d be? Well, I never really had dreams of being a biker chick.
I managed to get through most of my life without riding a motorbike.
Well, that’s another story. Horses are my passion!
The Knutsford hillbilly
Many women have dated men who rode motorbikes. Not me. No reason why. Just the guys I dated drove cars not bikes.
When I was 24, I lived in Kamloops, in British Columbia’s interior. Cowboy country. In fact, Kamloops hosts a Cowboy Festival in March each year.
Anyway, I dated a man named, Jim.
The better term might be hillbilly! Ha ha. His mother owned a large property outside of Kamloops in an area called Knutsford, and he lived in a second house on the property, about a mile from his mother’s place. Actually he had the nicer house, where his grandparents used to live. It had indoor plumbing! Ha ha! His mother couldn’t say that about her house! An outhouse out back and the kitchen only had cold running water. Whether or not the cold water was running depended on the outside temperature and if the pipes had frozen.
A hill on the property had about two dozen vehicles parked on it, in various stages of disrepair. Jim, his mother, and her boyfriend drove old, junker cars and trucks that were constantly breaking down. Sometimes they’d rob one of the cars on the hill for spare parts. Most times they’d head for the junk yard.
And here’s the real hillbilly kicker. If one of them had a car running low on gas, they’d siphon gas out of someone else’s car on the property, using a rubber hose and putting their mouth on it and sucking until the gas came out. Then stuff the hose end that had been in the mouth into the gas tank of the car that was thirsty. So basically they were stealing gas out of each other’s cars and they’d get mad at the other guy when they fired up the car to discover it was empty or close to it.
I was really glad my car had a locking gas cap!
And the K in Knutsford is silent. That would be Nutsford to you, me, and the rest of the sane world who aren’t nuts!
The junkyard motorbike
Jim dropped out of school in Grade 9. He was incredibly talented as a mechanic and one of the things he did was build a motorbike from spare parts he picked up at a dumping site somewhere. He took me for rides in the trails surrounding their property. It was a lot of fun. I liked being a passenger. One day Jim asks me if I’d like to learn to ride it.
Sure. I’m adventurous. Why not? So he’s giving me instructions on the gears and the throttle and I’m just about ready to go. Biker chick dreams!
His last instruction went something to the effect of hang on tight because this bike takes off real fast.
I put the kickstand out and got off.
My motorbike riding days ended before they’d even begun.
Fast forward 20 years
I’m now in a relationship with the deadbeat and we moved to the nearby Pitt Meadows. We both worked in Langley, but he worked shifts, so it wasn’t like we could coordinate and drive together. The choices were to drive around on the highway, about an hour to work, or take the Albion Ferry. This was a free ferry service that took about ten or fifteen minutes to load a ferry, cross the Fraser River, and unload on the Fort Langley side. It meant about a 45-minute commute. That is, if there was no line up at the ferry. Unfortunately, it was usually a few sailings wait during rush hour times.
Motorbikes were able to bypass the car line up and go to the front and get on the next sailing. Not bad!
The deadbeat decided to buy a motorbike to beat the line up. He had a Class 6 motorbike license, but hadn’t owned a motorbike in years, since before we met. After visiting a few dealerships, he bought a used Yamaha V-Star 650.
He was able to get to the front of the ferry line up. I was driving around the long way, because it was faster to get home instead of waiting an hour or longer for the ferry.
That lasted about another week for me.
We went back to the Yamaha dealership and I bought a brand new Vino 50 cc. That just needs a regular driver’s license to operate. Higher than 50cc? The rider needs a Class 6 motorbike license.
I rode the scooter to work everyday, beating the car line up at the Albion Ferry. The scooter got about 200 kilometers (150 miles) on a tank of gas. It cost me about $5/week, so my gas bill took a nosedive when I parked the car and rode the Vino.
I learned a rule of the road that I’d like to share and it has to do with the storage compartment beneath the seat. One day I stopped at the produce store and bought a watermelon and put it in the compartment for the ride home, about five minutes away. Well, that watermelon rolled around. Not that it had a lot of room to roll, maybe a couple of inches. It would roll and bang into the compartment wall and then roll back and hit the other side. That banging and bumping was enough to throw me off balance and keep me gripping the handlebars real tight.
Live and learn, right!
No biker chick here.
Just call me Scooter Girl!
If you need Scooter Girl gear, check out these T-shirts on Amazon. (Disclosure: if you click the link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission.)