about 2-3 months ago I bought a Kawasaki 750 LTD 1986 (pics here). It was in Vernon, BC while I live in Golden, BC. I only had my learner licence and needed the motorcycle to pratice. Also since I live in a remote community we don’t get the opportunity to have tests taken very often. Once a month instructors come from other communities and offer the test and there is a waiting list.
I need my motorcycle to practice; quite obviously. It being over there I can’t practice so I decided to book the test in Vernon and go there by bus the same day. This was a bit cavalier of me, but in my mind I thought I could go there, pick up the motorcycle (which I had never driven in my life!), learn to drive it in half a day and take the test at 2pm. Would I succeed?
I got on the bus at 3am for vernon. Got in Vernon at 7am, Chris the past owner of the motorcycle told me of a spot where I could find a decent breakfast and offered to pick me up at 9ish. Mind you I didn’t sleep at all on the bus the guy next to me was a total freak, probably very advanced in schyzophrenia. Chris comes to pick me up, he turned out to be quite a nice guy, he showed me the basic maneuvers on the motorcycle and I practiced for 2 hours. Then we went for a drive to a parking lot about 20 minutes away where I practiced slalom between imaginary cones. I felt half comfortable..
By 1pm we had transfered the titles and I was insured. By 2pm I was in line to get my test taken. But then suddenly I got nervous and when I am I become a total idiot. I managed to stall the motorcycle twice during the test (didn’t even happen once during the whole day!), i failed miserably.
By the laws here with a simple learners and no Skill Test success (the one I had just failed) I am not allowed to go above 60km/h, not allowed to drive w/o supervision of a qualified motorcycle driver, not allowed to be on highways, not allowed to drive at night and not allowed to have somebody aboard with me.
That afternoon I set for Golden, BC with Chris who accompanied me to Sicamous (70 klicks of the 300 klick ride). We left at 5pm in Vernon.. by 6pm I was on a major highway, driving 100km/h, sometimes 110, and without supervision. Thankfully the highway isn’t very busy, this one car followed me about 2/3rds of the way! I rarely crossed trucks or cars coming in the other direction; it was a safe drive. By 9 o’clock Mountain Time I was driving in the dark, far. now that was scary, especially since my headlight points right and doesn’t shine very much and the only protection I had for my eyes were sunglasses; plus my backlight wasn’t working, no backlight and no breaklight. (i didn’t know this!).
I made it home; safe. Quite exhausted, a little stressed; in disbelief of the situation.
Since then I respected the rules, practiced and practiced and finally passed my test last week!! Hourray! And today i went for a spin, on highway 1 towards Banff. The scenery is quite extraordinary, being in canyon with the Kicking Horse river flowing in the depths and I decided to stop on the roadside to enjoy the scenery. So I slow down, and get off the pavement and WACK. my motorcycle flys one way; me the other. I wasn’t going very fast (thank god!) but I sure learnt a lesson.
So now my flasher is broken, and the bike does a weird noise when I go above 80, i’ll get it checked tomorrow. But I’m alive, I appreciate the protection of padded leather gear and I didn’t feel a thing except for surprise!
Life is good, be careful, and ride safely!