“My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
My Bonnie lies over the sea,
My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
O bring back my Bonnie to me.”
As a beginner rider, it hardly seems fair that I have my dream bike: a 2012 orange and black Triumph Bonneville. My Bonnie came from over the ocean (England) and it took nearly a half year of saving (plus some help from my hubby) to bring her to me. At 500 lbs and 865cc, she’s a whole lot of woman – a full person heavier than my previous bike, the 250cc Suzuki Marauder which tipped the scales at 330 lbs. We’re slowly getting to know each other.
For me, riding motorcycles is a passion in training: it still scares the crap out of me 50% of the time. For my husband, riding is what gets him through the oh-so-long-and-cold Canadian winters. The promise of commuting to work by motorcycle is why he can rise in the dark hours of a January morning, stuff himself like a human sausage in the overcrowded metal casing of a public bus, and travel to work amidst the coughs and sneezes and other less savory bodily functions of his fellow commuters.
Around March every year, the lusty looks and sighs of longing begin. I’ll find illicit web pages open with virtual shopping carts full of chain lube and other things I don’t know the purpose of. Back issues of Motorcycle Magazine are scattered around the apartment like despondent love letters. Sometimes he’ll emerge from the parking garage with a guilty gleam in his eye and black grease on his hands after a sweaty session of tinkering and adjusting and fine tuning. On sunny days in early spring, he’ll come home with reports of how many motorcycles he’s seen on the road. “Maybe I’ll get mine out this weekend,” he’ll say. Inevitably, it snows.
Tyler’s passion for all things motorcycle is what inspired me to first throw my leg over the seat of an old Honda Shadow one freezing April morning and allow my designated partner to push me silently across the frosty parking lot. My first day of motorcycle safety school. My first time on two wheels. After 8 hours in the wind and -10 temperatures, my hands were blocks of ice and I could not longer tell if my feet were braking or shifting or doing anything at all. The next morning, it was so cold the bikes wouldn’t start so we stayed in and watched safety demonstrations, discussing proper braking technique and riding position. Tyler’s offer to pay for the course (and warm me up at the end of the day) is what kept me going.
Fast forward to today and I’ve got my class 6 the Bonnie. And, as I said, it isn’t fair that I get the newer, more expensive, more attention grabbing bike when Tyler is the one with the obvious passion. But that’s the thing. While I’m busy fussing about helmet hair and finding the perfect protective-yet-stylish footwear, he’s riding. While I’m squawking about the weather or the complaining about the road conditions or traffic congestion, he’s tearing down the highway with a huge happy smile on his face. If it took a Triumph Bonneville to keep me content on two wheels, he’d make it happen. So here I am, with a new bike and only one condition of ownership: Tyler gets to ride it whenever he wants.
Summer so far: