12 June 2012

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I rode a motorbike for the first time today. (Not as an operator; as a passenger.)

In the dark.

Quite aside from the complete and utter lack of ANYTHING protecting you from the entire outside world, there's something rather terrifying about being on a motorized vehicle that small and not being in control of it. I don't know that motorbikes involve any more leaning-to-steer than regular bicycles, and perhaps less (at least at the speeds one uses on poor dust roads in the dark, when it's cold and the driver has not protective gear other than a jumper (not even hair to keep his head warm, poor guy; I was very grateful for the scarf and gloves shoved in the pocket of my fleece), I don't think about the leaning when I'm riding a bicycle, because at this time it's second nature to me, but it's much more obvious when someone else decides about the leaning and you don't know when it's going to happen.

Also making this more fun, I'd never met the guy before tonight, and probably wouldn't recognize him in the daylight unless he was wearing the same jumper. (Not that I had any doubts about the character of someone Monica enlisted to drive me home, but . . .)

And, of course, there was the fun half-hour or so of getting on the bike, the bike failing to start, discussion about "Wamana battery" and "Brake fluid Kabotu," standing around outside in the dark and somewhat chilly, watching the guys pushing first the one bike (and it failing to start) and then the other bike, taking the other bike off around the block, the other bike not starting, despite a few hopeful coughs, dumping cooking oil in the goodness-knows-what of the first bike, Monica's husband hopping on the bike, eventually the distant roar and headlight illumination of that bike ("It's his, and he knows it better").

Conclusion: Motorbikes seem more temperamental than cars, but also more persuadable.

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