Monday, October 24, 2022

The Motorcycle Ride & Flashback

 Months, not weeks, have passed since I visited Idaho in late April. Since then, I’ve posted about the “so-called” date I had and the tattoo Ruby—who calls me Grandma Dee—did for me. I’ll end this trilogy of adventures with my motorcycle ride. 

Last March, when Gino, one of Ruby’s tattoo mentors, bought a new motorcycle, she bought his old one. Seeing that motorcycle by the curb, I said, “You know, Ruby, I’ve always wanted to ride one!” 

“Not this one, Grandma Dee. There’s no flat seat behind me.”

That ended it for me. Not for Ruby. Unbeknownst to me, she talked to Gino, whom I’d met a few days before at his tattoo parlor. 

 Ruby called with the news: she and Gino would come by and pick me up in fifteen minutes.

I pulled on my thickest hoodie and tied the laces of my red shoes—ready for adventure. 

Geno and Ruby arrived; I rushed outside to greet them . . . and Gino’s whiz-bang of a motorcycle. Trey and Elisa rushed with me. When Gino crowned me with a helmet, I felt like Darth Vader. Fearless. 

Helmet donned, I tried to swing my right leg over the back of the cycle. No way! I simply couldn’t get my leg—with its knee replacement and its indicators that hip replacement is next—high enough to “throw it over” the backseat of that powerful machine. (It’s moments like this that tell me that at 86, I’m aging, aging, aging . . . into OLD.)

Both Elisa and Ruby came to my assistance, holding onto my right leg and lugging it up, up, up until we had all 138 pounds of me, my clothing, and that helmet upright on the seat. 

There was no backing to the seat, so Gino encouraged me to sit as close behind him as I could and to hold onto the front of his down-filled vest.

“Grip it!” he said. “And when I lean right or left, you do that too.” He demonstrated the graceful leaning, explaining that I’d need to do that when we went around corners. 

All in readiness, we departed. For the next fifteen minutes, Ruby led us up and down hills and out onto what I’d call highways. 

Only once did I feel a frisson of fear. In her enthusiasm to “show me a good ride,” Ruby had gotten a little too far ahead of us. As we went around a corner, Gino had to put on a burst of speed. 

I could feel my hands losing their grip and sliding past his ribs and then, as I’m desperately trying to hold on, my body starts moving backward. Inexorably backward.

A vivid photo flashed in my mind of me flying off the tail end of that supercharged cycle and hurtling backward through space to land like a deflated hot-air balloon in the shrubbery of one of the homes we’d blurred past. 

Years before, in May 1977, I’d been riding my ten-speed bicycle down a hill in Stillwater, Minnesota, and inadvertently pressed the handle brake when I hit a pothole. The bike and I separated; it flew up into the air, and—the neighbors told me—did a couple of circles before falling in a heap on the street.

 I flew—the neighbors measured the distance—almost eighty feet through the air, landing on my right side. I ended up in the hospital for three days with my right collarbone broken in three places and the side of my face deeply scraped and raw. For the next ten weeks, I wore my right arm in a sling. Therapy helped me regain mobility and flexibility. 

That memory flooded my brain as I felt my body moving inescapably backward. 

“Hold on, Dee! Hold on!” Gino’s words streamed past me. I tried to lurch my body forward. Tried to resist the force of momentum.

Gino yelled; Ruby heard him. Both slowed down. And I? I rejoiced that I hadn’t taken a ride on the air as I’d done in Stillwater in ‘77. All was well.

And . . . I’d had a memorable motorcycle ride.



  1. HUGE smiles. I am so very glad that you had a safe and memorable ride.

  2. Pretty adventurous for 86 I'd say!

  3. What a fun post, Dee! And an exciting ride! (Really glad you didn't lose your grip on that burst of speed)

  4. Helmet off to you lady. You have grit. I use to ride my own bike till I was 70 but you couldn't get me on one today. So glad it was a safe ride.

  5. Wonderful story with a perfect ending! Thank you for sharing your adventure with me, dear Dee.

  6. What a wonderful experience and memory to treasure. How special it is that young people cared enough to make it happen for you.

  7. You will not see me on a motorbike although dad used to drive my to school on his

  8. dear this is such a heartwarming post !
    your friend Ruby and her friend sound like angles from heaven who fulfilled your dream after so many years when you probably have forgot how it feels to ride a bike .
    i felt tremendous joy for you my friend and how those two sweet people helped you to have this amazing and beautiful experience.
    hugs and blessings!

  9. You, Dee, are far more adventurous than I! It must have been terrifying to find yourself sliding back and your grip slipping. I rode on the back of a Harley through the mountains when I was in my 20s. Back then it was quite a thrill but I am way more cautious and timid these days. The photo of the three of you with the bike — that’s priceless!

  10. I love that you wore red shoes for this adventure!

    P.S. Thanks for your comment on my post. I replied over there. 💕