continued from part one of Life on the Edge:
Several months later we got our own dirtbike at our outpost. We’d talked about it for a long time and finally agreed that yes, God is all powerful. We felt we could do this and still come out on top.
When the bike arrived I took it out to our back lot where I would be out of sight from the house so young, single ladies for sure couldn’t see me doing more French push-ups if it came to that. Also, there were no vehicles in the area. The only thing for me to hit was barbed wire fence, stumps, and an old outhouse hole.
This bike has an electric start. No stupid kick-starting. The other great thing about this bike is that it is geared so low you can use first gear as reverse. Getting started wasn’t a problem. I didn’t touch the throttle this time -it was a strictly hands off relationship –for the first ten feet. After that I decided it was time to go forwards.
I circled the lot twice before I tried shifting into second. This went fine except I hit hole and stalled the bike, which promptly locked it and shifted its weight heavily to the left. Suddenly this machine that balances effortlessly while in the upright position becomes a several hundred pound down-drag. And down she goes. Because there weren’t anybody watching I didn’t feel too bad about it. I up righted the creature, got back on, and off I went.
And thus I mastered the basics of dirtbike riding to some degree.
The next feat to master was crossing the river by boat on the motorcycle. This is done by backing the bike down to the river’s edge where you must dismount. Then the boat driver will help you lift the back tire of the bike up onto the stern of the boat. Next the bike is backed onto the boat until the front tire is just ready to drop off of the stern into the boat. At this point the driver must remount the bike and back her until the front tire is down in the boat. Unloading of the bike is done in reverse order.
This is more easily said than done –after all, we’re talking a lot of weight here. Most of the bikes these guys are crossing are little scooters and they really comment about the extra weight with our bike.
My first attempt at crossing by boat was a successful one. I came out with only several deep scratches on my legs where the feet stands dug into my leg as I tried to balance.
My second attempt at crossing was less successful. Loading went fine, but when we went to unload I tried to ride the bike all the way off and too late realized that there was going to be a three foot span where I wasn’t going to be able put my feet on either boat or ground to balance –only air. Over she went. Fortunately her front was on shore and the back was still in the boat. But I was in the water –up to my ankles in my waterproof boots.
As I write now, I’m a bit more successful at the aspects of riding that are required of me here. But the beast never ceases to scare me to death. Loose gravel, dust, hills, and potholes that are so large they have other potholes within them, flying bugs, flat tires…all of these threaten to catch me off guard and send me a’flying.
And in case you haven’t caught on…I hate French push-ups.