Hello to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace.
I have been active in the motorcycling lifestyle since the tender age of 13. Since I first hopped onto the pillion seat of Mechanical MacGyver’s then Conti 200 cc. The bug had bit me quite hard and caused me to spend countless weekends clinging onto my father’s jacket on the back of every machine he had ever owned. In this time I was given the opportunity to dip my toe into the strange world of piloting a motorcycle. (None of which was done on public roads, as operating a motorcycle without a license on a public road is illegal.)
Three years down the line, just after my 16th birthday, I could legally pilot a motorcycle on public roads, if such a bike had an engine displacement equal to or less than 125 cc. This is where my journey with Popcorn Machine began. The little 125 cc Honda that took me wherever my 16-year-old heart desired. Though I would often still ride pillion on my father’s machine on long trips or trips requiring a brisk pace. The transition between pilot and pillion at this point still occurred seamlessly. As one does not exactly develop a unique riding style on a tiny, slow 125 cc.
Add another three years, and we come to the point where restoration of the Little Yellow Honda (my VFR400R) reached a stage of completion. In the preceding three years I did occasionally ride Mechanical MacGyver’s Old Faithful (a mean Kawasaki ZZR400, with a 600cc engine swap). However, very little of my time was spent as a pillion. With the more powerful machines one does tend to develop a unique riding style. A “spidey sense”, if you will, of how and when one starts to slow down for corners, a preferred lean angle limit, and when to roll back onto the throttle.
Enter the present. I’m still avidly riding my Little Yellow Honda, and Mechanical MacGyver has upgraded to a beast of a bike. His personal “Duiweltjie” (little devil) of a Honda CBR1000RR. This is also the point in time where I make the realisation leading to the title of the post, as I discover that a pillion, I am no more.
Around two weeks ago, Mechanical MacGyver’s bakkie (a pick up truck for those across the pond) suffers a blown head gasket. This means that, under the vehicle’s warranty, it had to be repaired by an authorised dealer. Hence we set out to deliver the vehicle to said dealer. As the vehicle is still somewhat operable, Mechanical MacGyver drives it to the dealer, with me on the “Duiweltjie” following close behind. (The bike would be a traffic and hassle free return trip to drop me off and Mechanical MacGyver’s ride to work)With the vehicle dropped off, I hop onto the pillion seat of this beast and we set off.
Oh the horrors that ensued. Barely exiting the dealer’s lot I am already sick to my stomach. The forces of acceleration, deceleration and cornering feel all but friendly and familiar. My “spidey sense” goes completely haywire as Mechanical MacGyver goes about riding in his usual way, completely contradictory to my own style of riding. For the first time in a very long time I am truly afraid of a motorcycle. My stomach is churning and I feel like I’m on a carnival ride from hell. I have lost all sense of control and was clinging to Mechanical MacGyver for what felt to be dear life. It was truly a horrifying experience. Surrendering control after almost 6 years of riding in control. The 20 minute return trip turned out to be the worst 20 minutes of my life thus far. I hope that I never have to experience anything similar again.
A very queasy Motorcycle Addict, wishing you all a safe ride, and more enjoyable journey.