Easy rider

A weekend of test-driving BMW motorcycles with other women is a great getaway. What could go wrong?

Girls’ weekend away … $150
Trip to Victoria’s Secret for new undies … $30
Wipeout on motorcycle … priceless

I’m still looking for the humorous side of four X-rays in 14 days, a swollen left leg and an ankle the size of an overripe squash that looks, but fortunately doesn’t smell, like it’s rotting (pretty shades of yellow, blue, green and purple though). And a dislocated tendon in my shoulder and a potentially cracked rib.

All in the name of a break from the business.

Another grand plan

It started about three months ago. Beach Boy was drooling over the latest, greatest BMW dual-purpose motorcycles online when he spied a “Women Only” BMW motorcycle test ride in Orangeville, Ontario at the end of May.

“I think you should go,” he announced one morning.

“Go where?” I asked, sipping my coffee while shoveling a piece of toast down my gullet like a goose during the lead up to the froie gras process.

“I think you should go on this test ride. It’s a good opportunity to check out the bikes we want to buy.”

BB and I have a couple of dual-purpose motorcycles. They’re cheap on gas and insurance and great for those gravel roads rural Newfoundland is known for. But full-blown BMW dual-purpose bikes? I couldn’t get past the cost.

I made one last attempt to object to a weekend of mindless, responsibility-free fun.

“Please let me do this for you,” BB said. “You work your guts out at the shop. Get paid minimal wages. Put up with my BS. Just let me do this for you?

“And it’s free.”

It was, actually. The test rides were free. The flight and hotel could be booked on points. I just needed a couple of bucks for food, gas and parking.

Easy peasy. My best buddy of 27 years, Donna, wanted to tag along. She’s been riding motorcycles since before Christ was a carpenter. She lives just north of Toronto and hooking up with her for a weekend of biking was a perfect plan.

It was a date.

The big day

I flew out on Porter airlines Friday morning.

The next day, bright and early, Donna and I drove the hour to Orangeville. It was a foggy, cold day, a bit of drizzle. Not my idea of great riding weather. But it wasn’t going to dampen our spirits.

The first ride, an hour long, was on a G650, single cylinder, dual-purpose BMW. It was serendipitous. When the group finally finished the run and pulled their helmets off, all I could see were white teeth and smiling faces. All women. All bikers.

It was time to saddle up again. Another test ride, only this one was the F650 GS. There was an extra cylinder. The throttle was a bit touchier than the first bike. The controls were in places I wasn’t used to. I was always looking down to find where the switches were.

But I managed.

Until I stalled out.

The group had come to a stop on a rural side road and was turning onto a secondary highway. The speed limit is 100 km/h.

As the group pulled away, I went to start the bike up again. I must have twisted the throttle too hard, accelerating quickly. This forced the front end of the motorcycle to turn sharply to the right while the back end swung around, with me on it.

I wasn’t going fast, maybe 20 km/h, but the force from the motorcycle was enough to throw me over, with the full 600 pounds of machine landing on my left leg and ankle. I landed hard on my left shoulder.

Dazed and pinned under the weight of the bike, I lay in the middle of the highway, unable to move, my head over the yellow line. I could see a car coming towards me.

A man, who just so happened to be changing a flat tire at that corner, at that exact moment, ran over and picked the bike up off me. The safety guy with BMW who was at the back of the group helped him.

And that was the end of my responsibility-free, awesome weekend away from the business.

Flying high

A stop at the local Emergency department and two hours later, a prescription for Tylenol and Codeine was in my pocket. Donna and I sailed back to our hotel room across from City Hall in Toronto.

At least I flew. She drove.

Roughly 24 hours passed and I was on a flight back to St. John’s, medicated and in a sling.

BB couldn’t apologize enough. I kept insisting it wasn’t his fault. I was completely responsible for my mishap. But I was soooo disappointed. And angry. I did this to myself and now I needed help tying my shoes.

Healing has been slow. The cracked rib is giving me the most trouble. My shoulder feels like it has a perpetual knot in it.

But Donna’s coming over this summer and we’re planning a few bike trips around the bay. Day trips. Nothing too fast.

Just a couple of old broads toodling around on old-broad motorcycles.

That’s about all I can handle right now.

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