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Throttle Fever, and the Motorcycle Ride to Nowhere

shadowsThrottle fever is a common malady among motorcyclists, particularly those who live in northern climes. It’s like cabin fever, but a lot more insidious. You can go outside and walk off cabin fever. But when the snow is on the ground, the streets are full of sand and salt, and the temperature threatens to dive below zero, a biker with throttle fever is stuck indoors.

I never thought I’d get throttle fever. In high school, I was the poster child for Goody Two Shoes. Then my husband started riding. And then I hopped on the back of his bike. Two weeks ago, I tried riding a Harley at the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis.

Omigod, omigod, omigod.

It always amazes me how much more you can feel speed in a car vs. a truck. You feel it ¬†more on a motorcycle. I didn’t think I’d feel it even more, though, when I moved from the back of the bike to the front. And I wasn’t going anywhere!

Harley-Davidson is smart. They know the best way to attract new riders is to get them to try it. They had a small motorcycle (like the ones they use for training) set up on a stand. After giving H-D all my info (including my driver’s license number), I was allowed to throw a leg over the bike and receive a driving lesson. The instructor showed me how to start the engine, rev the throttle, how to shift with my left toe, and how to apply the brakes. I couldn’t believe 30 mph felt so fast! I also learned that you can’t really back off on the throttle or you’ll quickly lose speed. I spent a majority of my five-minute session watching the speedometer.

I wonder how long it takes for shifting and driving to become second nature.¬†Perhaps I’ll find out this spring. I’m really thinking about taking the motorcycle safety course so I can back up my husband on our long road trips.