I’ve never been an active enthusiast of motorbikes, but I had a dream last night about this topic. My riding experience in real life is very limited. I rented a bike once on the sandy coast of India (Goa). The bike was actually owned by the boss at the beach huts I stayed at. I asked him if he knew of any place around the area I could rent bikes. He then asked me in a stern voice, “you know how to ride one?” This is where machoism kicked in, “oh yeah, of course.” He then asked me what my intent was, and I just told him that I wanted to cruise around the area along the beach. At that moment he threw a set of keys at me and said “100 rupees, it’s the one in black.”
I was a little shocked at the trust, but mostly terrified that I’ve never ridden a bike in my life. Instead of making him nervous about handing his bike over to a complete rookie– no less–stranger, I just nodded and walked it off with a swag in my step. Despite my James Dean facade, I was mortified.
I was hoping to get a quick tutorial from the boss to show me the ropes. Too late, time to jump right in. It was a usual hot day in Goa, not a cloud in sight. I thought I could at least look the part and sit on the vinyl black seat of the bike. Rookie mistake one, the colour black adsorbs the heat of a million suns. No matter, I still sit on the bike like a boss in case he’s watching me. I start to pretend to fiddle with the knobs, trying to make it appear as though I knew what I was doing.
I took a deep sigh and decided that I’m ready for the impending doom. It’s time to turn on the ignition. Rookie mistake two, I flipped the high-beams on instead of activating the motor. Boy, am I ever out of my league on this one. Luckily you cannot see that the high-beams were activated in 35 degree celsius Goa. Once again, I pretended I intentionally flipped it to test out the functions of the bike in case the owner was watching.
At this time, a local man who owns a beach side massage hut scooted along on his bike and parked next to me. He said, “it’s too hot to go for a bike ride today.” I gave off a brave laugh and a nod to pretend I understood the typical bike banter. As he was about to head into his hut, the severity of the situation kicked in and I asked him for some ‘pointers’.
He then asked me if I ever rode a bike before. I could continue my outward display of cool, but decided that the jig was up. “No sir, this is my first time. Got any tips?” He was more than happy to help. He gave me a quick run down on everything from the breaks to the accelerator. After he and I felt I was ready, it was time for flight. I started the hog up and revved the engine a bit. Started the accelerator while holding on to the break and let loose. Rookie mistake three, steer the bike away from the fence. I came very close to driving the bike clean through the fence, but somehow I stopped at the last moment.
The man wasn’t convinced and he hopped on the back of the bike and decided I needed a lil’ on-road training. With a larger Indian man hunched overtop me, he guided my hands towards the proper acceleration and turn speed of the bike. We coasted up and down the road for 5 mins. At the end, we dropped him off back at the beach hut area. He’s taught me all that he could and now the rest was up to me. So I offered him my thanks and set off for the road.
You never truly understand the thrill of a motorbike until you’re cruising along a coral blue sea with the wind softly whipping your hair, like flapjacks in the wind.
Let’s fast-forward to last-night. My dream last night reminded me of that rush. I somehow ‘borrowed’ someone’s bike that was left outdoors (I think it’s called stealing in the real world). I just wanted to bike a loop to get that bike-feel back. I started in the student ghetto area that I lived in during the first year of my university. Once I turned the corner, I was suddenly biking through a completely foreign European city. I was cruising on a road that transitioned from asphalt to cobblestone, amongst avant-garde inspired buildings. As I drove through a tunnel, I was suddenly cruising on a semi-active volcano road. The ground was a mixture of grass and dirt, and at one spot there was a steam-vent where the ground looked particularly fragile to ride on. I rode around the hot-spot and eventually returned to the starting point where I found the bike. I tried to return the bike, but how do you return something to a person you don’t know? In the dream, I considered keeping the bike.
The bike. It was a beautiful matte-black bike. I scoured the Internet for photos that would closely match it. Here’s the closest I could find.