No Longer Just the Girl Next Door-
An excerpt from Clutch
and Throttle: Tales from Daytona
Tim Baker and Becky Pourchot.
To be released March 3rd, 2016
Early autumn in Florida means eighty-five to ninety-degree
days—temperatures that you’d like to wear as little clothing as possible, but
being a newbie on my motorcycle at the time, I didn’t want to take any chances.
In spite of the heat, I decided to wear all my gear: jacket, boots, and jeans.
I was sweating up a storm.
My clutch had just been adjusted at Tri-City Cycle in
Flagler Beach and I was getting used to the new grip placement, which meant
having to relearn the feel of it, and of course, once again stalling over and
We live in a small town, so pretty much at every street
corner there was someone I knew hanging out in their yard watching my drunken bike
ballet. As pathetic as I may have looked, I’d reached the point that I didn’t
care. I just smiled and called out playfully to my neighbors.
“Still learning!” and
then I’d proceed to once again stutter and stall until I made it out of the
I’ll admit it. My
initial motivation for learning to ride a bike was not about riding fast
through the Loop, or making it to all the big bike events. It was about image. What
better way to accessorize your leather chaps and your skull themed do-rag than
with your very own Harley Davidson. Right?
When I rode with my husband on the back of his bike to
Daytona for Bike Week and Biketoberfest, appearance was everything. I had a
cute black zip up bustier that pushed up my boobs just so, the perfect leather
hair wraps that I wore in playful pigtails, the leather jacket, and high heeled
Harley boots. Going to the Iron Horse was not simply hanging out at a bar it was
“going out”, playing dress up. For this girl who grew up in suburbia, where
women dressed in their expensive yoga clothes even when they weren’t doing yoga,
dressing in motorcycle themed clothes was wildly rebellious. I was playing the bad
girl. To me, Bike Week was costuming at its finest.
With my own vanity on the forefront, I talked with a lady at
a local riding school about taking classes. Although she was encouraging, I found
myself feeling ill at ease about the whole idea. It became apparent from this
short conversation that there was much more to riding a motorcycle than
learning to keep your hair in place at sixty mph. Clearly learning to ride a
bike was not about fashion, but instead about how to manage a four hundred
pound machine on public roadways. Suddenly I wasn’t so interested.
Fast forward a year. I needed change. I was tired of being
the soccer mom. I wanted something new, so I finally broke down and signed up
for a course.
For the course, our fashion requirements, though functional,
did not fit my biker chic ideals. We were asked to wear long sleeves, gloves,
jeans and over the ankle boots. It was ninety plus degrees with off and on
heavy rain. I assure you by the end of each seven hour day, I was not looking pretty.
After the three day course I went out and bought all the
gear, including a Harley Brand jean jacket. I then added my hand-picked biker
patches – Yin and Yang, peace symbol, Beatles, sugar skulls. Within a few short
days I had acquired all the necessary parts to mastering my chosen image—a
hippie biker chick. It was then that I bought Old Reb. She matched my attire
I looked the part, I suppose, but something happened when I
got that bike… somewhere along my journey up and down the back roads of Flagler
Beach—probably at one of those thousand stop signs I stalled at—I had given up
on looking cute.
This was all about the bike. The road. Mastering something I
wanted so badly. And so, I rode the back roads, up and around, in a little
loop, practicing shifting, learning the feel of the clutch and the throttle. Forget
looking sexy and cool, all I wanted was to learn how to keep my bike from
My concern for my outside appearance fell by the wayside. My
jeans were no longer there to show off my ass, they were there to protect my
legs. My Harley Davidson jacket—the one that cost me the price of an iphone—was
no longer there to show off my plethora of patches, it was there to ease the
pain of road rash if I was to fall.
I stopped trying to
be the cute girl on a bike and became a person who simply wanted to tackle a difficult,
yet wonderful task.
On South 20thAvenue, with the ocean view up ahead
I pulled to a stop sign. And you know what?
I didn’t stall! As I paused at the stop, feeling my little victory, an
attractive guy I knew from around town was in his driveway. He saw me and waved.
I waved back.
“I just got this bike!”
I said shouting across the road to him. I must have had a stupid grin on my
face. He smiled back.
“Nice,” he said as he
walked up to me.
We talked bikes for a few minutes (something I’m finally
able to hold my own on now) and then he paused and looked me over with a cool
“I have to tell you this. You’re looking really hot on that
This took me by surprise, because the only type of hot I
felt in the moment was sweaty from all my gear.
When I was riding I was not thinking about who I was trying
to portray myself to the be…the pretty girl, seeking approval. Instead I was
thinking about keeping that bike rolling, not crashing, savoring the feel of
the bike as it picked up speed.
Yes, I’ll admit I did like the compliment. It made my day. Knowing
that I was not only kicking butt on my little machine, but also happen to be looking
good doing it, was enough to put a big smile on my face.
“See you.” He winked and I headed off.
As I twisted the throttle and picked up speed I noticed I
didn’t think long about his flattering comments. Within minutes they dissolved
as I returned to the feel of the road. I became once again a part of my bike,
free and connected with my surroundings. I smiled to myself feeling another
victory for the day. Not only did I stop myself from stalling, I liked who I
was becoming –a motorcycle rider, no longer just the girl in the cute jeans.
Thank you Becky for that delightful tale. Drive safely.
Feel free to tell me what's on your mind in the comment box below. Thank you for visiting.
Next week you can read an excerpt from the international thriller Dark Side of a Promise. Drake Alexander's first encounter with a deadly force in a foreign country does not go the way he planned. Now the police are involved.
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