In 2013 I met a wonderful woman named Sue. She rode motorcycles, loved travel, and we connected at once. After some test road trips we discovered, not really a surprise to her but it was to me, that we enjoyed being on the road together, and we planned a lot of adventures together for 2014.
Then, in early 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her 2014 was a different sort of adventure, and I went along as best as I good. When she was done kicking cancer’s ass, she trained for a triathilon, and we got ready for shared adventures again.
There were some things we wanted to do first. She had a motorcycle, a Suzuki cruiser which was small, for a cruiser, but huge next to Curiosity. One one trip together, we ended up riding in some mud and she struggled some, resolving afterwards to get something similar to mine. In the end, it was another SR250, which she loved riding at once and really enjoyed tinkering with in the garage, every chance she could get.
Sue also had two girls, 9 and 11 in 2015, and any long trip would mean they had to come along. It would be easier than trying to get their dad involved anyway. Sue also wanted to learn how to ride off road, so we all signed up for an off road training class. I’d never had any real off road training, just fell off a lot and tried to pay attention why, and how to fall off less. We went to Off Road Adventures, an MSF class in Wisconsin. It was just far enough away we decided to camp to make the trip easier.
In the morning, we headed over the course, met the instructor, and got to know the bikes. Sue and I were already familier with all the basic controls, but the girls had to be shown.
With that out of the way we headed out into a field, kitted up, and got on the bikes. Kaylei, Sue’s older daughter, had to be moved up to a larger model, with clutch and kick start only. This would turn into an issue, but in the beginning it was all smiles.
It started out much as a street class does. We power walked a few times, and then started around a large oval. The oval was Kaylei’s downfall. Slowing for the corners she struggled with clutch and throttle, and stalled again and again. Even warmed up, the bike didn’t want to kick back to life, after after a few more tries she gave up and decided to watch the rest of the class and take some pictures.
Alyssa, her younger daughter, had a completely different experiance. With an automatic transmission all she had to do was twist the throttle and go, and she did a lot of going. After we all got a sense of standing on pegs and turning, some rocks, and generally comfortable, the instructor took Alyssa out on a trail ride.
Sue and I could see them occasionally off in the woods When they had done a couple laps, they were back and it was Sue and my turn. We got a rougher trail, no loop but a nice tour of part of the property. There was a two foot log to jump over, but we weren’t given the chance to try it. That might have been a good move on the instrutor’s part.
Alyssa loved having her own bike, though she is seven years from street legal. Kaylei annouced she would be just fine as a passenger, even when I told her it meant she would have to walk when the roads were bad and I didn’t want her weight on the back.
I had to head back to Milwaukee after the class, while Sue and the girls stayed another night at the campground. Everyone felt better on the bikes, and it was time for new aventures.