Sunday, April 25, 2010

Motorcycles R' Us

Robin and I return to the repair shop later one evening, only to find the place closed.

Our hearts sink as we pull up to the empty, locked garage bay door. I physically restrain robin from grabbing a crow bar and trying to break in. We drive back home, and Robin agrees to teach me to ride his 125cc motorcycle, his small, black, ghetto motorcycle.

The ignition doesn't work, so he teaches me to kick-start the bike. This takes some effort, but after a bruised calf muscle, I manage to get it going. I hop on back and Robin takes me to some deserted road in the foothills of Jinhae, his home and the town directly South of Changwon.

He gets off and explains the gears, which I am already somewhat familiar with.

"So how do I know if I've hit neutral if the light isn't working?"
"The light will work when the battery charges up again, but don't worry about neutral just yet."
"Now, when I go from first gear to second, how will I know if I'm in neutral or second."
"If you're not looking for neutral, you'll miss it. If you push up hard enough you'll go right past it." Don't worry about that for now."

So he explains where a few more of the controls are and off I go! I get it into first and go a whopping 30 feet without falling over. I then try to turn, but almost drop it, as motorcycles are shockingly heavy and unweildy when unpowered.

"Watch it there! Just try to go straight for now. Worry about turning later!"
"Ummmm..... OK."

I take it again in a straight line, this time with no trouble. So I start down the hill and shift into second. I'm really going now. I hear Robin yelling something but I tune him out and concentrate. There's some traffic! Oh no! Better turn around before I kill myself. I try to turn it, and attempt to control the motorcycle in a turn. Doesn't work very well and I'm going all over the place in first gear. I manage a 180 turn (barely) without falling. Only problem is, my turning radius is far too wide, and I careen into the curb on the opposite side of the street and drop it. Crash! :P

Robin comes running down the hill, his gangly 6 foot 4 inches bounding nearly as fast as second gear. "TYLER! TYLER! ARE YOU OK??!!"

His concern bemuses me slightly, as I crashed the thing at less than 10 kph, and suffer nothing but a slight bruise on a foot. He helps me pick it up and I manage to ride it back up the hill.

Once at the top, I do some loops in a circle at a very deserted intersection.

Suddenly, Robin gets hungry and declares that I have passed the first day's lessons. We head into town late that night, where he shows me his favorite restaurant.

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