He asked me if I wanted to take a ride. My friends kept walking (as you do when strangers talk to you on the streets of Chicago) but I stopped dead in my tracks. I was having a moment. I never thought this opportunity would present itself for real! But here it was. Could I? Should I? Probably not… but did I HAVE to? I looked the strange man in the eyes and said, “Absolutely.” Nothing is more important than my bucket list.

I  have Always had a fascination with motorcycles. I was born in Milwaukee and recall seeing masses of motorcycles diving past my home each year. Motorcycles are cool! Obviously I enjoy bike riding… What could possibly be better than hurling yourself down the street on a much faster motorized bike? Twice the fun, half the work. It’s a win-win situation.

Unfortunately my family was not a motorcycle family. We lived in the suburbs in Minnesota and nobody in our quiet little neighborhood had one. My parents said motorcycles were dangerous and certainly not worth the risk. Everyone knows that the second your parents disapprove of something it becomes ten times more exciting… So I added motorcycle riding to my bucket list.

The problem is that I don’t have a motorcycle nor do I know how to operate one. So my goal evolved into “get on the back of a strangers motorcycle and go for a ride.” You see it happen in the movies from time to time. Why not make it happen in real life? It was a beautiful dream. I would ride of into the sunset with a charming motorcycle gentleman as my hair flowed flawlessly behind me glistening in the light.

I believe that most men who purchase motorcycles do so because they are buying into the same dream. They have a vision. This vehicle will affirm their masculinity and make them cool! They will be more attractive to the ladies! They see themselves sweeping gorgeous women off their feet and riding off into the sunset with their flowing locks blowing in the breeze. Of course that’s not really how it goes because of male pattern baldness and stranger danger, but that’s the dream.

This idea lived in the back of my head for a number of years. I never thought I would realize it. Most of my fantasies are just that because they are unrealistic or just plain dumb. In reality it has to be incredibly stupid to get on the back of a strangers motorcycle. You don’t know who they are or where they are taking you. Anything could happen. You could end up in some serial killers basement being turned into a lampshade because stranger danger is real.

Fast forward several years. I was walking down the street with a group of my friends. We were headed to a party in the middle of summer and we walked past a group of middle aged Russian men hanging out by the sidewalk with their motorcycles. Not an unusual sight. I gazed longingly at the beautiful bikes as my friends and I strolled past. One of the men apparently gazed into my soul. He could see that we had a shared fantasy. I clearly understood the dream. He knew that I was one of those women just crazy enough to put good sense aside for an even better story.

He asked me if I wanted to take a ride. My friends kept walking (as you do when strangers talk to you on the streets of Chicago) but I stopped dead in my tracks. I was having a moment. I never thought this opportunity would present itself for real! But here it was. Could I? Should I? Probably not… but did I HAVE to? I looked the strange man in the eyes and said, “Absolutely.” Nothing is more important than my bucket list.

 

My friends thought I had lost my freaking mind. Not only was I talking to strangers on the street but I had apparently just agreed to mount a motorcycle ride away with a 45 year old Russian man named Edward. When Edward asked me if I knew how to ride a motorcycle I replied, “Of course. I’m from Milwaukee, home of the Harley.” My friends looked on with concern as I lied through my teeth.

 
Only moments later I found myself straddling this motorcycle, my arms wrapped firmly around Edward, feeling both terrified and excited, questioning all of the life choices that had led to this moment where I was about to head off to… Wherever this man felt like taking me.

You can hear the worried thoughts of my friends in the background. But it happened. It was amazing. Edward and I went careening down the street at an insanely unintelligent speed and then he brought me right back. I hopped off and headed to the party with my friends feeling thrilled that I had knocked this fantastic item off my bucket list. None of my friends have looked at me the same way since but it was worth it. I regret nothing.

The new item on my endlessly expanding bucket list is learning to ride a motorcycle for myself. I am going to make this happen because that cannot be my only motorcycle story. I’ve had a taste and I need more. Motorcycles are a lot like heroin that way.

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