I have to ride to Brockton to get my free inspection sticker and figured this would be a good introduction between Sky and the Connie. Mainly slab with some city traffic. I was quite impressed with Sky’s awareness of the environment around him on our previous ride, so I wasn’t concerned with his in traffic skills.
I have always had this internal debate going inside me of whether or not promoting riding to an 18 year old is a good thing. Am I giving him a loaded gun and then get to watch him play Russian roulette like the move from Deer Hunter. Brrrrrrr enough of the bad vibes.
I call Sky and ask him if he wants to go and take the Connie. He has not seen the FJR yet. I pick him up and tell him we are going to head to a parking lot, so he could get used to the Connie. I tell him the Connie is much more powerful, brakes much stronger, the bike is a lot heavier and he needs some practice before we hit the road.
I get the Connie started and point it toward the street. I tell him we are just going down the block and to hop on the bike and we will ride there together. He says, “Dad trust me”. To which I reply “I do trust you, but I would prefer that we just do it my way” Again a plea for trusting him (I really think he thinks his package will disappear if he is found on the back of the bike), against my better judgment, I acquiesce.
Sky pulls out onto the street and dutiful follows me to the church parking lot. I pull in and he follows right behind me.
Sky then proceeds to literally run circles around me like an Indian in an old western, tightening the circle with each revolution. To say the least I am very impressed with his slow speed maneuvers. I finally get him to stop and I say, “OK OK I am impressed. By the way be careful of the tip-over bars on the Connie. Your lean angel is so steep you are very close to hitting the tip-overs, which will take you down faster than you can spit.”
I then say, and I can say with that fatherly pride, “You just might be able to outdo me on riding skills. Very nice !!"
Couple the long trip Sky took with us on the Rebel and the skill he showed me today, I no longer have a fear of him being able to ride the Connie. However, I will continue to worry about him overextending the limits of the bike or himself or both.
As an ancedote to the story, later in the day as we were getting ready to leave Brockton Cycle, Sky hopped on the Connie began a sharp turn and I saw it in his eyes. The bike rather than making the turn he expected continued to head for the ground. Yes he had a tip-over as I watched him step away from the bike in bewilderment of what happened. I also got to witness first hand just how effective the tip-over bars worked. Not one piece of plastic, front or rear, ever touched the ground, with the 2 loops of metal that so uglyily protruding from the sides of the Connie, kept the the bike looking like it was just moments before. Sky emerged with maybe a bruised ego, but physically unmarred.
I simply tuned to Sky and said, "I take back everything I said this morning", with a sympathetic smile on my face [it was borderline smirking, since he showed me up earlier in the day]. We had lunch about a 1/2 hour later and over chili, we talked about the incident. While I believe he had respect for the Connie and bikes in general, that simple incident firmly planted in his mind that one must be acutely aware that this hobby can be inherently dangerous.