The last piece of the puzzle

- Jun 03, 2014
Today I woke up early with the morning sunshine streaming happily through the window and in that hazy state of consciousness between dreaming and waking I had a flutter of excitement. Remember Christmas when you were kid? That’s kind of what it was like. All of those weeks of excitement and anticipation distilled into one golden moment. Of course it wasn’t Christmas this morning; but it might as well have been, what with the spring in my step as I bounded down the stairs. Indeed, I very nearly flew to the window, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Today I am buying a bike.

After all the searching, googling, emailing, and searching and googling and emailing some more I have found something. Actually, Brent deserves the credit for finding it: a 1986 Yamaha Radian 600. All I had to do was say yes…which I promptly did.

Getting a bike was really the last piece in the puzzle for me. Just a few days earlier I had written the motorcycle knowledge test, which, I have to confess, I had an almost paranoid fear of failing. I read the book…twice, I went to ICBC’s website and did their practice exams…more than twice. The only thing I couldn’t prepare for was the eye exam, but I would have studied for that too if I could have. I spent my lunch hour at ICBC with a room full of sixteen year olds, all of us nervously twiddling our thumbs and alternately double checking the crumpled up numbers in our hands against the numbers on the screens to make sure they hadn’t already called us and we’d somehow missed it. I suppose failing isn’t really the end of the world. I would have just paid another fifteen dollars again to write it again the next day along with a complimentary slice of humble pie.

I had just found a helmet that I liked too. Going shopping for motorcycle gear can be a little daunting for the uninitiated. Strolling around various shops in my flip-flops, tentatively peering at jackets and poking around helmets (are you allowed to just try them on?) I’m sure I looked like a fish out of water. The staff can smell a rookie a mile away, no doubt; but a few had pity on me and were pretty accommodating. I have been told that in addition to finding a style you like, a helmet that fits well is essential.   A snug fit with no pressure points on your head, unless you want a splitting headache after thirty minutes of riding. I opted for a glossy black open face helmet with a pair of goggles. To test my own helmet I’m wearing it now, and it looks pretty sharp around the house even if I do say so myself. It really is amazing how much extraneous noise it cuts out. We have four kids- I should have bought one of these years ago…

I was so jazzed to see the Radian that as soon as the older kids went off to school I threw the two youngest in the van and off we went. My son was like a kid in a candy store in Brent’s shop (and I wasn’t much better) and when you get a chance to see it for yourself you’ll know how he felt. The baby slept through the whole event, I guess motorcycles aren’t her thing yet.

The bike looked better in real life than it did in the picture. The registration says its red, but it’s not. It’s burgundy. It has a small scuff on the right muffler, not so much as you’d notice, but enough to give it a bit of attitude, which I like. I eased myself into the seat, surprised at how easily the bike balanced underneath me; it was lighter than I was expecting, too. I leaned into the handlebars and pressed the ignition. It jumped into life and the engine settled into a throaty growl. I closed my eyes and smiled.

It looked good. It sounded good.

I can’t wait to ride it.


David Balfour was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and has since lived in Edmonton, Alberta, as well as British Columbia’s Cariboo and Kootenay regions before settling in the Okanagan. David has had a variety of career tangents through the years: he was a roadie for a rock band in the 1990s, he worked on a mushroom farm, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, owned a small business and is currently completing his Education degree at the University of British Columbia.

David is new to the world of motorcycles in general and MotoVida in particular. However, a love found later in life is better than a love never found at all. He lives in Kelowna, BC with his wife, Lindsay and their four children, Emma, Annie, Aidan and Cordelia, and the Radian, his motorcycle.


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