Since Monday night I’ve been walking around with this giant, prickly, irate chip on my shoulder and I really don’t want to talk about it, but I feel like if I don’t, I won’t ever get over it. It has to do with inequality in the world of motorcycle riding, and me making a painful mistake.
Thankfully, I have never felt the sting of the whole men vs. women inequality in the world. I’ve never felt passed up for a job because I’m a woman, or felt that I can’t or wasn’t allowed to do something because I’m a woman, but there is this weird attitude in the world of motorcycles that still exists that makes me feel like I’m always under a microscope, that I have to live up to a different set of standards in order to earn respect. Although I’ve been riding for seven years, people assume that I’m a new rider when they hear that I ride motorcycles. I get looks, I get glances, I get comments, I ignore them, but they tend to be condescending and along the lines of “how cute, a girl riding a motorcycle”. This make me, number one, want to punch people in the face, but number two, want to ride better, harder, tighter and show you–you condescending jerk–that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not a girl riding a motorcycle, I’m just a motorcycle rider.
Unfortunately, last weekend, I had a bit of a motorcycle crash. It was nothing major, the bike is hurt more than me, my knees will heal but unfortunately fiberglass and metal won’t heal themselves and this is hurting my wallet more than anything. Actually, no, I take that back. It’s hurting my attitude 1,000% more than anything else.
Sure, I’m mad at myself for screwing up, but mostly because now I have to pay to buy new parts for the bike and I’d rather spend that money on rum punch in St. Martin next month. As Luke always says, you’ll never meet anyone who drives a car who hasn’t been in a car accident, and you’ll never meet anyone who rides a motorcycle who hasn’t been in a motorcycle accident. I get that and I forgive myself the mistake, but what I can’t forgive is the fact that I’m now another statistic, another girl who crashed her bike.
I fully understand the fact that it could have been anyone, it could have been Luke–it HAS been Luke in the past, it’s been my dad, it’s been everyone I know (mostly men) who ride motorcycles–but what are you going to remember? The five stories in the news last weekend about men who got into motorcycle accidents, or the one chick you rode past in Coventry on Monday afternoon with her bike in the ditch?
If Luke crashed the bike, people would think: that sucks, but that’s life. People see that I crashed and they think that I am incapable of riding and that must be why I crashed. THAT, right there, is my problem. I am not incapable. I know that. Accidents happen. So what do I do to get over this? Right now I’m hiding my bruises and wearing long pants and telling anyone that asks that I had “a little accident”. It’s vague enough to keep them from asking more. They probably think Luke’s beating me, who knows.
The truth is that I’m ashamed and I don’t want to be ashamed and that makes me mad. It’s a spiral of shame and anger and indignation: I crashed, damn, but oh well, it happens. But now I’m another girl who can’t ride her bike. BUT I’M NOT. But you think I am, so I’m going to hide my band-aids and not talk about it. But I should talk about it because it happens. It happens all the time to everyone. It’ll happen again.
And really I don’t know how to wrap this all up so I guess I’ll just end it here. If you made it this far, thank you. I’m sorry it wasn’t a funny story today or new pictures of the chickens. I just needed to get it all out, to organize my fury, to tell my story and clear my mind. I hate the phrase, but, it is what it is.
If you’re worried, please don’t be. I have some road rash and stiff muscles–wear good riding gear, kids, because my helmet fared much better than my skull would have against the pavement and my gloves and riding jacket saved a whole lot of precious skin–but I’m fine. The poor bike went down on the left and has a lot of scrapes. I sheared off the shift peg and scratched the hell out of the clutch cover. I bent the handlebars but left the mirrors and signals untouched, so that was good news. It’s not major but it still sucks. If you happen to have any spare parts for a 2000 Buell M2 Cyclone you want to send my way, I wouldn’t turn them down.