Dykes on bikes – and in marriage


Dykes on Bikes at the New York Pride March

I’ve been really good at analogies lately (Re: It’s not the timing of the market), so here’s another one for you.

Today Marianne and I went to a Ride Like a Pro Class which is a motorcycle skills class designed to improve your slow riding ability. Anyone can 90 miles an hour in a straight line, it’s what you do when the little old church lady pulls out in front of you in her Buick or when the closest gas station is behind you on the other side of the road.

Skills taught include things like making a U-Turn in a 24-foot radius (about the size of a two lane road) while keeping both feet off the ground, weaving in and out of cones spaced 12 feet apart to simulate dodging an obstacle, stopping (or slowing) quickly and then swerving to, again, avoid the old church lady and riding figure 8s to increase your comfort hanging out in the “friction zone,” the space between holding your clutch all the way in and letting it all the way out, right when your bike begins to “pull” forward. The idea there is to ride slow while still staying upright. To understand what I’m talking about, check out these videos.

Almost all of these maneuvers require to A) turn your head and eyes in the direction you want to travel and B) trust your equipment to do what it’s supposed to do (and it will). Both of which freak(ed) me out immensely. The idea that my 750 pound motorcycle could lean into tight U-Turns without going down scared the bejezus out of me, but once I took control, remembered to look where I was going, use my friction zone and trust the bike everything fell into place.

So it is with relationships.

They require communication, constant minor adjustments to keep them running smooth, both actual skill and intuitive sensing of what the other person wants and needs and refresher classes from time to time so they don’t get stale.

When everything works together, it’s a beautiful thing. When it doesn’t, you drop the bike, which sucks. Luckily, they covered that in class today and I now know how to pick up my awkwardly heavy bike all alone. Of course, it’s always better when another peron is there to help. Once again it takes, teamwork, communication and skill.

I have yet to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but I’m thinking it now might be completely applicable.

Bikes. Relationships. Philosophy. Completely different yet completely harmonious. Beautiful.


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