by Liz Jansen
Even though most of you know me as an author and seasoned rider, it’s time for me to share secrets you might not have known. These things will not appear in my author bio.
As I dig deeper into my past to understand the culture I was born into, I’ll find other fun facts I’ll share from time to time. You’ll catch the theme here very quickly but I thought I’d get the most embarrassing moments out of the way.
- At 17, I dropped a motorcycle with my 5-year old sister Mary Barry on it. She was one of my first passengers and you can imagine that we had great fun flying around the family farm on my brothers’ Honda Cub. She received an exhaust burn when we fell over coming up the treed ravine at the back of the farm. The little angel wore knee socks and never said a word. Undeterred, once her boys were born she went on to get her own bike. Mom and dad would never have known had she not told inadvertently them about the story as she related it at a Dale Carnegie course thirty years later.
- At 24, I dropped my friend Debra Holmes off the back of my 650 Yamaha. She remembers it better than I but apparently we pulled into the parking lot at a local convenience store and I lost my balance, couldn’t hold us up and we toppled to the ground. She’s still not over it and hasn’t been a passenger since. We are still best friends however.
- Newly separated and eager to demonstrate my independence, I pulled into a gas station to fuel up my then-new FZ1 before meeting friends for a ride. For some reason, I decided that was also a good time to check the oil level. Never having done it before, I heaved the bike up on the center stand. The oil was fine, but I couldn’t get it off the stand. Finally, I stood beside it, and intending to pull it towards me, put the side stand down. I gave it a mighty heave, unfortunately pushing too hard away from me, onto its side. Two burly guys stood staring but not for long. I composed myself and took charge, commanding them, “Don’t just stand there. Come over here and pick it up!” And that’s exactly what happened.
- Sometime around age 50, I took my niece Andrea Jansen for a ride on the back of the FZ1. The curb cut coming at the end of their driveway is very high so I was cautious—too cautious—and used the front brake as I was leaving the driveway and turning. The bike hit the pavement as we jumped clear. Her story is she flew 10′ and nailed the landing. Her dad, my brother, watched the whole thing and helped me pick it up. Unfazed, she got back on and away we went, after she put her gloves back on.
- This one’s actually appeared in previous posts but it bears repeating here. Finishing up a day of photo shoots, I decided to stop at the Morningstar Mill at Decew Falls in St. Catharines. My Super Ténéré was still new and unblemished. Riding in the loose gravel banked driveway I suspected I might have trouble getting it out. I’d parked on a grade with the front wheel lower than the rear. I’d have to pull it back up against gravity, on gravel. I managed to move it about a foot and then decided to find help. Thinking I had the sidestand down, I began walking away and you can see the outcome. There was no one around to help and I couldn’t pull off an uphill lift. So I went out the road and hailed down these two guys and watched the taller one pick it up as if it was a toy.
Related Post: 10 Things to do with a Dropped Motorcycle