Sometime around the age of twelve, I convinced my parents to get me a minibike. Upon getting it home, I climbed aboard and immediately gunned it, slewing out of control toward the house, which I narrowly avoided before ditching in the leeching field. A year or two later, a friend let me ride his dad's three-wheeler, which I promptly sent crashing into some trees. (I was unscathed, having had the good sense to bail out while I was still on the lawn.) Thinking that perhaps four wheels would bring me some salvation, I got myself a Kawasaki Mojave ATV. We don't really need to elaborate on what happened with that, because I'm not sure what the statute of limitations is on getting grounded by your parents. Let's just say that when you've got fractured ribs, it's hard to act as if you don't.
It's obvious that I'm not cut out for motorcycles and their ilk. So, naturally, I have a motorcycle license. Because, despite my multiple near-death experiences, I think motorcycles are cool. They have motors, they're loud, and they go insanely fast. Therefore, they fit the criteria of Things That I Think Are Awesome. There's only one problem: motorcycles are unspeakably terrifying. They're just like cars, except much faster and with no air bags or seat belts or doors, and they can tip over and crush you and send you pinwheeling down the highway until your knees are hinged like saloon doors and your face is on the wrong side of your head. But I refuse to let petty concerns like fear or rationality dictate my behavior, so I decide to ride two very different bikes in an attempt to expand my comfort zone. First up is Bombardier's Can-Am Spyder "roadster," a motorcycle that addresses the whole tip-over-and-die problem by adding 50 percent more wheels to the standard motorcycle format. With one fat tire in the back and two smaller ones up front, the Spyder looks like a chopper that crashed into an ATV in the year 3015. I mean that in a good way.
The Spyder does 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which, in the demented world of motorcycles, is tepid. It has stability control, so you'd have to be a real goon to tip it over. The Spyder even includes a reverse gear and a trunk. Basically, it's like a car with handlebars, which is why I love it.
My father-in-law, a longtime Harley guy, hates the Spyder, because it feels weird to him not to lean in the corners. Well, I don't want to lean in the corners. I want to stay as far away from the pavement as possible, preferably inside a metal shell filled with pillows. So the Spyder is a step in the right direction, a taste of the motorcycle experience with somewhat less mortal peril. Plus, it will do burnouts.
With my confidence bolstered, I feel the urge to really push my limits and exorcise my old minibike demons. I need to show motorcycles who's boss by climbing astride the most fearsome machine in the land and taming it like Siegfried and Roy tamed their tigers, except for that one time. So, you ask, did I ride a Suzuki Hayabusa, or how about one of the more high-strung Ducatis? Please. When I have kids, I'll give them Hayabusas with training wheels to ride around the neighborhood and chase the ice-cream truck. I need a real challenge. I need a Sabertooth WildCat.