My beautiful old 1966 Honda 305 dream came to me as if in a dream, earning its name rightfully and I parked it outside of my house on its sturdily steadfast center stand. It refused to start and I called my motorcycle expert/mentor and also stellar tattooist Craig for help. He gathered up the dream with great assistance from his motorcycle friend Sean – motorcyclists have lots of friends, this I noticed. They took my dream away in a big truck to their garage. I waved goodbye and enshrouded the bike in a halo of white healing light as I watched it leave my driveway. If I love you, I will do this, project onto you a luminous aura of protective energy. It’s a witch thing. It’s a wish for you and yours all the good I know. All my love in a blazing beam. I love this bike.
Later that afternoon, and much sooner than I expected, Craig called and said cheerily, “you’ve got a running bike here!” and held up the phone to the Dream’s engine as it growled sweet and angelic for me to hear, like a baby vocalizing semi-words or some other joyous noise that sounds both reassuring and exhilarating to the listener. An ancient engine finally turning over after hours of attempts with electric starter and kick is music to any vintage bike owner’s ears. In this case, a dream come true and a pun utterly intended.
I raced over with Ian and Felon – my motorcycle friends – and plucked my bike from the impressive array of vintage 2 wheel wonders at Craig and Sean’s and pulled it out onto the street. I put on Sean’s daughter’s copper sparkle Bell helmet and rode slowly up the hill and back down it, traveling mere inches per hour, unsteady and in tremendous fear, the kind I have been getting to know more intimately with all my motorcycle adventures and misadventures thus far. The bike wanted to move faster but it was content on humoring me with its constant cooing and fine old engine, 46 years after its mass production and insane popularity and still going strong.
The bike came home and sat on a trickle charger for an hour, as I put on every piece of my gear and even pepto bismol pink chaps, the exact color of the infamous stomach medicine or maybe shade lighter than a linty wad of bubblegum stuck eternally underneath a 5thgrader’s desk. I fantasized briefly that if I ever competed in the Isle of Man TT that Pepto Bismol would sponsor me, my signature pink racing leathers embossed with the marigold bubble font that just screams of intestinal distress. That would be such an excellent endorsement. “Here she comes around this corner and she is about to shit her pants. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-nd she just shit her pants.”
With my bright lemon yellow vintage Volvo mechanic shirt and white whipped cream body armor fitted racing jacket I looked like a sherbet sundae with a black cherry of a helmet on top. I need you to see me when I am riding, so my protective gear is all pastel and white like an easter egg getting tossed at you. I am going to fill my saddlebags with hollow chocolate bunnies and PEEPS. Craig thoughtfully took the baffles off the bike so you can hear me coming for you from miles away. I am here to burn your eyes and ears with my presence and then I will give you candy.
I sat on the bike on the top of my driveway with all my womanchild gear and my fantasies and my dream and I couldn’t go down it. I was suddenly paralyzed by fear. The sun blazed hot on my head and I was sweating panicked rivers down my back beneath layers of leather and foam padding. I held the bike there between my shaky legs for several minutes, wondering whether I should or could just go. I was freezing cold and boiling hot at the same time.
It occurred to me that I hadn’t ridden alone at all. There had always been witnesses, multiple witnesses. Now there were none. Until that moment, this hobby and new fixation had been a tremendously social one, and part of the pleasure of it was the intense brotherly bonding, distinctly male and appealing to the side of me that enjoys boy things like fishing and gay sex.
For the first time, I was alone, and things can go terribly bad very quickly in isolation. This I know from vast experience as a loner in my fairly long life so far. As if by magic, likely the witch in me summoning someone for help, my go-to guy ian called, and I held the iphone near the front of my visor and yelled into it. Ian came over and rolled the bike easily down the driveway and down the street. I got on it, engine revving and thirstily chugging down on its now full belly of premium gas, I put it into first gear and rode an inspiring 50 feet and stalled out.
I couldn’t get the Dream going again, although even in times of doubt and trouble, the bike never lost its ability to attract. A man came out of his house to help me, and then another stopped his car in the middle of the street and left it there as he got out to watch me up close kick and fiddle and clutch and repeat, opening and closing the choke as if I knew what I was doing. The men breathed in the fumes of nostalgia coming off the dream and peered at me through the gasoline blurred lens of their memory. They had a bike like this they said. They remembered these bikes well. They hadn’t even thought of one in ages and the sight of it brought them immediate and unprepared to their youth. I could see them as they were, once young and excited. their eyes pointed not at me but deep into the past. This bike is making the years reverse. Two wheels running counterclockwise. If it would only just do what I asked. If it would only listen to my hands and feet. It could take strangers back in time, but it could not take me around the block.
Craig rolled up to revive the Dream in his 1930s era Harley-Davidson, with the gear shift on the gas tank and a foot operated clutch, a mysterious configuration between bike and car, an old school hybrid. Its v-twin engine looked like double d breasts dissolving into a tiny waist, a voluptuous wonder, Jessica Rabbit as motorcycle if such were so. He pulled out tools from saddlebags and we ran our fingers on the ground looking for infinitesimal screws dropped from the grips. He diagnosed the Dream’s problem deft as a psychic surgeon and the bike was soon humming and running and stayed up all day with me as I traversed the barren asphalt length of a nearby parking lot, too slow even for second gear as I passed Ian and Felon time and time again, standing in the shade like two proud dads, encouraging me with each completed circle to go faster on the next.