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  • I just started learning to ride my motorcycle after an entire summer of the bike sitting, then getting to the repair shop. My friend showed me the ropes on starting and stopping to ensure that I didn't kill myself, on or off his watch. Getting the hang of it, I came to the very first achievement of my riding. The kids.

    While channeling focus to make the clutch engage first gear from stop, a neighborhood kid with a scooter and a red shirt rolled by.

    "I like your motorcycle."
    "Thanks."
    "Is it yours?"
    "Yeah. That's my friend. He's helping me."
    "Does he have a bike too?"
    "Yeah he does. It's nice, I really like it."

    Then back to the grind. Later, down the cul-de-sac.

    "Getting the hang of it?"
    "Yeah."

    I came to understand a large part of being a motorcycle rider the very first day: Eyes will be upon you, but eyes will also not be upon you.

    Drivers are careless and won't see you. But the ladies, little kids, and guys enjoying the sight and sound on a hot, dwindling Summer day will feel a change in the winds.

    Having had enough start and stop for the afternoon, I pulled out of our street and concentrated. First gear came flush and suddenly, I felt the gears moving up, flawless. I tore down the stretch then braked down to 25 MPH to downshift into second for the neighborhood cruise.

    Cake.
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