It's about 7:00 PM and I've almost completed my 7 hour, scenic ride to Calgary to visit family. I pull into a parking lot in Banff to turn around, take a moment to park the bike and have a coffee break.
It's a restaurant parking lot and there are plenty of people milling about. Happy families with wide-eyed kids ogling the spaceman on a motorcycle.
I feel rested, it's time to get back on the road. I parked nose-first in a space, so I walk the bike out into a nice starting position. I know that I should put the side-stand down and do a proper mount, but I'm smooth mr spaceman Jeff on his shiny motorcycle, so I just throw a leg over.
I immediately discover that just throwing a leg over was a mistake. The bike leans a little too much for comfort, and 613 pounds of motorcycle are leaning against the only leg I have planted on the ground. I put my other foot down quickly, to give myself more stability, but this pushes the bike further down. I feel the mass of the bike as it crosses that threshold between vertical and horizontal.
I shifted my leg and braced myself as I gripped the handlebars. I was not dropping this stupid bike while those damn kids were watching me with their ‘ogling’ eyes. Every ounce of strength went into pulling against the mass of that bike, and by sheer brute force I kept it from touching the ground.
With a great heave, I pulled the bike upright, and sat upon my seat of glory. I had battled the most fundamental forces of the universe and come out victorious. The motorcycle gods had tested me, and I was vindicated. The spectators did not see a man drop his motorcycle at a complete stop today, nosiree. They saw a man wrestle a rebellious machine into obedience. They saw a man in complete control of the world around him.
Then, I proceeded to stall the engine pulling out of the parking lot…