On Buying A Motorcycle

Sarah McMahon
5 min readNov 22, 2020

[Listen to an audio version of this blog HERE.]

I bought a motorcycle in July. I just needed to feel alive, I guess. My more typical methods weren’t cutting it anymore. Running, drinking, writing, climbing mountains, having sex, traveling, performing. All of it was either unavailable, stale, or bordering on unhealthy. Amid quarantine, I fished for new hobbies that would not be impacted by said quarantine. I tried painting, but painting requires a certain patience and slowness that entirely bummed me out. Besides, between writing and quarantine paralysis, I was feeling creatively tapped. I bought a nice camera and slowly figured out the bells and whistles, but still, my itch was not scratched. I decided I ought to learn something new, so downloaded Duolingo with the intention of learning Spanish. That soon grew redundant and stale as well. I was running into proverbial roadblock after roadblock when I decided to sign up for a motorcycle riding course.

Prior to July, I had only ever been on the back of a motorcycle, usually with dudes trying to impress me on dates. Now that I ride a motorcycle, I see them everywhere. I notice each machine, and the person riding it, and I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen thousands of dudes with a girl on the back but I’ve never seen, or noticed, the opposite. I’ve also seen far fewer females than males, which is neither here nor there. Here in Orange County, there is a significant population of old, beer-bellied, grey-haired men who ride, sometimes together, sometimes alone, usually on a very loud, very souped-up Harley Davidson.

I’ve ridden with another person two separate times. Both were “dates” that essentially consisted of us sitting on our separate machines at red lights and nodding to each other through helmets. I didn’t especially enjoy these dates. One of them ended on a particularly weird note when the guy kept telling me things about my bike that I already know: that it’s carbureted, that the chain is an O-ring chain, that I need to check the oil every 5,000 miles if it’s semi-synthetic (did I know the difference between semi and fully synthetic?), and that I should really think about getting it painted.

That last part annoyed me a bit. My bike is what people colloquially call a “beater.” It’s a 2003 Kawasaki ZS-7R, with a 750cc motor and 34,000 miles. I bought it…

Sarah McMahon

Blogger | Poet | Freelancer | Ultra Runner IG: @mcmountain email: sarahrose.writer@gmail.com