One of the first things I noticed when we moved to Barcelona 2 1/2 years ago was the abundance of motos - and not just an abundance but I believe the second highest population in the world (next to Rome). With a temperate climate that doesn't dip much below the 50s in the wintertime, the moto is an easy and efficient way to get around the city all year round.
However, being the total control freak that I am, my first thought when I arrived here was, "I'll never ever ride on one of those death traps". And for almost 2 years I held out. When Josh and I went to Formentera last fall we each rented one. Now please keep in mind that Formentera is similar to Nantucket - it's not very built up and in the off season (which is when we went) there is little to no traffic, in fact many streets we drove on had no other cars or motos travelling on them when we were. And yet, both Josh and I managed to have one accident each, just reaffirming the fact that we will never ever own a moto in Barcelona (which for the record Josh would very much like to acquire and I have said absolutely not) and that I had no intent of actually getting on one in the city where the risk of accident was even higher!!!
I have friends with motos. In the past we've joked about the fact that I absolutely refuse to ever ride on the back of one with them. And that I will gladly just meet them at our destination via another mode of transportation. But in the end, I caved... it was bound to happen sooner or later though I had hoped later (being like never). And I will actually admit, I kind of enjoyed it. It was a bit of an adreneline rush. Though I'll never admit it to them ;)
And I thought I did pretty good for my first time. I'll admit to coming close to squeezing the life out of my friend in fear of falling off the moto. But I made it to IKEA and I made it there alive and in one piece. I wasn't thrilled at weaving in and out of traffic but I'll admit, my friend made me feel very safe and not once did I feel he was driving out of control. But not being in the driver's seat makes me feel out of control all on it's own.
I did pretty well up til I realized that I would actually have to ride on it again in order to get back home....once again, not thrilled with certain moments (like driving at 100 kph in a tunnel) but the panic of the first ride had definitely subsided and I felt slightly more comfortable with the concept and once again, I felt pretty good about how we did. That is, til we got back and my friend told me that the two rides that day were my freebies... that in the future, for my safety, for his safety and supposedly for both of our comfort, I could no longer squeeze the life out of him while riding but instead need to hold on to the back of the bike. Why? Because it causes the bike to be unbalanced because unknowingly I was leaning to the side in order to not bang our helmets together. In hindsight, it makes total sense... so much for thinking I was doing so great and leaning to the appropriate side where the bike would lean - feeling like a pro... ok, definitely not like a pro, but better than a novice.
My friends were impressed because I had been absolutely adamant that I would never ever ever ride on one of these death machines. And yet, I not only went to and from IKEA last week, but I've been on one other time since and this time, yup, I did much better and held on to the back. And you know what, my friend was right, it was definitely more comfortable and although I still managed to squeeze my knees into his side to maintain my balance, I'm pretty proud of myself.
In the end, I'm glad I took the chance on something I normally never would have done. That I took a risk that scared the life out of me and yet didn't let it stop me from moving forward. When we moved to Barcelona it was to take a chance on life, to do something that was out of our comfort zone and after all this time, I think I'd forgotten that - so it felt good to get back down to the basics of trying new things. Based on this, do I have any intention of purchasing a moto?? Um, never!! But will I ride with them again... absolutely...