I am working on my novel's revision, but there is one part I simply cannot describe. The sixteen-year-old girl, the novel's protagonist, must learn to ride a motorcycle. I had intended as part of this revision to speak with several people about riding, and even ride with the husband of a friend (who owned a motorcycle), getting over my own fear of being shoved off onto the pavement and having both arms ripped off.
I know my fear is likely irrational, but I was willing to overcome it for my novel in the same way I wanted my protagonist to face the fear and learn to ride the motorcycle. She faces a lot of fear in this novel, and with each test she becomes stronger and more self-reliant. I could describe her fear and her experience in almost exactly the same way I experienced it (and much of her fear I've faced and defeated in my own life).
Only I never got around to riding on a motorcycle. And my friend's husband sold the bike.
I still intend to take that motorcycle ride as soon as I can, before I start sending out this novel to actual agents and publishers, but I need some help right now so that I can complete this version and submit it to the Amazon.com contest. I will be calling my brother in Houston, since he has a bike and has definitely ridden it, so that I can get some details (where is the ignition, etc.), but I want most of all to know what it felt like to ride a motorcycle the first few times, especially the first.
I swear to heaven that I will experience it myself, and not just rely on your observations, but I have no way to do so now except through a Craiglist posting with a stranger (scarier than the motorcycle ride itself). Can you help? I welcome any description you might lend to me (I emphasize lend, though I also promise to put you in the acknowledgments).
So, what is it like to ride a motorcycle?