If The Helmet Fits, Wear It!

 PHOTO | NIINA KORTELAINEN

Things have progressed. I managed to fix my motorbike, kickstart her on the first try and then ride her up and down the drive like a total champ. I then stalled her a whole bunch and took the skin of my shin trying to get her started her again but I was living the dream in technicolour!

After experiencing this small taste of victory I realised that I couldn’t strip down Glenda (my 1974 Honda CB125S) without taking her for a proper ride on the open road, however, when I started doing the maths (a helmet plus insurance etc.) I realised I simply couldn’t afford to ride out. Then Robin (my best-friend/mechanical mentor/carer) came up with a plan…

Close by is my favourite shop in the whole world which I affectionately call the ‘dead person shop’; it is filled with the contents of dearly departed old ladies’ houses and is an absolute treasure trove. Amongst this jumble of domestic tat was a truly ugly open face helmet with no apparent damage and it was of this that Robin reminded me while I bemoaned my financials and inability to live the life of a real girl just for a day. The plan was to return to the dead person shop and if the £20 helmet fitted I would take insurance out for a day and ride the empty local lanes before bringing Glenda indoors for the winter.

And so on Saturday we returned to the shop and I tried on the helmet which fitted perfectly although it was so far away from the helmet that I wanted that I nearly didn’t buy it. I was trialling new painkillers that were making me unbearably irritable and downcast and when you feel like a stranger in your own body looking nothing like the person you recognise or want to be seen as can be hard to reconcile. These last months have been so full of such huge compromises with not being able to work or socialise normally that making concessions on my gear felt like I was cheating myself. As I stood there, helmet in hand, among the leftovers of other peoples’ lives it took an exercise of will to bring me back to the fundamental objective, a series of questions that I keep returning to: What is the imperative? The answer: to ride my motorbike. And will this minor compromise enable you to achieve this? The answer is of course, yes! And so I bought the damn helmet and have just fitted my L plates and am ready to don my cobbled together second-hand biking gear and awesome 70s Aviators for my one day of glory prior to many more glory days. Huzzah!

Danica will do whatever it takes, and is therefore the John McClane of rural England. She has found solace from chronic pain in her CB125, ‘Glenda’. Her column on IVV follows her journey navigating personal struggles, defeating internal and external obstacles to freedom and living in the best sense of the word.