So I have a secret I’ve been wanting to tell you.
No, I’m not pregnant (sorry Leslie).
I learned how to ride a motorcycle, and then I bought one. And I didn’t tell you because I didn’t tell my dad because I didn’t want to have an angry Eastern European swearing at me in Hungarian. Also I didn’t want to be disowned.
I almost told you before but I got scared that my dad might read it, or that my stepmom might read it and then tell my dad, so I deleted all the motorcycle references (which made it a pretty weak post, so I’m sorry about that). But now he has a Vespa and I’m throwing caution to the wind, so you get to know.
I took the motorcycle course in mid-May, bought the bike a couple days before I left for China in early June, and – fearing jetlag – had a neighbour bring it home for me once I was back from China in late June. I was then either thwarted by weather or too busy to ride it or too scared to go alone until almost a week later, when I decided to stop making excuses and just go. I survived my first ride.
The bike didn’t.
I started off by riding up and down my apartment building’s parkade a few times. The coating on the floor was and is incredibly sticky, and every time I turned a corner I thought I was going to fall over. I almost just parked the bike again and gave up, but I convinced myself to stop being a wimp and get out on the road before I ended up never riding the bike again.
To raise the gate when exiting our parkade, you drive over a thin air hose, and the pressure triggers the gate. The bike wasn’t heavy enough to trigger it. To my relief, a car pulled up to enter the parkade, and I got my friction point all ready for the hill start to exit as they entered.
I stalled. The gate shut.
Then a car pulled up behind me, and after a few minutes of trying to get my point across by waving my arms around like a crazy person, the driver pulled far enough forward to trigger the gate. This time I made it out. After a few minutes of freaking out every time a car pulled up beside me or behind me, I got comfortable. I rode out to my old university campus and it was fine. More than fine. The wind and the power and the adrenaline were amazing. It reminded me of galloping a horse around a track. I could have happily stayed on a highway for hours.
(I did notice that I was starting to pick up some of my riding habits again. For example, every time I slowed to a stop, instead of saying “clutch and braaaake” like the school taught us, I would say “whoaaaa.” Judge away.)
Anyway, I got back to and into the parkade without incident. It wasn’t until I was turning the bike around a tight corner to pull in behind my car that it started to tip over… and dropped. The manfriend had been making fun of me for buying a bike that I can’t pick up (but what bike would I be able to pick up? Even the tiny powerless ones are 200 pounds), but I didn’t really take it seriously until I was standing there in the parkade next to my horizontal bike with no idea what to do. The course I took never taught us how to pick up a bike if we dropped it (the closest they came to it was mentioning that, as a girl, men would come running from all directions to help me. As far as I could tell, there was no one – male or female – in the parkade). Luckily, a few minutes later, another guy on a motorcycle rode by on his way out, and immediately stopped to help me. Within the following minute, two other cars stopped and also offered assistance. All of these neighbours got really excited that I had a bike and kept telling me how beautiful it was. Which I maybe would have taken a bit more seriously if the beautiful bike in question wasn’t still lying prone on the parkade floor, the plastic cover for the right turn signal smashed (along with my heart and ego and hopes and dreams).
Telling a friend about it hours later, she asked if I dropped it or if I let it down gently. Only then did I realize letting it down gently was even an option – in the moment I was mostly envisioning my leg getting crushed by 500 pounds of burning hot metal, so I leapt off it as it fell. I must have been 4 feet away by the time it hit the ground.
Anyway, we got it up and I got it parked and replaced the light cover – luckily there was no other damage – and (knock on wood) things have been fine since. But I had to spend some serious kitchen time to emotionally recover – and so… Cinnamon buns!
Vegan Cinnamon Buns
eight grams instant yeast
one tablespoon sugar
one cup unsweetened almond milk
three tablespoons Earth Balance, any temperature
two cups whole wheat bread flour
one cup all purpose flour
three (more) tablespoons Earth Balance, cold
pinch of salt
one (more) tablespoon Earth Balance, melted
one tablespoon cinnamon
quarter cup sugar
Warm almond milk with three tablespoons of Earth Balance until it’s about baby-bottle temperature. Stir in tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Set aside for about ten minutes, or until yeast activates (gets bubbly).
In another bowl (I use a stand mixer because I’m lazy) sift in flours and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the next three tablespoons of Earth Balance (the cold stuff). When it’s pretty well mixed (you want it to be pretty crumbly with the largest bits of Earth Balance left no more than pea-sized), make a well in the centre and pour in the milk/yeast mixture. Stir a couple times and then get your dough hook attachment out. Knead for a few minutes until it becomes a ball. Knead a bit more. Take out of the stand mixer bowl and knead a bit more. If you’re feeling fancy, get all over this.
Lightly oil the bowl and put the dough back in to rise somewhere warm for about an hour.
In the meantime, mix the cinnamon and quarter cup of sugar in a small bowl. Toward the end of the hour is also a good time to melt your butter and grease a 8″ square pan.
When the dough has roughly doubled in size, beat it down and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the melted butter evenly over the dough.
Spread the cinnamon sugar mix evenly over the melted butter.
Roll the dough along the long edge as tightly as possible. With the seam down, cut into equal sized buns, about an inch and a half thick. Put the buns in a roughly even pattern in the square pan. Cover with a plastic wrap, and let sit again for about an hour, or until the buns have risen and are all touching.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake until golden brown, or about 25 minutes. Try not to overbake!
Optional frosting: I just mixed almond milk with icing sugar until I got the consistency I wanted (always use less milk than you think you’ll need!), or you could get fancy and do a cream cheese icing like this one (not vegan, though you could use Tofutti for the cream cheese and more Earth Balance for the butter).
Finally, due to popular demand, here she is: