Monday, May 19, 2008

Parking the story, Riding the Bike

I intended to keep the blog going with a tale about a young scooterist. It wasn't long after I thought about writing the fictional story that news came an old dear friend took his own life.

When someone close to you passes on it takes a strange toll on the things you do for enjoyment. I don't know why. You feel drained of your creative energy. The things which must be done are done, leaving little interest in much else. It was a cold winter in more ways than one.

But time never stops. Life leaves little opportunity to overthink these things. You have to put them aside. My friend made his choice and I have to live with it. The effect it took on a story which could have built on recovery seemed utterly contradictory to what I was living through. Knowing my friend took the easy way out.

Over the winter my life moved forward. While Mel is still on my mind he's chosen to move on. I suppose there's a convoluted lesson in there somewhere. A simple knowledge that you can only do so much in some cases and then you need to let go. So I have in my own way. Winter is not much of a time for thinking about riding anyway. There's a proper season for everything in life if we just stop and pay attention. So I'm back to the world of riding. Makes me happier, makes my dear wife happier and keeps this blog one of the things I truly enjoy giving you.

New rides on familiar roads.

Yesterday, Sunday, some friends of ours had a birthday party for their youngest daughter. Now I could have been with my wife and kids in the truck. But that's not the way of a rider is it. My wife offered me a way out.

"Hon, I have to stop at the mall to get a few things for the kids before I head to the party."

When you're married that's a Go! The equivalent to being told Take that ride. You remember the Get Out of Jail card in the game of Monopoly? That's the card she held in front of me.

They left and I settled in for prep to go. The first decent ride. A rambling frontage road trek of a little over forty miles. Man this was going to be great!

I hit the garage, raised the seat and took stock of what I might need. The heck with it. This Vespa is reliable enough. I don't need to pack anything but an extra sweatshirt. By evening the temps might drop to the high forties but with a legshield in front of you and a small wind screen to cut the draft, I would be just fine. The walk-around gave no indication of anything of concern. Rear tire needs to be replaced but I'm not past the wear marker. I readied the bike, dipped into my lawnmower gas to to her off and headed through the city of St. Cloud towards my friend's place in Monticello.

Have you ever reserved the use of certain back roads for your motorcycle or scooter? Its as though you would diminish them if you used them merely for passage. That's how I feel about this road, except I never really realized I'd made any such internal 'proclamation' about the routes I choose. There simply are roads for getting there and roads for being there.

That doesn't mean every part of the path is smooth and perfect. In fact a stretch on the Monticello side of this route can be downright jarring. You live with it because coming through that section seems almost heavenly. When the road is rough any improvement is huge. Better when that improvement involves some long sweeping bends and the sights of the freeway herds across the fields not a hundred fifty yards to the side. I watch their jumbled masses inchworm down the great concrete slab at seventy plus.

Cold and windy Sunday rides.