Friday, May 29, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I've been wallowing in a bit of self pity. I didn't even realize it. Somehow I let other things in my life take precendence and lost sight of what makes me, well, me. Last night my wife took one look at me and told me to go ride.

I never really noticed how much the scooter has become the favorite of the stable. Something about that machine is better than the others. It doesn't have more power than the others. It doesn't have the image of a true motorcycle. Its a conglomeration of things I prefer and things which might not be as favorable as some aspects of a full on motorcycle. I know. I've got a Yamaha Virago, Honda Nighthawk and Harley Sportster to compare it to. Yet its ride is more individualistic than anything the true road machines can provide.

Last night I donned the helmet after reaquainting myself with my Corrazo 5.0 riding jacket. Hein Gericke gauntlets (not the newer line, these have been with me for over twenty years and not a stitch is out of place) pulled up near mid forearm just felt right. Again.

You can change a lot in your life but some things ought never to be lost. Sure, priorities can be rearranged slightly to fit the needs of a period in one's life, but never lose sight of who you are. Never give up that which defines you.

I've heard more than a few friends tell me they've lost who they once were. I can see it in their eyes. I can see it in their wives' eyes. Once you sacrifice some intrinsic piece of yourself for the sake of others, eventually you resent yourself for never returning to who you were before you commited that selfless act for the love or needs of others. Even though it was the right thing to do, eventually times change and times of need pass. Just as a baseball game has two sides taking turns swinging their bats to score, eventually each team has to stand in the outfield and recieve the ball.

Seems like a minor thing, just to ride. But for many of us who blog about riding, its central to our very nature. It changes us in ways our spouses and friends probably see better than we can. It makes us more whole in some way. When Annette looked at me it was with the recognition of a best friend who knows what you need when you begin to drift off your center. You need to ride. Those were her words.

The busy heat of the day was settling for sumptous cooler air with long shadows across country roads. That little single lunger sounded for all the world like it was happily humming beneath me. Bugs by the hundreds were mashing themselves on my windscreen and donking off my helmet. The effects of swamps and woods made the little swarms targets of evening birds and a few bats. As my high beam lit the roads kamakaze pilots of feather and black fur darted through the light, grazing in the temporarily fertile airfield of artificial day.

It just doesn't get any better than that. Only more available time would make it better. Kind of like a slice of your favorite pie only makes you want to buy yourself another when no one's looking.

For some of us riding is like a slice of pie. A treat. There isn't anything wrong with that. For others though, people like you and me, that treat would be a personal epic journey. A tale of two cities seperated by historic persona. Yet the story itself taking place between them. The cities themselves, mere bookends.

That's what we do. What we live for. Its what being back in the saddle means.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spill, Loss of Will

No, not me. My wife has been taking Kythera to work some days. Then it happened. She managed to tip the bike over with her riding over the top. She was fine, but the bike took a mark.

You know how it is when you damage your own things. But forbid it that someone else does it. The world's about to end. Somehow it sticks in your craw. You get over it but you don't, if you know what I mean.

If your father ever took your car one morning, brought it home on a flat so that only about eight inches by an inch or so of rubber was left on the entire rim and then took your other car without saying a word about the whole incident to you, then you understand how I got to where I am.

If your father duplicated the key of your pick up and lent it out to people without your prior knowlege or consent on weekends, you would get an idea of how I feel about ever damn one of my vehicles.

If your father ever took your Super Beetle and never disengaged the parking brake, then complained about how slow a car it was and what the hell was that stink in there, You might gather a sense of how much trust I would have to have in anyone to let that person use my car or bikes.

You know, you'd think I'd have learned with the Duster and that Chevelle... Oh, the VW could have been an honest mistake. But the deal with my F150...

So when the Vespa went over in the hands of someone else, didn't matter who that someone else was, real old resentment boiled to the surface. Like a tar pit churning the stuff it chokes over the centuries. The right situation could bring old bones back to the surface.

Doesn't help that I'm pissed that Karl is no longer for this earth. Guys like him deserve more time with those who they matter to. He's the kind 'made this world a better place.

So the Vespa sits. I can't ride it. Maybe writing this will help me past this bs and I can move on. The Virago has been out though. The Nighthawk is close to finished and the Harley just needs a fresh battery.

Come to think of it Christine has been out quite a bit even for being as busy as I've been. That bike's been with me since 1987. A Virago named Christine.

Screw it. I think I got it out of my system.

Kythera is calling...