Nothing feels right when you move to a new town. It takes time to learn your way around. It begins with getting to know alternate routes to the places you need to be. Then you find out about the hip spots and the out of the way specialties of the area. If you're a motorcyclist you begin to wander. Chances are you find kindred spirits. Riders who grew up wearing out bicycle and motorcycle tires from their earliest youth, telling you stories about what they'd seen and done.
Just as most riders eventually do, I found myself with guides to this city and surrounding areas. People who generously showed the way. With friends you gain knowlege. With knowledge, familiarity and confidence.
A long twist of the throttle is like good wine. There are times when it's proper to sup alone, a thick book of prose the equivalent of the unraveling tale down the unknown road. Other times, shared with friends who appreciate a certain kind of story. One that may touch upon memories of rides in their own earlier chapters.
We stop for water and a moment to look around. Those who've grown up here begin to share past rides, beginning with, "Didja notice just past the long sweeping left after we passed over the river..." Roads connect us. Moreso than a mere link to a destination. For us they are the destination unto itself. The place to be is in the moment. This moment.
A friend with an Aprilia became my guide recently. Showing me roads and places I never knew existed. So close to the city I would not have believed it. Yet so removed you forget where you are when you're in that moment. Afternoons turn into late nights. When the summer heat is slow to dissipate. You just can't seem to pull yourself away from the bike.
These are as much the the memories of my youth as they are my feelings today. Back then, riding everywhere I could. Simply to explore. On the outskirts of another city far away. Today, discovering roads which really don't lead anywhere directly unless you learn to notice this moment. Because life is what you make of it.
And home is where your bike is.