Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Constantly dealing with changing conditions

After a late night and a morning that came much too early the ST and I set off once more for work. After class last night I got talked into going out to the Red Robin for burgers. The invitation was extended by three guys in the class that are "bike guys". Interestingly, I was the only one actually piloting a two-wheeled vehicle. Oh well. It was actually handy when we arrived in the parking lot because one of the guys offered me the use of his car's back seat to stash my gear on. Which meant I didn't have to take over another table for my stuff to occupy. Since my sweetie wasn't there to make me exercise good judgement I went all out and ordered the guacamole bacon burger. Oh sweetie, where are you when I need you? This was 10 o'clock at night. On top of that, I was cutting the grease with big cups of coffee. Needless to say, sleep was not the most peaceful I've ever had.

Being a little worse for the wear I set off in the now too familiar heavy fog. The temperature was sitting at 38 degrees. Once truly underway I could tell that the fog actually didn't extend too far overhead. I could catch glimpses of the quarter moon now and then sitting up there pretty in clear skies. Suddenly I felt like I had come out the other side of a waterfall. What was once blurred was now clear. What had been dark and depressing was now bright and cheerful. The sun was just coming up and it was a flat out gorgeous morning. I am truly convinced that riding a motorcycle allows us to enjoy these jewels more than those locked in cars.

Don't you find that you experience a ride in so many ways that aren't possible in a cage? The smells, the feel of movement, all of it. On a bike you are a part of your world and not just an observer. Dealing with the opposite side of the coin you still experience things just as fully. Rather than seeing rain on your windshield you feel it splattering on your person. The wind moves you around and you feel so intimate with its whims. Compare that to a cage driver who just sort of feels the nudge on the huge mass of steel and plastic. Riding in adverse conditions doesn't really rob me of my joy but it sure primes me to live the good stuff to the full.

Wait, there's a twist in the plot. Here I am getting sucked into the good times and really enjoying the ride. Those who sum up life in simple statements say that the only thing constant is change. The price for the clear skies was a sudden temperature drop. Exiting on my accustomed off ramp I was greeted by frost and ice EVERYWHERE! The next few miles along the busy streets required careful placement of my tires and thoughtful planning of braking points. For once I was glad of the heavier traffic in town because the cars had cleared paths the width of their tires which was just right for my single track vehicle. I was thankful that I was allowed to do things of my own choosing and not be forced into sudden moves at a time not of my choosing.

While waiting at a stop light out of the blue the thought crossed my mind of how different I am from all the folks in the cars. Here I am out in the freezing cold on a motorcyle totally exposed to the elements and with my butt figuratively hanging out. And yet, it seems as natural to me as does crawling into a car every day feel to them. The difference was driven home when I got to the office. Happened I was the first one there. Our warehouse guy showed up and said "I can't believe you're riding in this weather!". Maybe I'm just a sick puppy but I'm not offended. I just smile and am glad to be following my heart. I can measure what I give up in comfort. I just count the shivers or see how much water I wring out of my gear. The many things I get back in return defy accurate measurement. There's just no way to quantify such things.

The sunshine went away in mid-morning to be replaced with rain. It was wet all day. I could hear the splash of tires on a wet road as traffic passed by on the industrial area's street. Yesterday as I was leaving work early a guy on a bike passed by on his way home. At least I assume he commuted to work judging by the cooler strapped to the bike. I watched for him today out the front door but did not see him today. Perhaps I just missed him or perhaps the icy morning and the forecast for rain meant his commuting on a bike was a one day shot. Perhaps he is somebody"s "sugar" and he thinks he'll melt in the rain!

As I prepared for the ride home the sun had managed to temporarily gain the upper hand. Have you seen the way the sun bathes everything in a golden glow as it is going down and peeks underneath the clouds? That's how my late afternoon homeward leg began. I did see a bike coming the other way. Turned out to be a motor cop from a small town on a BMW. He didn't return my wave. Should I call him a "motor cop Nazi", Gary? ( tongue planted firmly in cheek )Better not go there. Had some more rain further North. Oh well, it's January and I'm on the bike.


Art said...

Hey Dan, I regret to say that you are not alone being called by cager looney, I still continue to commute to work. Despite the weather we are having you are right as time goes by putting my gears and riding the bike start to become a second nature. It was gusty traveling through I-5 this morning. I have to tucked down to decrease the wind drag and it does work. Cagers thinks when they see me like Valentino Rossi position that I'm really having a hard time and yet I enjoy every bit of it. I had came across LEO on bike. When I wave they wave back/ at least the Washington State Trooper but other local police they don't seem to return the gesture. Oh well local police bikers probably feel threaten by the thought of our presence.. Enjoy and have a great day


Mad said...

British bike cops always wave back in my experience. I've been told on good authority that they're not allowed to wave to bikers (it's considered to be showing favouritism) but they always do ayway.

My boss has the soul of a biker. Since my crash my colleagues have been doing this annoying pitying puzzlement attitude with me (like I'm some kind of retard for still being mad about bikes) but not my boss. He just "gets it". I need to find a way to lure him onto a bike. ..

irondad said...

It's nice when people "get it". Last night as I was leaving work a woman was in the office. It was pouring rain. She saw me putting on gear. "So you're the one on the bike" she says. I expected to hear some sort of comment relating to me being insane. Instead she says "That's nice. I love bikes". Turns out she drives a sports car. She doesn't ride but surely she "gets it".

Hope your boss can be lured to let his soul express itself. The "soul of a biker". Would be an interesting topic of discussion, wouldn't it? What exactly does this mean? Or is it something than can't be defined, exactly. You just "recognize it" when you see it. Maybe we'll go there.

Mad said...

Yeah, that's a really good discussion idea. What makes us bikers, what's the common thread? I look forward to that post Irondad.