Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Freeway and backroads.

The ride home last night totally reinforced what commuting on a bike does for me. I had a dinner date with Katie last night. Nothing official like a "meet you at 7" kind of thing. We were just going out for a bite. It's sometimes nice to get away from the house. The change of setting seems to enhance the mood for talking. I know I've been mentioning Katie a lot lately. After 27 years of being married to her I still really enjoy her company.

With the date in mind I felt like getting home a little sooner. The freeway entrance is literally just around a couple corners from the office. The ST and I jumped on the Interstate. After about 14 miles I'm feeling the squeeze and tension. Traffic is getting heavier as I go. We end up just cooling our tires in a slow moving gridlock. I have had more than enough of this! We jump off the freeway at exit 216, make a quick right and a left and taste freedom. We are back on the twisty backroads. It's totally amazing how my attitude changes for the better. What was a tight and tensioned face relaxes into a grin. On the Interstate we were hemmed in too tightly to move. Here we have elbow room. We have the whole dance floor to ourselves. What was clumsy and cramped is now graceful and sweeping.

The icing on the cake was coming into Tangent the back way. The country road turns into a small residential street. Both sides are lined with some sort of Japanese Plum trees. This time of year the trees are bursting with delicate pink blossoms. There was a typical afternoon breeze blowing through the trees. The blossoms were shaking loose and drifting thickly in the air. It was like riding through pink snow. For a few blocks it was a magic world.

When we got back from dinner I looked at the blogs. Steve Williams had made a comment here. His link "Scooter in the Sticks" is on the right. ( Here's another 15 minutes of fame, Steve! Although on this blog there's not much fame to be had. It's more like an "honorable mention" ). Steve's comment reminded me of a connection between two wheels and life. The comment was generally aimed at looking at life as a whole instead of isolated situations. Quit staring at the problem and look up at all the good things.

It's always amazing to me how what I discover by riding directly translates to the rest of my life. In this case I've been bogged down by a possible job change and how that will affect my riding. Isn't it so easy to look at one situation in life and let it color your whole world? Instead of being just one of many aspects in life it becomes the sole focus. If it's a stressful or unpleasant experience pretty soon it takes over. Soon it's all we see. The small picture becomes our big picture. Weird, isn't it?

Riding puts the small pictures back where they belong. To be able to manage risk effectively we literally need to look at the larger scene. You know, head and eyes up! Find trouble and deal with it before we are locked into its sights. The freeway almost demands you look closer to you. This can narrow our focus at the expense of missing pending disaster farther away. It's so much easier to broaden our view on backroads. There are more inviting things to look at. There's usually less traffic to look out for. The combination of room to run and curves puts me back into such a sweet rythmn. The graceful flow helps me think more clearly. My mood gets so much better that I literally feel more empowered to tackle the tough things. The freeway is like the daily grinding problems. The backroads are the good stuff in the rest of our life. Get off the freeway and choose the good roads!

A motorcycle is just a two wheeled vehicle at first glance. Those who know will tell you it is more than that. A bike is a portal. A gateway to a higher plane of existence. I personally would be a lot worse off having never found this wonder.

The ride home tonight will be interesting. We are expecting a blast from a cold front. Heavy rain and strong, gusty winds. There may even be snow. The lady from the Official Weather Service says this will probably be winter's last blast. I can feel the Old Mariner inside me shaking his fist and yelling "Bring it on, weather Gods!"

I'll tell you how it goes tomorrow.


Mad said...

I keep seeing more and more bikes on my daily commute, spring's coming!!

Steve Williams said...

I'm glad this time my 15 minutes of fame isn't related to dropping the scooter on the snowy road!

Riding certainly is one way to put things in perspective. I can also achieve this walking, making photographs, and writing in my journal. The trick for me is to let go of whatever it is I'm wrestling with. Once I put it down I become aware of how fortunate I am no matter what sort of crap is raining down....

I'm always amazed at how descriptive your accounts are of rides. I can't seem to write that way even when I try. I suppose it is why the camera became more prominent in my life.

Congratulations on 27 years of marriage. That is an accomplishment in this world.