Sunday, July 16, 2006

Out the other side:
Two-up, again.

Today Katie and I took a ride together. Everything went quite smoothly. I'm back where I belong mentally. This blog is about commuting on a bike. Today's post highlights an "un-commute". At the same time this post is directly applicable to daily commuting.

Until today I had worked 11 straight days. Mentally and physically I was worn out. The new job is 6 weeks old. There's been a lot to learn and get up to speed on. Last weekend I spent both days in an "Instructor Prep" for 11 folks who want to become teachers of motorcycle safety. I mentioned it in an earlier post. Yesterday I spent a day with Mary Kaye, my training partner, involved in moving some instructors to the next level. They are starting on the road to mastering the classroom portion of the program. It's all fun and rewarding but very draining. If the current schedule holds, it will be another 30 days before the next time off. I know, it's my choice to work weekends. Right now is our busy time and my passion for motorcycling drives me on.

Katie's best friend has been pretty sick lately. This gal is alone and has some serious health issues. We spend a fair amount of time looking after her. It's ok. She's the kind of person that you're glad to help. Friday and Saturday were pretty intense. The friend is in a lot of pain and it was 1 AM by the time we got her settled and got back home this morning. Today, another friend is looking after her. Needless to say, it was time to take the free Sunday and unwind.

Inevitably, the subject of taking a ride came up again. Katie likes to cruise backroads at a leisurely pace all snuggled up behind me. I had turned down her last request. That request had come on the heels of the death of my friend and fellow instructor, Russ. His death slightly rocked my world for a while. I received a little more information about his death last Monday during the police training. After hitting the car Russ flew over it and hit the telephone pole guywire. I found out that Russ hit the wire with his helmet which the coroner says snapped his neck. Of all the chances of hitting something that thin at just the right angle, huh?

Today we had to go. It would be the last step in coming out the other side. I've been on the bike pretty regularly solo. Taking Katie along would seal the deal.

This isn't about our ride although it was absolutely wonderful. Five hours and around 160 miles. The magic is in the fact that the ride is the whole point. It's something we would never do in a car. We weren't riding to get anywhere. Our journey WAS the destination. Backroads and scenery until we decided to make a stop. An hour or so re-connecting over a double-shot Americano and an iced tea. ( Guess who had the double shot Americano? ) Sipping, talking, and watching the world go by. Back on the bike to become part of "that which goes by". More delightful back roads, some curves, and farmland. Temperature in the low 80's. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

I want to share some thoughts with you. I want to give you a glimpse into my heart and mind. This kind of thing has always been hard for me. As a soldier and cop the warrior's face was all people saw. Even now I seldom let people see past the wall. I will share my enthusiasm and knowledge. That's all. Katie says I'm really a nice, loving, kind, and caring guy. It's just that she's the only one who knows it. That's ok with me. I would rather leave this world having made a difference for the good in some way than having won a "popularity" contest. Motorcycling is the avenue I have chosen for making that difference.

Today I have the urge to share. Not emotion, just thoughts and convictions. There are some things I would like you to be able to hold as your own. I know you suffer some of the same things I've suffered. The rest of the world ( read: non-riders ) makes life harder for us. They present hazards and negative feedback. It can be daunting. I would like to offer you some reassurance that you're doing the right thing. I want to make you feel better about doing it. More specifically, I want to help you to better succeed in pursuing this thing your heart moves you to do.

It's too long for one post. I also want to finish sorting it out in my mind first. Out of respect for you I want it to be meaningful. Stay tuned tomorrow or the next day for the rest of this thread. Later in the week I want to spend a little time on cornering. We all love it but so many get it wrong. 75% of our motorcycle fatalities are riders in corners. We can all use some help in honing our technique. Wednesday is "Ride to Work" day. There will be plenty to write about in the next while. I might even throw in something about commuting. Have to justify the blog, you know!

I'm ending this day on a happy note looking back on a wonderful ride with my lovely bride. I hope yours ends as well for you.

Miles and smiles,

P.S. A big congratulations to Steve for completing the Experienced Rider Course on his Vespa!


Steve Williams said...

It's amazing how writing can break down the highest of walls and biggest of barriers----you old warrior! Writing can open a direct pipeline to what is important to each of us and passion follows. Katie sees you and those of us who read your work get a glimpse too. Any regular visitor here knows this blog is about more than commuting...

One thing you wrote sort of leaped out:
"The rest of the world ( read: non-riders ) makes life harder for us. They present hazards and negative feedback. It can be daunting"

Simple statement on the surface and I heartily agree. But in this idea is perhaps one of the important challenges in riding. I am not sure if I would find the satisfaction I do if these things did not exist. Without the challenge and risk the ride (and life) would be superficial.

Anyways, this blog is about commuting and I have to get ready to ride to work. Take care, of your ride and your self.

Great post by the way. I am looking forward reassurance about riding from you.


Steve Williams said...

And thanks for the congratulations on the ERC!