4.05.2008,9:13 AM
Unsaddled Rider's Lament
Unsaddled Rider's Lament

What does a rider do when they can't ride?
Sit and mope?
Dream and hope?.....
We try to cope.

The music enters my ears and I'm transported to riding the Whee on the open highway, gliding the sides of mountains, leaning in and out as if I were flying around them. I see my shadow on two wheels running alongside me, or a giant ball of moon hanging over the road in front of me, the magical roadway to the stars and moon.

Then another tune places me on the Sherpa bouncing and skipping over rocks and sand on the desert floor at home with the solitude of the back country. Leaves slapping my helmet as we putter on the single track deep in the forest..........

I still pay close attention to weather, how people drive around me, to the surface below my foot and my four wheels. I still think of donning my electric vest on a chilly morning or how to stay cool on a hot day. I reach for the throttle and shifter but they're not there. I miss the whine of turning the key in the ignition and pressing the 'Run' button; that first crank of the Whee's engine and the repeated cranks of the Sherpa. Then the comforting sound of a running engine and its subtle vibration. It's like a cat purring under your hands and seat.

More than anything I miss the mobility. Not just going from Point A to Point B. I miss the ride. The wind playing hide and seek with my head, the ever changing odors of the world around me, the synchronization of body, machine and road and the movies of life as I ride through them. It's the ride, not just the destination. It's 'being there'.

A fellow commuter asked me the other morning "So, there's a bike for sale now?" I responded "Hell, no!". Riding a bike is not just a recreation, it's a lifestyle. It's a part of the ride and the rider. It's an extension of one's self. Risks are a factor in everything we do. If we avoided risks, we won't live life. I believe in living life to its fullest. Take everything you can and live it because you don't get a second chance. Both bikes stay and always will.

Of course, the typical response is shaking heads and asking "Why?". Most riders respond: "You wouldn't understand." But most people can. Years ago my ex-husband complained about the time I spent riding my horse. After putting in a day's work in the lab, taking care of the ranch livestock, and feeding the family, I would ride my horse. Sometimes at midnight. I've been bucked off, kicked, fractured two fingers, broke a toe.... I still rode. It's part of the ride.

"Why?", he asked. I asked him why he takes off and goes skiing by himself, careening down mountains at breakneck speed, sometimes spending all day, even night, out in the freezing wet snow. Once riding a helicopter up into the Rockies to spend an entire day skiing back down. And has ruined knees and wrists.

"Why?" I asked. He nodded and never asked again.

Each of us has something that we do that is a part of us, that contains our passion, that gives us something that nothing else can. It reaches down into us, under all the layers, lights up the dark places and breathes fresh life into us. It shines on us and lightens the load, soothes us and fills us with life. It turns you inside out and covers you with solace and tranquility. It talks to you in a language no one else can hear. It takes you to places like nothing else can.

Hang onto that. No matter what it is. No matter what others say. It's a part of you.

Since I can't ride, I'll still turn the key, hear the engine, sit in the saddle and feel it purr under me, and think about being back on the roads; asphalt, dirt and gravel. I'm still a rider.

It will also be a good time to work on both bikes, especially the Whee, and get them in shape. And ready for the ride when I'm ready.


posted by Macrobe
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