It’s Easter. He is risen and all things are new again.
There is something about a motorcycle ride in Spring when the trees are turning from empty to green with early leaves and buds. The roads with no center line or any paint markings are a joy to ride. To explore. Occassionally, a beautiful red bud tree shows its shade of red among the green giving a wonderful contrast of those country roads.
I was corresponding with a friend recently about motorcycling, and I mentioned that I’m riding now more than I did 20 years ago. “I’m riding like there’s no tomorrow.”
After reflecting on that statement, It gave me pause for thought.
I’m 68 years old. Is this ‘riding like there’s no tomorrow’ an issue? A symptom? Acting younger than my age? Fear of growing old?
Two riding buddies and I had this conversation recently during our Wednesday morning coffee meeting. “When do you think you will quit riding?” Frankly, I don’t see myself quitting. Not for quite some time. But, I realize that a time will come when I cannot ride the taller bikes like the V-Strom or the KLR. I already feel the struggle of swinging a leg over them. I have to mount them like a horse. Left foot on the foot peg like the stirrup of a saddle. Push myself up and swing the right leg over. I’m on.
So, why keep riding? I could go fishing. Or, I could load the fishing gear on the motorcycle and go fishing. I could travel more. Or, I could load some gear on the motorcycle and travel. I could clean the house … or … I could go motorcycling. Okay, I really don’t shirk my household responsibilities. I help clean the house. Then I go riding.
I have enjoyed the two wheel transportation ever since my dad brought that Lambretta motor scooter home when I was 15. It’s something about being in the wind, the out of doors, traveling to destinations near and far. For me, those rides are therapy. I call it helmet time. An opportunity to think things through outside of my household box. AND, I am so thankful for a spouse, my wife Lin, who understands the importance of motorcycling to me. She will often say, “Why don’t you take a ride.” And I usually do.
Yes, I am riding like there’s no tomorrow. But, I do have to wait for the snow to melt.
I saw a picture of a motorcycle that I used to have, and staring at that image made me realize that was the motorcycle I should not have moved along. I wished I still had it. But, I’m happy with my V-Strom.
Then, Clinton County Motorsports called to say they just got in a 2018 model. Yellow. Kawasaki KLR650. Of course, I said I’d be out to look.
I could not get that KLR out of my mind. I tried for a month to forget about it. And to make things worse, nobody was interested in buying it. It sat there … calling my name … “Brent. Brent, take me home.” So, about a week ago, I did.
And four days later was able to take it out for a first ride.
And now, when I look at that past picture, I feel better.
After an early-morning coffee stop, I decided to take the long way home, a jaunt through the countryside. Riding along, I was looking for some kind of photo op to document the ride. I think this is quite representative of the ride.
I was out on the motorcycle yesterday. The weather was gorgeous, although just a little breezy. The KLR hummed down some of my favorite back roads. I felt like I could ride forever.
I did not feel this way a year ago. In fact, the past year of riding has been somewhat erratic. No long trips; at the most only long day rides to visit family. In my post, Soul searching on a motorcycle, I wrote: …”the reason—that thing that seemed to be missing—came to me. What I discovered: I have lost the joy in motorcycling.” In January, I actually created a flyer for the sale of my V-Strom. I put it aside and pondered posting it at several of my frequent hangouts. Through the Spring and Summer, I kept searching, and decided not to sell the V-Strom but rather buy another motorcycle—the Kawasaki KLR 650 New Edition—that would give me a different kind of ride.
On paper, the V-Strom DL650 and the KLR 650 are very similar. On the saddle, they are quite different. The V-Strom is a very smooth reliable motorcycle with plenty of power. The KLR is like a big dirt bike also capable of running down the highway. The V-Strom is a joy to ride. The KLR is a hoot to ride. Maybe it’s because of the newness, but I have found myself riding the KLR more than the V-Strom. The V-Strom will get the nod in the long distance rides.
Somewhere along my route yesterday, with the sun shining down on me and the breeze in my face, I began to think that it was nearly a year ago that I almost quit motorcycling. The rides this year have given me plenty to think about what it is I am doing with a motorcycle. Yes, I believe my riding pattern is changing, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll return to long-distance tours. Maybe not. The important thing is that I have rediscovered the joy of motorcycling, and it’s a hoot.
Finding the joy in motorcycling again has been like remembering that tune you used to listen to all the time, and have rediscovered. It’s like watching that favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time—you want to watch it again and again. And so it is with the motorcycles. I’d rather jump on the bike to run an errand than take the car.
Now, if I can only resolve that other nagging question from that post a year ago. “Why am I here?” What is my purpose at this stage of my life.