Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grounding

Grounding happens when we are at one with where we are - chasing a ribbon of road or Warrior 3. Doing and being purposefully, grounds us. We love to draw little boxes and have expectations of people. We seem to attribute characteristics to the box..biker, hippy, nerd, mom, rocker... At a show last week my workmates found me at the edges of the mosh pit, fully engaged in the undulating beat of the music. My beer soaked colleague screamed lyrics amidst the pyrotechnics behind him. It was a glimpse, for them, into middle age. I wonder if they think that riding a motorcycle is for transportation. I expect they have no idea of the adrenalin that coarses through you as you navigate curves. Many boxes ground me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I have learned a few things about Norman in the more than 250,000 hours that I have known him. Calm, cool, collected he is humble, helpful and ever the optimist. This is why I found myself donning rain gear with a dreary sky and little hope it would stop. "It will be part of the adventure" he says...smiling. "Anyone can leave when it is sunny..." I am a realist. I know that within moments of leaving there will be rivers running down my back through the vents at the top of my helmet that I always seem to leave open... I know that my face shield will fog, my fingers will prune and my thighs will ache from clenching around corners for fear of sliding and skidding. With all this information, and being of sound mind, I mount willingly to snake the roads to Whistler. It is a pristine ride with little need for gearing up and down...it is mostly rhythmic ebb and flow through corners and vistas. My perspective is not always right. There is much to be said about seeing the world through another's glasses. I spent the first half hour fretting over what people would think of me getting on the bike in the first place. I could hear derision and quizzical looks. I could see frowns and questioning why I would do this...was I timid? crazy? bullied? I know this as I have been the source of pity before. In the depths of the voices chiding me I became uncomfortable, but the discomfort was my projection of what "they" thought...those nameless masses that I relinquished power to disarm, deride and diminish. The illumination was liberating....The roads were lovely and the destination spectacular...and Norman was right....the sun shone the next day and the ride home was even better.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I can't pinpoint my favourite part of our journey. Curvy roads always do something for me as we wind our way up the Sunshine Coast. The air was fresh and cooled by the breeze off the water. From any vantage there was beauty. Eagles circling overhead with fish wriggling in their talons to islands, shores and picturesque towns that enhance my gratitude. Onto Vancouver Island and we are snaking our way through towns and groves and my bike sways in rhythm. We sojourn in Parksville with a meal of questionable nutrition and enjoy a pipe of earthy tobacco watching meteors and constellations. Early morning and we are off before the melting heat. We breakfast in Chemanius, the town of murals, that needed no decoration. It is a little cove tucked in with the water gently framing the shore....We seek roads less traveled wending to Lake Cowichan and on to the Renfrew Loop...The tarmac is not perfect...a few bumps loosened teeth and bones...but also a place where the timbre of the motor is the only sound for miles. Rarely a car is found and the one-way bridges never impeded us. It begins with wide open spaces a scrub of land and shrubs with spindly trees escort you into a thickening copse, and finally tree shaded paths that climb and twist, descend and bend, rise and fall with the topography.... Third, second, third, fourth, third, second, third, fourth...quick third and second..around a chicane...clutch, scrub the brakes...changing gears, gunning, slowing...your senses are completely in tune with all that is around. A critter pokes his head and pulls back at the disturbance...It feels like a cartoon.... By the time we arrive in Port Renfrew I can feel the work out my wrists and arms have done. We forego beer, knowing we still have to get to our destination after Jordan River. We tuck in at friends after a meal fit for a German royalty. Our friend is a personal chef to some big-wig, and our meal was the best I have had in years...The time and thought of preparation inspired my foodie to seek out heirloom tomatoes and tuna steaks...mmmmmmmmmm We are off the next day to Victoria...but again...on roads less travelled...and more bendy and narrow than many like to cruise on. To be continued...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Underwear - check, phone - check, iPad - check, license - check, passport - check....All packed and ready to ride up Sunshine Coast, over the Vancouver Island - enjoying a sojourn at Parksville, Port Renfrew and hopefully a dip in Lizard Lake. We will lay on the grass of our provincial parliament, watch birds steal popcorn and annoy tourists and then board a boat to take us across the Strait to Port Townsend Washington. The mercury currently sits at 24 degrees at 10:00pm, so the challenge will be hydration and shade. My wrist will get a workout and I imagine that I will fall asleep within moments of reclining each night. We will see friends along the way and meet a relative. And we're off!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Familiar valley

...we are off early to meet friends for kayaking Harrison Lake. This means familiar tarmac out to Mission and beyond...and yet, although I note the car strewn yards and castle styled home, there is adventure in shift of gears. The sway of trees, the slither of the road lull me into the bliss of holiday mode. The breeze is temperate enough to keep my gloves on, yet I can feel the sun heating my cheeks. Kayaking was great fun...and lots of work. For me, a little person, the last 20 minutes seemed eternal. My thumb was swollen and blue from a ring I would not remove...and I refused the tow of shame...but I made it. I recall counting rhythmically to 10 and reminding myself to dig deep. I have little upper body strength of late and the heat of the day and wind in my face made me want a motor. I won't mention decades under my belt... After a sojourn and a beer we are leaving the valley heading straight into a blow dryer. Jacket and gloves discarded it was only the music of the Ramones in the iPod that kept any spirits about me...and to arrive home and hear of Tommy's demise somehow felt poignant. Of course I also listened to Vicious Cycles...and nothing happened there..gratefully!! With no juice left in me I find a party in full swing at my house. Splashing from the pool and a garbage can inside same pool were a warning. I would be lame to be asleep by 9:00pm...I LOVE when the kids come home...I love their friends...the chaos...but I really wanted to be lame anonymously tonight. You know...eat junk food, watch movie, scratch belly maybe?? I can't do that with twenty-somethings walking through my house in board shorts.. Do you have onions for the burgers??? See if you can find some...is the response amidst the desire to roll up the cover and play dead. They actually were quiet by 11:00...or I just passed out because the last I heard was a mottled conversation about the wedding...and next I was asleep.to wake in time for The Shop's Spit & Shine...So much to do...so little energy some days... I have returned from the last event solo....nursing aching thumb. The heat of the day feels like an oven as I gulp gallons of water to rehydrate and press on...next I am off to serve food at a community dinner..and hopeful that I realize my own complaints on heat and ache are small in the grand scale of things.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Should I?

Naivete and gullibility mean that I follow him into the darkening skies. "It'll be fine" he chimes. I relent as it seems that I and the weather forecast are typically wrong. I had some hesitation...the charcoal set against a grey blanket sky should have been a clue. By the time we are 10 kms in the drops are impeding vision. We rally to our destination, albeit, hastily making our way around and leave amidst puddles, wet knees and helmet...I can't do anything about it, so I suck it up and try to avoid the pins and needles of drops cutting into my face. To put my visor down means a blur of fog...neither a prospect of enjoyment...but I am riding.. We make it off the last bridge with pruney hands, and a puddle in my red wings but getting cutoff with no warning, no signal and crossing a solid line should have sent me into a tailspin...Not only did he come between my man and I...he didn't even realize it - but to cut off a girl on a bike....come on man.... If I could have kicked his car without losing the soggy boot, I would have...I couldn't separate digits to solute him... I survived another soggy ride...and I am sure there will be more...but if I see that guy in a grey Jeep, somewhat similar to my own...I will find that digit to throw at him!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Peaceful Restaurant

..that is what it is called...cheesy name...and I truly was not expecting much more than a Chinese meal. We dug into hand-pulled noodles and both our eyes bugged out and we ordered another bowl. The flavours were unlike anything I have had before. They danced in my mouth and left my lips slightly tingling...but I loved it!!! This is how we spent our anniversary. Riding somewhat boring urban roads with a threat of rain hanging in the dark clouds we did not allow that to dampen us. We arrive and squish into a table for two that is always too small with helmets and bags. It was amazing!! Did I say it was amazing? I love discovering places that you least expect would satisfy the olfactory senses - not necessarily eye candy though. The decor was lacking, the tea lukewarm...but who cares - even as the rain came down.. We try to walk off our food belly but this means the seats are accumulating water...so we take off, the moisture could now be evidence of a bladder problem. It slows to spitting..but pants are wet anyways. We drive by the Black Lodge and see our friend waving us in. We stop for a hug, a chat and the man has a beer as we describe in detail the cuisine that explains the protrusions in the front. We leave as darkness is falling and the distraction of the lights, the drivers and the dampness have me twisting the throttle more than usual. My reprieve from the anxiety of the stop and go traffic was River Road in Richmond. Cruising the river is a delight. The scrub of properties..dismantled cars strewn about....there is character like a wizened and withered sailor. Chasing his tail light is easier with him on the GB. It is also a 250 so he is twisting his wrist with little room on the throttle too. What a great anniversary that very few of my friends would understand.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The weather forecasters predicted showers...that always makes me hesitant. I scouted my rain gear and squeezed it amongst camping stuff. I wasn't looking forward to the wet part...the camping part...but I wouldn't have missed the weekend for the world...So we are off on a grey day in a long line up at US Customs...
Ipod trying ever so hard to amuse as we head through familiar bucolic areas on our way to Whidbey Island. I haven't been this route in a while...actually not since we broke down in Edson a few years ago...nothing has changed....the farms are still askew with equipment and cars. For Lease and Sale signs dot small towns. We head through Oak Bay and on to Freeland and then follow the directions leading to Double Bluff Road and a dirt road leading to a cabin of yesteryear sans electricity and full of hand hewn logs and shake siding. ...
We arrive just as the couple have returned from a bended knee proposal on the beach. It didn't rain and we spent the day playing badminton, drinking beer and reminding the kids of their new title of fiance. Tears would flow - followed by hugs...more beer...stories...and lots of smiles.
Congratulations to Kim and Jared!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Days can be typical...rise, eat, work, etcetera...others...are rides along the water...the smell of blossoms mixed with the river...these are the days I want to etch into my memory. It is not just the timbre of the motor, nor the whirr of the throttle..it is the combination of the shivers amidst the sun warming...it is hearing only the engine..and seeing a hawk descend on its prey. It is the essence of freedom amidst the reality of the danger being behind the bars.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More metaphors...

I think metaphorically...seeing connections and parallels. I have written before of how riding is a lot like a relationship. Again tonight as we rode in sync along River Road...quivers in my lips, yet enjoying the rhythmic movement from side to side, it was obvious how much this is just like our marriage of many years. Riding together...in that moment of synchronicity brings me such pleasure. There is power in the timing of being able to move as one...there are lots of times we are off...he is faster, slower, I am riding my own ride and so is he. Some days it is just about getting places - alone - or together ...but that moment in a ride when you are swaying together and you know you have it..there is not another thing that can replace it. We know each other enough to anticipate moves...He knows I will open the throttle on the way home...usually because I am cold. I know he will roll through a yellow...so I try to keep up as much as I can. We drive each other crazy too...like when he rides with no hands...casually dropping them like they are an encumbrance...and me adjusting my helmet, fixing my hair and iPod are his little peeves. Some rides are common...same roads...same scenery - yet it is finding that moment that makes you smile..the unity in the movement...his profile in the sunset...the barges on the river and the acknowledgement of our vulnerability.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Anticipating balance I am prepared...I feel like I understand on a different level. Tai Chi has taught me much of balance, anticipation and strength. Such the nerd I am...Rhythm and movement, muscles straining, this season I am alive with what ought to be. My knee has surrendered to pain ... my hip has reminded me of decades and yet.. there is something more.. something that has reminded me that in the midst of all, I am in the midst of all. We are all in the midst of all...decades and moments..weeks..and years..tears and mostly smiles...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tai Chi

I took Tai Chi last weekend...learning pakwa (sp) steps and balance. Lean in, find your balance, look where you want to go. How much this parallels riding. I was lulled by the instructor's voice - repetitive - rhythmic like a wave. The movements became fluid at by Sunday and an expectation of what came next. There was much to coordinate - limbs, mind, eyes, head and feet...throttle, clutch, eyes, cars....I like the challenge....now Tai Chi on a bike - that sounds like fun to me!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And done!!

A ride in December!! It was cathartic, invigorating and freezing cold. The mercury was at 4 Celsius and yet we needed the break, after being inundated by family for days...cooking, talking and all that goes with Christmas. I love it - but it creates an angst for freedom and there is not much better than the wind in your face - even if it burns your cheeks. Twice I have ridden in a December!