BIKE magazine had a travel piece where the writer paraphrased a French pilot talking about how flying takes him away from the minutia of life. I’ve flown planes but I find riding a motorcycle much more what I thought flying would be like. The check listed and tedious process of operating an aircraft along with the strictly regulated flight paths don’t lend themselves to a sense of freedom. You’re much more likely to slip the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of god on a Hayabusa than you ever are in a Cessna.
I was reflecting on my mood when I returned from a ride with my son Max on the weekend. It wasn’t a big trip but I came home relaxed, as I always do from a ride. Riding a bike involves you. You can get lost in the complexity of operating it. Even once you get familiar with the controls the subtlety of working them all together harmoniously becomes a never ending aspiration. You can always ride better.
I started writing this in October when we went for our ride, but it’s the beginning of the new year now and it’s been weeks since I’ve ridden. At this point I’m reduced to driving a damned car which offers nothing like the sensory thrill you get from riding a bike. While everyone else wrings their hands about how dangerous being out in the wind is, I’m addicted to it. Riding a bike makes even the most tedious commute an adventure.
Coming back from that ride all those weeks ago, I was blown clean by the wind. I’d been in the world in a way that seems foreign to me now, encapsulated in winter. About the only redeeming feature of having a long off season is the growing anticipation of getting back out there again.
I sometimes wonder how my son Max feels about riding. I’m always worried that with his autism he finds the sensory overload overwhelming, but he loves going for rides. Even on very long trips he’s a trooper who is always ready to hop back on the bike. He isn’t generally interested in being cool, but I don’t think the cool factor is lost on him. I don’t get many images of him on the bike behind me, but I love seeing him doing his wings in these images.
It’s been snowing for days. We’re buried in the stuff. The thought of jumping on the bike and going for a ride is still months away. Sigh.
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