Wednesday, March 18

...Back in the saddle again...

Who was the cowboy who sang that?

Yesterday I fired up the Suzuki SV650 for my first ride since the “get off”. From my extra motorcycle cloths and equipment stash, I geared up--it pays to have extra jackets, pants, gloves, and helmets as my main boots and main jacket remain in VA. The weather Gods were looking down on me. By the time I arrived home, the temps had reached 72 degrees by mid afternoon.

The goal: a nice ride to Kankakee River State Park, which, if one goes the direct route, is reachable in about 27 miles making for a nice 50+ miles first outing. Dave had planned a back road route, which I think meant it would take about 40 ish miles to reach the park. With weather this nice, I didn’t feel taxed by the wind. It was windy and we encountered some robust gusts, which after about 25 miles Dave recommended turning around and heading back. It’s true we were being tossed around but it didn’t bother me. That I was on two wheels and loving every minute, made the wind a non-issue for me. Dave’s new bike is less than a week old. So, given that he didn’t feel comfortable forging ahead, we turned around. However, I would have continued on, blah, blah, blah…What amazes me about this ride is that it was supposed to, according to many people, be a time when I would be nervous. I can’t count the number of people who kindly warned me that the first time getting on a bike might feel a bit disorienting; I might feel nervous, or even frightened. Some said I might relieve the accident. Others told me that one “get-off”—even a minor one, was enough for him to hang it all up. I am glad I heard these warnings. I considered myself immune to these feelings. But the conversations made me give this lots of thoughts while I was home healing. I couldn’t imagine this happening to me.

Well I got on the bike and that was it. It was like meeting an old friend. I had no nervousness, no fear, no concerns and didn’t think of the accident. I thought only of David Hough and I watched everything like a hawk. I felt alert yet on guard. Going from the BMW back to the SV was interesting. One works for the SV ride. That’s not a complaint. One is forced to be far more conscious of every thing. One must think of the gear one is in. It’s even more difficult on the SV to let down the kickstand! I have to be the most vigilant—far more than on the BMW—of throttle control. The Beemer pulls out slowly and is smooth throughout. I don’t have the “wheeling waiting to happen” feeling on it. The SV is a wheelie waiting to happen every second. I love that about the bike. It has tremendous power and pull from first gear throughout. The Beemer seems tamed by comparison and catches up in the higher gears. In my opinion, the Beemer, my most favorite bike to date, has a different fun factor than the SV. If I had to pick one, it would be the Beemer. I can hear someone say, “Yes, but you weren’t on the offending bike!” Therefore, this wasn’t a true test. That’s an important point. We shall see…I just don’t scare easily. I see riding my bike home and finishing my ride as a wonderful challenge for which I feel prepared.Before we arrived home, we stopped at a German restaurant, where Dave had corn beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes—it was after all, St. Patrick’s Day. I had two bites of very bad fish, which the dog later appreciated.

Update. Today, the shoulder and back are smarting but not nearly as badly as I thought it might after nearly 50 miles. Nothing a dose of Aleve won’t settle down.

I am so back in the saddle again!


Unknown said...

Congratulations, glad you are back. I wonder what my friend is going to be like when he gets back in the saddle after his get off. He might not have any issues at all.

Unknown said...

In Willie Nelson's immortal words, I'm glad you're "back in the saddle again" I'm sure that all of us have had close calls before and it makes us more vigilant as to the dangers of the road, and our abilities to recognize dangerous situations. Sometimes it even slows us down. It sometimes destroys our confidence in our own abilities. The older we become, the slower we go and the less risk we are able to accept.
I'm glad you're hopping back on board and looking forward to your new travels, and soon . . . Jesse will be home where he belongs

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Giest said...

Good on ya! Great to see you hit the road on two wheels and not have a single hang up. You couldn't have more proof that this is something you truly enjoy and should be doing.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Thanks PassionForTravel. Let me know how your friend does. I wonder how we are influenced by the power of suggestion? I'm the type that if you tell me I can't, I will try to prove you wrong. That's both good and bad, I guess.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi bobskoot!

Thanks.'s interesting. Surely it slows us down physically whether we want that or not. Personality is even more interesting to me because it tells us a lot about one's social adaption to matters like aging, for example. For some getting older might mean caution or a goal to be more careful. For others, it might mean, "I got to do all i can now, take more risks, go the distance now or never." I think I fall into the latter camp--not because of age so much but because of my personality--again, it could be a strength or a flaw, depending on how you look at it.

I can hardly wait for being reunited with my bike--although the sweet SV has put a smile on my face.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hey Giest,

Thanks! I'm so ready to take a long trip!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

Good for you! Toss a glance over your shoulder, twist the throttle, and ride it like you stole it.

I was one of the few who said that you might feel a little odd once you got back in the saddle. I read your words today with a laugh, and enlarged you picture to bathe in the defiance that spilled from your eyes.

I deeply regret that you have scheduled the one week to recover your Beemer from the dealer's in Virginia that I will be running press affairs for a major travel conference in Washington, DC. So close... And yet impossible for me to even ewave feebly from the sidelines as you tear up the pavement Chicago bound.

I may recover from this lost opprtunity, but the odds are not high. I plan to be riding for the first time since November this week. Yet circumstances could conspire against me, with weather and work.

It's interesting that you have opened this ost recent installment of your blog with Willie Nelson's "Back In The Saddle Again." My friends read my blog and hum "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

Fondest regards Valkyre! I'll pour the sweet tea in Tennessee.

Twisted Roads

Stephen said...

When I was a kid, like most of us probably were at that time, I was absolutely fearless. Some of the wrecks that I survived make me grimace thinking back on them.

My last accident was (thankfully) almost twenty years ago when I low-sided in some spilled diesel, in my youthful way, I didn't dwell much on the incident, though that was the precise moment in my riding career when I became a die hard ATGATT rider (I still have scars from that incident).

I don't think that I would be so cavalier about it nowadays, maybe that's what happens with maturity, I'm not sure. Would it keep me from getting back in the saddle? I really really doubt it, but like you, I would be thinking strong "David Hough" thoughts as well.

Good to see you back at it and here's wishing for a safe 2009 riding season for all of us.

Ride Well


Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hey, Jack,

I don't know why this started me to laughing, but it did: " bathe in the defiance that spilled from your eyes." I'm still tickled as I write this.

Sorry we will miss each other; but there is Johnson City, TN! Please recover from this "lost opportunity" so we can finally make a proper introduction. Hope you get to ride soon. I'm heading out today because our warm weather is ending tonight. This weekend, we're supposed to get enough snow to shovel! Ugh!

I'm sure hoping the weather God is on my side come early April.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hey Earl, thanks for sharing your story! I agree. If only I knew then what I know now... Isn't there a saying that "youth--it's wasted on the young"?

I've always been a athletic nut and pushed my physical limits. I do so now. The difference is that I bounced back quickly back then. Yet, I didn't break my first bone until 2004. In 2008, I broke a total of six other bones? Yikes! Believe me, I'm thinking hard about how to prevent anymore breaks! Thanks again.