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!