Feelings… we all have them. No, this is not about getting in touch with my feminine side, or getting my feelings hurt when a woman didn’t like what I made for dinner, it is however about intimacy. The closeness we motorcyclists share with our bikes.
Currently I have a friend riding around the country over roads he has never ridden, weather conditions he has never experienced, towns he has never seen and people he has never met. The one constant is his motorcycle, the bike he has ridden for years and trusts completely. His journey is and will continue to be great.
The other day I was preparing to leave on a short trip up the California coast then over the Sierra’s and home through the desert, my idea of a perfect ride. I loaded up my relatively new to me BMW, donned my riding gear, pushed the button and….pushed the button…and…damn. Change of plans…change of ride.
Sitting in the corner of our barn is my Triumph Daytona, battery tender still attached. Take the blanket off, turn the key, hit the button and…the growl of the three cylinder motor fills the barn. “Baby..we’re goin’ for a ride!!” Change the luggage from the BMW hard bags to the old soft saddlebags..eliminate a few things…”let’s see, do I really need a rain suit?…uh yeah”…it went like that for a few minutes and packing was done. Set tyre pressures, check the oil and chain adjustment…it’s time to go.
Roll the Triumph out of the barn, kiss Heather goodbye, climb on the bike, hit the button, pull in the clutch, click into first gear and head out onto the road. I know this feeling. I have spent nearly 100 thousand miles on this bike, I know this feeling very, very well.
The feeling you have when you know something so well is so unique and so special it is hard to describe but it’s there. The feeling of each corner of your favorite road, the curves of your favorite wife…wait…better be your only wife…and the feeling you get when you ride a motorcycle that you have traveled many, many miles on.
On this trip we rode familiar roads where everything just flowed, the lightest push on the handlebar moved my Daytona just where I wanted it to go, just the right amount of throttle and brake kept everything under control. On new roads my comfort on the bike made the ride easy and enjoyable. On our way home, knowing my motorcycle became more important than I could have imagined.
Highway 395 here in California is actually not a boring ride; mountains, lakes, valleys and deserts…if you have to ride up and down this state, 395 is a good ride. Normally. This time we encountered hurricane force winds that scared the bejeebers out of us. It was a very hard long ride home. For nearly three hundred miles it was a fight…me and my Triumph against the wind. We won.
Once home and completely beat, I started to think how grateful I was that I was riding my Triumph on this trip. Under the worst of conditions I was on the motorcycle I knew best. I know everything that bike will and won’t do. There were times I was truly scared of getting blown off the road, but knowing just how much input to give the bars, throttle and brakes because of the intimate connection I have with this motorcycle, I got home safe and sound…worn out, but home.
Have you ever thought about ‘divine intervention’? or whatever you might call something happening for a reason you can’t explain? Well, the thought came to me during the ride in the wind…I was planning on riding my BMW which we have only spent a couple thousand miles together, but it decided it didn’t want to go on this ride. So, I rode the Triumph instead. I honestly believe that because of my closeness with my Daytona I made it home without incident. If I had been on the BMW the trip may have ended differently.
Final thought for the day…The BMW didn’t want to risk itself being tossed on the ground, so it decided not to go. You know how I know this…it started just fine this morning. Who says motorcycles don’t have feelings?