62 Miles

That’s roughly what i’ve ridden on the old Honda motorcycle i brought home last week.  At the moment, i remember every single one of those 62 miles.

Adrenaline.  That’s why.  A good dose of being absolutely scared shitless does wonders for heightened awareness. 

The ride from the shop?  About 18 miles from there to my garage.  Even with a friend following in a “chase vehicle”* to keep people off my ass, the pucker-factor was at “eleven” for the entire ride.  i can remember my first left turn (hop-launched when the light changed), can remember almost nailing a curb in the construction zone while stumbling with my left foot to find the next gear, and remember almost losing it completely for no apparent reason in a curve…

Yesterday, he wouldn’t start.  After beating on the battery for far too long, trying to get him to turn over, i hopped on the kick-start!  Big fun when it turned over – but disappointment as he promptly stalled out. 

After a few more hops on the kicker, i managed to lose my balance and drop the bike the driveway.  Jumped wide to keep it from landing on my leg, and managed to crunch the left turn signal lens on the driveway… and as a result, have now ordered my first replacement parts, as well as the Clymer manuel, which i am certainly going to need if i’m going to keep this bastard on the road.

i could continue to bore you with more details of every subsequent mile i’ve put on the ol’ fella**, but it means nothing to anyone but me.

i’m not going to be adding too many more miles this season.  Winter in these parts means short, cold days.  i’m a recreational motorcyclist, and will not be suffering frostbite just to feel the wind on my face… i’m focused on skills development and building “muscle memory” – there’s a great deal of multi-tasking required to ride a motorbike, and most of it should be instinctive so you can deal with the unexpected***. 

There are 15,159 miles on the odometer.  The bike was built in 1974, which makes him 36 years old****.  Parked in a garage for at least the last three years, that means he was averaging about 400-500 miles a year.   i have to wonder about what the other 15,097 miles were like.  Who rode them?  What about the first 100 miles?  Did anyone ever get laid as a direct result of owning this bike?  How many people have straddled that torn leather seat? 

Although it’s only been 62 miles, i’ve changed a bit as a result.  It’s long been on my “to do” list.  That box is now checked.  That’s part of it, but not all of it….

Hanging on at 50 miles an hour, feeling like the wind is going to blow my ass off the bike.  Watching the pavement blur under my feet.  Knowing that i’m exposed.  Knowing enough physics to know that i’m going to lose every battle – solo or entangled with other objects. 

It just feels right…

image found here.  and i’m pretty sure i’d be willing to have my tubes untied in order to have this gentleman’s baby…

* Studly McRocklegs only had to turn on his emergency flashers a few times, as i slowed well below the posted speed limits.  Mostly while fumbling to up-shift…

**  This one is a “male”.  The default gender for most vehicles seems to be female for some reason.  Never understood that.  My jeep?  Female.  The bike?  Not sure what it is, but i’m quite certain that the growling, cranky beast that i now ‘straddle’ is male…

*** Gravel, possum or blue-haired granny pulling out in front of you in her Oldsmobuick, seatbelt sparking on the pavement, turn signal perpetually on, as she ventures out on a quest to purchase hearing aid batteries…

**** i’m 48.  having a 36 year old between my legs does NOT qualify me as a cougar, thankyouverymuch.