Free Flow Thoughts while Riding

I am a Rider

We ride for so many reasons.  When I first started to ride, it was for the adrenaline rush and for the adventure.  To this day my adrenaline still flows on every ride and each journey I take on two wheels is still an adventure.  My passion of riding has become more than a physical reaction to speed and new scenery.  It has become a real mental escape for my soul.  Our bikes take ourselves away from the world and we have the opportunity to ponder thoughts and dreams which may be out of reach without the help of our motorcycle explorations.  It does not happen much but every so often when riding, I will think of a worldly issue such as bills, personal problems and work.  During such interruptions, I will quickly squash the thought.  There is no room in my head for such negatively while riding on my motorcycle.  When I first started riding, I would always contemplate my life’s concerns while riding which took away from the experience.  It took me years of training my mind to reserve the use of my brain to focus on road safety while riding instead of thinking of everyday problems which were vexing me.  This focus on road awareness eventually lead to a change of what I observed while riding on my motorcycle.  The external environment I viewed while riding became more vibrant and real.  The color of the trees and flowers I passed jumped out at me, the smells of the road were more pronounced and the sounds I heard became clearer.  I also found that putting my worries aside while riding opened up my imagination to original thoughts and perspectives which I would have never experienced when caught up in life’s mundane apprehensions.  I am so grateful for riding b/c it’s the only place where I can truly take myself away from reality and dwell on items of philosophical importance to me.

It is truly ironic because my mental focus on road safety eventually lead me to have more free form contemplations then I have ever had previously.  There is an issue with daydreaming to deeply; sometimes my mind begins to focus more on my free thoughts then keeping safe on the road.  So for me it’s a delicate balance of keeping safe and being able to day dream of thoughts that I can rarely ponder anywhere else.  Many people would state that we must only dwell on looking for escape routes, dangerous situations, and other perils while riding.  That is a priority but if done safely, day dreaming is a priority as well.

Can an individual focus on safety while riding a motorcycle as well as ponder life’s mysteries?  I believe this is possible and would argue that the riders focus on self-preservation actually opens one’s mind to deeper emotional thought.  When off of my motorcycle my mind seems to dwell mostly on items of immediate importance such as work, keeping up with my daily schedule and thinking of immediate needs like what’s for dinner.  When on the motorcycle my brain just goes to a deeper place.  It transcends the now and motors off to a different universe where I am free to dream and not be burdened by life’s problems.  Maybe this is due to the fact that if I hit an oil slick and slide of the road, none of those every day concerns will be of any consequence.  My mind is still hyper-focused on the dangers of the road but it’s also more open to thoughts and ideas that are not normally a priority in my everyday life.  This is what I love most about riding; it gives me the ability to escape my own head.

 Direction


Does Anyone Have a Motorcycle I Can Borrow in San Diego?

Lane Splitting is Legal in California

             Lane Splitting is Legal in California

Today I was stuck in traffic on a southern California highway. When traffic slows, that’s where my jealously rises. The 4 lane highway slowed into a parking lot and I found myself trapped in my 4-wheel cage. Then in the rear view mirror I saw one single headlight weaving through the traffic. Like a jaguar darting through trees, the motorcycle snaked its way between the ensnared autos. As the cycle split the lanes of the slow moving traffic, I wished that I could have the opportunity to ride that traffic gauntlet of death. From conversations I have had with locals in California, splitting lanes is not as dangerous as it appears. If done in a safe manner, the action can protect the motorcyclist from being in harm’s way. Think of it as being a proactive defensive rider who is guarding against being rear ended by a distracted 4 wheel texter. When you are between the cars, constantly moving forward, then you are sheltered from the rear by the cars surrounding you. So in actuality one can look at it as an action that reduces risk by taking risk.  

In California, splitting lanes is a normal part of doing business in terms of riding motorcycles. In Colorado, splitting lanes means a reckless driving ticket.   I figure the smaller the cycle, the better it could be used to weave in between cars in traffic. With that said, I did witness a big old Harley Road King doing a good job of it the other day near Oceanside, CA. I don’t like the feeling of being jealous but I really wish I had my motorcycle here so I could attempt this majestic endeavor. The weather has been foul here over the last few weeks, so I have not had the opportunity to rent a cycle, plus my work schedule keeps me busy till dark. I think would be a bad idea to attempt my first time lane splitting at night during a rain shower. That scenario would lead to certain ugliness.

 

Only in California Can A Motorcyclist Lane Split

Only in California Can A Motorcyclist Lane Split


I Smell a Troll

good quote

Winter has arrived in glorious fashion.  The rays of the sun, no longer share their warmth embrace and the evening spreads an ill faded scourge of darkness over the land.  There is just something bad about waking up and going to work in the dark.  Its worst when I depart work on the same day and the sun is setting.  Missing daylight just ruins my whole day.  The bleak situation is compounded by the fact that black ice is keeping me from getting on my cycle to ride.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays but the lack of sunshine and the inability to ride just makes me cranky.  I refuse to give into the negative vibes this may cause.  Just a few days ago, I was in line with this cranky dude.  His whole demeanor was just sour.  If this guy had a magical ferry fly out of his butt and grant him 3 wishes he would complain that he did not have enough wishes.   This guy was giving off such negative energy, I actually moved back a few spaces in line to rid myself of his adverse stench.  I definitely believe that having a foul attitude is contagious and I do whatever possible to stay away from people absorbed in it.  I wanted to be like, “dude if you’re so miserable then do whatever it takes to be happy”.  Why live such a miserable existence?

It got me thinking of a new book idea.  Call it the Motorcyclist Survivors Guide to the Cycle Armageddon.   It would be an instructional manual for bikers to live a fruitful life if they find themselves away from their motorcycle for an extended period of time.  Someone else will need to write this b/c the thought of it is too depressing to ponder.

 


Every Day Should be Veterans Day

We live in the microcosms of our own lives, and we rarely self reflect on the ills of our fellow man. Every day we should think about those less fortunate than ourselves and hopefully take action to assist others in need. On November 11th we celebrate the service of our Veterans. It is my belief that Veterans should be honored on a daily basis not just once a year.
Veterans Day gets its history from the end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Germans signed an Armistice to end the war, which was supposed to end all wars.
Legislation was passed in 1938 to make Armistice Day a National Holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace and gave tribute to World War I Veterans as well. In 1954, the United States officially made Armistice Day into Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is a special time to remember deceased veterans as well as thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military. Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country.


My New Bike

20150923_101824

My FJR is no more.  I just had to much back pain and butt woes to keep my sports tour.  There was nothing wrong with that Yamaha, the fault lies with my ever growing belly.  The good news is that I traded in my old bike for a brand new Honda Interstate.  It has a 1300 CC engine with an upright laid back sitting position which I love.  It’s like riding on a pain free cloud and love the lines on my new Honda. Here are a few photos of my recent ride in Colorado.

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Why Do You Love Motorcycling?

Love to Rid Shirt

Why do you love to ride?  This question has been answered by millions of writers, enthusiast and bloggers throughout the last one hundred years. Songs have been inspired by the subject as well as movies made; all based upon our shared love of motorcycles. For me, the thought of the question never loses its luster. There is no wrong answer to why you love our two wheeled sport. As long as your personal reason is heartfelt, then no one can ever judge your response. The best part of this question is the desire amongst some of us to express it with such conviction and enthusiasm. The percentage of us who actually ride motorcycles is relatively few but our passion manifest its self throughout society. Yes it’s cool to be a motorcyclist but those of us who are really connected to riding care little of such trifle things. I am just another over weight middle aged balding dude who happens to ride a motorcycle but once I get on that cycle, life changes. When that engine starts my brain transcends reality. I no longer think about work deadlines, spreadsheets, mean people or silly little worries that hinder the soul. The sound of the engine drowns out all that negativity and life begins a new as the RPMs sky rocket down the road.
As we live our lives, we often get stuck in the quagmire of foolish discontent. For example, today I found a leak in my garage. There is a water leak around my chimney and I need to get it fixed. This was a real downer for me. The worry of the cost to stop the leak and to fix the interior damage stresses me and takes me down a notch. This worry is a legitimate concern and I have a responsibility to fix this issue for the welfare of my family. The problem becomes more of an issue because I will hyperfocus on this leak in my garage and if not careful will let this burden lead down a path of discontent. The cure is a ride on my cycle. Being on two wheels has the inherent ability to level set my consciousness and bounces me to a better place. When I am riding, I am no longer worried about bills and problems at home/work. All my attention is focused on listening to the sounds of the road. This is a two way conversation between your soul and environment around you. Our minds are so much attuned to the outside world because we are astutely aware of how much were exposed to the dangers of the world while on a cycle. It’s this feeling of exposure which is the reason for my love of motorcycling. There is something about putting oneself out there that make you feel the passion of life. Have you noticed that your sense of smell and hearing and sight are much more vibrant while riding? Once I get in that saddle, my awareness level peaks. It’s not exactly the same but I had a similar feeling while being deployed in combat scenarios in the Army. Ones senses just goes into overdrive and you feel that rush. That feeling is what drives me crazy about motorcycling but its more than that. When I am riding, I feel some sort of connection to the pathway set before me. So the road is not just a predestined route, it becomes integral part of the journey and is an extension of you and your motorcycle. Chasing adrenaline is part of my motorcycling experience but only a small part. Its more about that spiritual Zen like state that becomes you while riding.
Why do you love to Ride?

How I feel


A Great Long Ride

Learning

We woke up at 4am to begin our extended motorcycling trek to complete the “Colorado Classic 1000”. This BMW Riders Club sponsored event is not your typical Iron Butt Ride. Its 1000 miles in the mountains of Colorado which must be done in a 24 hour period. The preplanned route has a limited amount of highway miles, so one cannot make up for lost time with high speeds on the highway. Riding in the twisties of the Rockies is a different beast to tame when riding an endurance run. It’s not easy to increase your average speed while riding in the moonlight at 10,000 feet on a mountain pass surrounded by 3000 foot vertical cliffs that hungrily await your fall. Given the comparatively low speed one must take on the route, the challenge is definitely harder than say a jaunt from New York to Florida (about 1000 miles) on highway 95 where average speeds will be more robust. To be honest, I was doomed to failure from the beginning. The Colorado Classic 1000 was my third attempt at completing 1000 miles in 24 yours. The previous two attempts were lost in disappointment. The first being from a Hail/Tornado Storm which I hit head on in South Carolina, the other caused by a broken down Harley in New York. Luck was surely not on my side to begin this sojourn. Let me just begin by saying that the event was planned, organized and implemented in a professional manner. The route was superb. It’s hard to find a bad route in Colorado but the organizers of the Colorado Classic 1000 went above and beyond in finding a phenomenal route that severed to uplift and challenge ones spirit on two wheels. If you want to try out endurance run through the best roads in North America, then make your way to Colorado for this event. Sign up quick because they only have a certain amount of spaces available.

I normally ride solo for these types of events but this time I
took my buddy Greg on his 2003 Road King. This was his first attempt at an Iron Butt Award. We started the ride in the back of the pack poking fun at those who may have been taking this ride a little too seriously. I think I saw individuals wearing diapers so they would not have to stop to relieve
themselves. Whereas others took the challenge to seriously, we did not give the Colorado Classic 1000 the respect it deserved. Our first mistake was taking to many rest/gas stops. With each stop we were not properly disciplined to quickly get back on the road; instead we slacked off before hitting the pavement. These pit stops ate up crucial time needed and before we knew it, we found ourselves behind schedule. I made some rookie mistakes by not packing sun block, water and snacks. I assumed that there would be plenty of time to get a nice lunch/dinner but that was wishful thinking.

The sun was scorching on the day of the ride. I felt its rays eating through my soul and finally had to pull over at a Walgreens to get some sun block. I purchased the highest sun block legal in the State of Colorado. I wanted all the protection I could get so I smothered the lotion all over my bear skin including my scalp and neck. Newly protected from the Sun we took off like wild cheetahs looking to make up some time. About 15 minutes after my sun block lotion bath, my eyes began to sting. I thought the pain would work its self out so I pushed through it and kept riding. Soon after the stinging began, it quickly manifested into a painful blindness. This scenario was not cool while traveling 70 mile per hour down a river canyon road on two wheels. I was not thinking rationally because I continued to fight through the pain and lack of sight in a blind rage. Finally the blindness consumed me so I pulled over to duck my head in the river in hopes of washing away the sinister sun block out of my eyes. Thirteen years of motorcycling and I am still learning road lessons. My suggestion is to never put sun block on your body where it can eventually run into your eyes. This was a rookie mistake which cost me thirty minutes to wash out my eyes. The whole scenario was not my proudest or safest moment on two wheels.

Between the hours of 4pm and 10pm we actually made up some great time. We were on schedule to make our mandated 1000 miles by 5am if we could keep up a 45 MPH Average for our last 7 hours on the road before the deadline. Because we were behind, we drove through breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were surviving on flies, crickets and road critters which flew into our mouths during the ride. At 10pm we decided to buy some gas station road pizza which looked like cheese topped road kill. That crusty nasty pizza ended up being the greatest meal ever consumed on a road trip. Hunger has a special ability to make the worst food taste splendidly good. With full bellies, we took off into the night fully expecting to accomplish the mission to beat the race against time.

With our hunger subdued we mounted our rides not knowing what awaited us just beyond the town’s limits. Have you ever played Deer Roulette on two Wheels? Outside of Silverton, CO we were traveling up the Million Dollar Highway in pitch black conditions. On the sides of the road all you could see were deer’s eyes glowing like bright search lights in a dark sky. Then the deer would spook from our engine’s noise and would take off in the direction of their choosing. This deer crazed mad house created a Frogger Scenario on the skinny mountain pass. This situation mixed with the dread of falling down the dark foreboding cliffs lead to an adrenaline rush I have not felt for a long time. It is scary going up this mountain pass in the daylight on 4 wheels but doing in at 11pm in the pitch black on two wheels with kamikaze deer darting in and out takes the experience to a whole different level.

We got to the top of the pass and started our decent when Greg’s Harley started to back fire and sputter then without notice his lights went out. Thankfully he was riding lead, so my headlights covered his route to the nearest safe zone to pull over on this dangerous mountain pass. It’s hard to explain the precarious situation we were in unless you have been up this very perilous dark roadway. There are no streetlights or guard rails on the road; the pathway up the mountain does not have room for them. It’s just a maze of steep grades, radical curves and wondrously narrow lanes encompassed
with drop dead cliffs. It’s a great place to ride just not at midnight with a broken down Harley.

Once the Road King was safely on the edge of the road we spent about 45 minutes with our headlamps trying to fix the burdened beast.
Unfortunately her ills were beyond our limited mechanical expertise. Our only option was to drop my bags on my FJR and run two up to the nearest town to sleep off our failed mission. I made a goal to finish 1000 miles in 24 hours but there was no way I would leave a buddy stranded in no man’s land in the middle of the night. I guess we could have tried to finish the Iron Butt Ride with the both of us on my FJR but I am not that brave.
At the end of the day we had a great trip. We learned some valuable lessons which will serve us well next year in the Colorado 1000 Classic. I guarantee I will be giving it another try, so if you want to join me then sign up early and give me a shout. Colorado is Calling Your Name!!!


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