A cold but beautiful clear Saturday, and my friend and I wanted to ride with “the Squeaks.” We were all to meet at some biker-friendly bar “on Hwy 78,” and I foolishly believed Google Maps instead of just calling the place. So my friend and I spent an hour fruitlessly riding on Hwy 78, only to discover later that the bar was just up the street. Doh! Lesson: call the damned bar and ask for directions.
After a few cellphone calls, we elected to just meet them at the destination rather than to try to catch up with them. I followed my friend on country roads, some of which looked familiar (although if you’ve seen one vinyl-sided bleak subdivision in former pasture land, you’ve seen them all, and a desolate form of deja vu sets in). I confess that I get extremely antsy when I don’t know exactly where I’m going, and I wasn’t the most patient follower. When we rode onto a road despite its “dead end” sign, and u-turned in a grimy neighborhood, I was getting tense and I’m sure it showed. He’s always gotten me home, and I know that, and I need to relax. I’m trying hard to relax.
Finally, he spotted a sign for a familiar state park, jerked left, and I managed to follow him. I felt my sense of humor returning. At last- somewhat familiar territory, and my ass relaxed its grip on the seat. I’m surprised the saddle doesn’t look like a buttonhole by now. Not his fault: I find that my body goes into clench mode and I have to will it to let go. When I do, I increase my leg reach by at least 2″.
Miraculously, we rolled into the scenic square in Madison just as all our friends’ big bikes turned the corner. Three rumbling Harleys, a gorgeous custom with an S&S heart, a Suzuki Boulevard, my SV650 and my friend’s Guzzi. There were other bikes decorating the street, and old cars and restored classic trucks were rolling by in the gleaming sun. Lovely day on the square.
After lunch, we rolled out of town and took a too-straight road back to town. It was good to ride with the herd (and I wouldn’t want to ride in one of those big, crowded group rides — this was just enough). They may make more noise, but my little guy can keep up just fine. I found that I was just watching the scenery, calibrating my speed with the throttle, not dwelling on anything else. Much more “unconscious competent.” It was a relief after the sobering trip through the Alabama mountains. And I’ve stopped thinking so much about the stupid fall in the parking lot.