August 7, 2012 – In the summer I rarely want heavy food. I could easily go vegetarian, except I am too much of a carnivore at heart. But a fabulous salad and a good Granville Island Hefeweizen makes for a pleasant end to a productive day.
I’m on vacation from my main job, but I had a whack of university papers to mark to catch up on my other job as a sessional faculty for UBC. Why I don’t let it go is somewhat beyond me, I think I just like to give back to the system that gave so much to me for so long, the students may think otherwise sometimes.
So today was a catch-up day. Sometimes I love having days like this. Caught up on laundry, dishes, marking, bills, and updating the website I manage for the volunteer organization I give sometimes too much time to. Love that sense of completion of getting it all done and knowing it gives me the rest of the week to play and do whatever I want.
When Kirk came home there was thought of an evening ride, but I was feeling like too much of a lump, and food was a louder calling for both of us. Turns out that was a good decision. We opted for the patio at the Village Tap House and ordered up some fabulous salads and a couple of beers. And moments after our food arrived . . . splat . . .splat. . . downpour! A quick rush and a couple of umbrellas to cover us and we enjoyed the cool rush of moist air and the huge shift in the scent of the air. If you can cover up, why head indoors. It was so refreshing, and we were sae and dry under our canopy, and we basically had the patio to ourselves.
After that it was home to a bottle of wine and enjoy the cool air on the deck. A thunderstorm rolled in and flashed and grumbled, and the wind came up and dragged the cool marine air in off the ocean. I love living this close to the water as that refreshing air washes over us at night. And those huge raindrops started to come thwacking down again.
And we see the odd motorcycle trying to dash somewhere, caught unexpectedly in the downpour. I know that feeling well. Good thing we didn’t go on that ride. Not that we haven’t been wet before.
It’s funny, when I took up riding the motorcycle there were a few things that made me nervous. One was wind, the other was rain. I am soooo over both of them. I’m not sure why wind concerned me, because I’ve ridden the scooter across Lion’s Gate bridge too many times to count in heavy winds coming in sideways off the ocean. Always exciting when a bus passes by and cuts the wind off momentarily!
When I did my motorcycle road ride a few years ago, the winds were in excess of 90km/hr and I was riding a tiny little 300lb Ninja sportbike. The instructor wasn’t about to cancel the ride for a “bit of wind”, and took us out and over the Queensborough, Second Narrows, Lion’s Gate, and Port Mann bridges in that windstorm. Jumped that hurdle in an instant and wind doesn’t even phase me anymore. I’ve ridden in crosswinds that almost suck/push the bike out sideways from under me and I have learned to just stand on the pegs and push that baby into the road.
Riding that little Ninja, and all the windstorms and crosswinds in places like the Sea to Sky near Porteau, out in the Sumas Prairie, and various other flat and wide open, wind swept areas, I realized that it’s a non issue if you’re calm and let the bike shift underneath you. It will come back, just don’t tense up or it wins, if not physically, then psychologically. That much I know is true, and that knowledge it doesn’t come from riding a motorcycle at all. It’s almost exactly like being on the horses I used to ride all summer as a kid. Stand on the stirrups, hold and direct firmly with the knees, and the reigns get the lightest of touch and are merely for directional reinforcement and stopping. By letting my body remember the fluidity of horseback riding, that little Ninja reminded me that it’s not anything to do with size or weight, and all about me and how I gently handle the animal. Actually, in some ways, riding lighter is more fun, it’s like 4×4’ing, you feel what’s going on underneath you and are better prepared for anything when it eventually comes at you. It’s like any machine, and like that horse, if you fight it, it will always win. You need to work with it and let it flow, you need to have faith in your ride, sometimes you need to let it go, just a little, and your control will be that much better. I wonder if that’s why so many people go to big heavy bikes, they think they are more stable? I think the stability comes from the rider, not the machine. One of the reasons I don’t want a big heavy motorcycle and why I am still with my nicely balanced and relatively light SV. Light bikes dance better.
And then there was the other thing that made me nervous. Rain. But I got past that one pretty quick too.Certainly not intentionally. I’ve ridden in the pouring rain on the scoot countless times, I have great rain gear, never get wet, and head out in the pouring rain all the time on the scoot. But it was one of those niggling-in-the-back-of-the-mind worries on the motorcycle. After being caught in a few downpours, two of them literally monsoons and late at night, it’s an irritant, and not much more. That one ride home from Chilliwack when Kirk shattered his collarbone taught me an awful lot about myself and what I can handle. Riding home at midnight in a rainstorm so bad that cars and trucks have slowed to 70km/hr on the freeway, taught me to trust my bike, trust myself, and just get over it and do what needs to be done when I am stupid enough to get myself into something I shouldn’t have. Yes, it tossed the back tire around when you hit a deep road rut filled with water, but you just go with it, stay gentle, don’t tense up, and let the bike come back to you. Don’t lean as much, don’t do anything sudden, and everything will be fine.
And so now we sit on our deck and listen to the wonderful grumbles of thunder overhead, and feel for the riders trying to get home in an unexpected thunderstorm. Been there, probably will be again before too long. I seem prone to finding weather on the motorcycle, maybe because not much stops me anymore, I’ve even ridden in snow. But I’m grateful that, for a change, I didn’t get caught in this thunderstorm!
How did I get here from “fabulous salad”? Who knows, just rambling at the end of the day, enjoying a glass of wine, a refreshing cool breeze, the deep and loud rumble and boom in the sky overhead, the many flashes of lightning directly out front, the shelter of our deck, and the company of my guy.
Life is good, and I feel sort of like this….