Let's Go For A Ride - Avoiding the "Honey Do" list...

"It's a beautiful day, lets go for a ride!"

Doesn't take too much encouragement to get my playmate to take me for a ride. The grass will continue to grow. It rained last night so I don't have to water the gardens. Winter will be here soon, I can feel the damp chill in the morning air. Ride 'em while you can. Soon the season will change and the only time I'll get the wind in my face is if I sit in front of the fan.

"How can you sit on that bike? Doesn't it KILL your back?"

Only a non-rider asks these questions. Folks who ride know better. They know that a motorcycle with a decent seat has a car beat for comfort. You can move, and sit, as you want to on a motorcycle. In a car you conform to the seats, buckle up and strap yourself in. Lulled into a sense a false security from the protection the car seems to offer often leaves the operator feeling that he/she can "multi-task," read, apply makeup, and lose him/herself in their cell-phone conversations. These drivers may or may not be aware of the other cars and trucks on the road, but they sure as heck don't see motorcycles.

The recent rash of motorcycle accidents, (the driver of the car claimed to have not seen the motorcycle), in which the motorcycle is always the looser is stark, graphic testimony to this sad but true fact. Folks are looking for larger shapes. A bike is so much smaller than a four-wheeled vehicle that it sometimes just doesn't register. So the brain-dead confidence that might be a nuisance driving a car can be fatal on a motorcycle.

So why ride? I enjoy the freedom, feeling the wind in my face, the smell, and feel of the air after a rain. I've never appreciated the true beauty of the lilacs in the spring from inside a car. The glass and steel that protects me also separates me from experiencing them fully. I can't smell them or see them clearly through the tinted glass. I think, "How pretty!" and drive on.

On the bike, we pull up to the stop sign, and breathe deep, the heavenly sent of lilacs richly covering up the usual city smells. I can see the flowers, full, heavy, pulling the branches down, almost close enough for me to reach out and touch them. And I see, smell and feel the lilac's beauty. "It's good to be alive!" I think, and we ride on.

We've seen eagles soaring in their large, effortless gliding circles, (no roof to obstruct the view). Once we saw two adult eagles and two 'juveniles' working on road kill. It was a large doe, and while the adults stood watching, the juveniles were busy tearing it open. Five ravens stood respectfully off to the side, patiently waiting their turn. We pulled over and watched them until a car came and scared them all away.

Sometimes we've come closer to the wildlife than we would have liked. Say for instance...moose. At night they are extremely difficult to spot. They are big and dark, blend in great with the shadows until they look at you and you realize there are only two animals around here whose eyes can be that far off the ground. A bear on its hind legs or a moose!

Moose like to travel in pairs or sometimes 'Momma' has two calves. Moose do not like to be hurried, and any effort to intimidate them with a horn can provoke them to eliminate the irritant. Moose are used to getting their own way, can't see, can smell fear extremely well, and deserve respect. They look much larger when seen close up.

Riding in the country isn't so much different than city driving in that there is always the unexpected. Someone walks out in the street quickly between two parked cars or a deer suddenly jumps out of the tall grass in the ditch. BOOM! They Are There!

Maneuverability is one of the finest features of a motorcycle. They can stop much faster than a car, (something to keep in mind at intersections.), generally accelerate faster and take much less space to maneuver. This feeling of freedom is another reason many folks ride. In the case of an animal popping out of the ditch, or a car running a red light, this maneuverability can save your life! (Not to mention providing a total adrenaline rush.)

Gee, thinking about it, soon the snow will be melting, the blacktop will be free of its coat of ice, and soon we'll be able to take advantage of the day and go for a ride.

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