Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dropping a Ducati

I've always enjoyed reading Dylan Weiss' blog "Twisting Asphalt", where he describes his thoughts while piloting his fleet of Ducati motorcycles across the roads of Southern California.

He has this artistic way of expressing his thoughts and feelings of riding Italian-made machines through the canyons and mountains. Even though I've ridden the same roads many times myself, his unique way of crafting together words and phrases makes me wonder if there was something about those roads that I had failed to see...

"Forty-five minutes later I'm taking a mellow stroll down a quaint if not quiet canyon road while basking in that uniquely Ducati inspired sense of time and place and purpose. From the road, to the ride, to the sense of life that surrounds it, I feel certain that I'm destined to be here. To live life in this particular moment. When the world finally feels like it's turning true once again. "
That's not anything one can write only from a darkened office behind a computer keyboard. One has to experience the feeling of racing up the back of an asphalt laden snake slithering across the chaparral and sage brush of the California outback. But does one have to ride a Ducati to find such artful words and phrases? Or can a Harley rider like me still convince the wind and road to release such inspiration?

I was interested to learn that Dylan crashed his bike just a week ago. He says it was his first crash. And apparently it was just a matter of not seeing the sand in the road. Perhaps his mind was gathering literary material from the elements, or perhaps it was that spattering of shadow and sunlight cast from the trees that seemed to mesmerize.

Southern California is a desert landscape marked by ranges of mountains and hills, and when the Winter rains come in, it carves out canyons and washes. From there the water carries sand and silt towards the roadways. Pools of water collect in the corners of cambered curves. As they evaporate, they leave behind patches of sand. Even if you're watching the road carefully, you're still left rolling the dice as you're leaning into a blind curve.

For me, it's a humbling experience each time I crash my bike. Stuff like sand and water in the road always grabs my attention, and if I have to navigate through enough of that stuff it makes me wonder if I'm even having fun anymore. But eventually Summer comes around, the sand and water goes away, and gone with them are the memories of Winter riding.

Perhaps in other parts of the country the Winter weather and road conditions are so bad that folks just don't bother riding at all. But Winter time in Southern California still has plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. The days are so great that riders are beckoned to brave the roads, sandy curves and all. And henceforth comes a crash like Dylan's.

So with his first motorcycle accident under his belt, I wonder if it will add some bit of dimension to the thoughts he composes into binary form. The road always collects its dues from each rider. I think about the accidents that I have had in my years of riding, and everytime I ride they are fresh on my mind. They affect they way I now ride a motorcycle.

And one thing I realize now, is that those accidents have also affected the thoughts I express.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent piece.

    In the words of philosopher George Santayana, "Those
    who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    It's fair to say motorcycle accidents are included.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)