Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Was Feeling Pretty Good

"I was feeling pretty good" is a phrase I've been hearing lately amongst folks I've ridden with the past few weeks, and I heard it again today.

And it's usually a phrase I hear after that person crashes.

Except today, no one crashed.

Today I was feeling good. There were five of us taking a joy ride down the back roads of San Diego County, on our way to Callahan's Pub. The weather has been unusually mild the past week, making temperatures ideal for t-shirt riding. Warm, not too hot, not too cold.

That perhaps lead to me feeling pretty good.

So I cranked the throttle a little bit along Couser Canyon Rd, a really tight twisty road in northern San Diego County. Actually, I wasn't going all that fast, not enough to drag my boards. But still fast enough to where I could get into a zone, and still have attention to spare for the cooler air, and the smell of the outdoors.

Here and there, the road takes us up and down hills and blind curves. I get to a to the crest of a hill, and I think, "Hmmm, should I slow down because I can't see the road on the other side of the crest? Or, should I just roll the dice, and stay on the throttle, and see what the road gives me on the other side?"

I opted to stay on the throttle. I wasn't really sure if on the other side of the crest the road was going to turn, because this road is a very twisty road; there's just turns everywhere. I get up over the crest, and sure enough there was a turn to the right. But it was an easy turn. I rolled the dice and got lucky.

But that's just part of "feeling good". You just keep pushing it, because you feel just a little invincible and you want to keep that good feeling going. It's a way of expressing the idea of, "Fuck it", which itself is just one aspect in the overall pursuit of motorcycle enjoyment.

A friend of mine recently expressed that very same scenario, of approaching the crest of a hill, not knowing what the road is going to do on the other side, but keeping on the throttle and reacting afterwards. When he described it to me, I understood the feeling he was trying to convey.

Yesterday, the very same friend described to me how he almost wrecked his motorcycle earlier this week. He actually was in the process of crashing, his rear tire had lost traction and the bike was sliding out of control. He struck the center median, which is just a strip of raised concrete, and that actually righted the motorcycle to where he regained control.

But what he said to me was, "I don't know, I should have already learned my lesson from the last crash, but I was just feeling good".

And then last weekend, we had a gal in our group lose control of her bike and crashed. She normally rides at a safe moderate pace. But that day, she jumped out from the back of the pack, and sped up to the front, on a narrow two-lane road, and proceeded to take the twisties at a somewhat fast pace.

We were quite amazed. We had no idea she had this ability bottled up inside her. But she finally came to a curve she couldn't handle at that speed. Instead of just leaning the bike hard, she opted to hit her rear brake hard. She locked up her rear wheel, and spun out of control. She came out ok, a few scrapes was about it. But she said to us, "I don't know guys, I was just feeling really good".

On the way back home today, we headed up Rice Canyon Rd, another narrow and twisty road. And I was still feeling pretty good, and I pushed the bike at speeds of 50mph along curves rated for 25-30mph. But I've ridden that road so many times, and I know it pretty well. Knowing that road so well allows me to ride it that fast.

At the end of the ride, seated around the table drinking beers, one of the guys says, "Steve, you must have been feeling pretty good today".

Sometimes you ride a motorcycle because it makes you feel good. Other times you start out feeling good, and the motorcycle just exacerbates it.


  1. Feeling good is what it's all about.

  2. I don't know why I'm laughing. Ok, from my experience, right about the time you start feeling really good is about the time you need to pull off for a smoke.

    Everytime I have had a mechanical problem, a near miss or a crash and burn has been the moment you speak of here.

    Just like the movies. You're watching a couple getting on and your feeling good then....sproink! They both got an axe lodged in their heads...I hate that.

  3. I must be doing something wrong... I rarely feel good, I never take my hands off the handle bars and I have no idea what road rash feels like. Maybe it's a west coast thing where you ride with no hands and speed over hills where you can't see what's coming. Glad you're feeling good!


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...)