Thursday, May 6, 2010

Of Motorcycles and Lazy Afternoons

Summer is not even here, yet it looks like it's around the corner. Bright blue, cloudless skies and temperatures in the upper 70s make Southern California the place to be right now if you're a motorcycle rider.

The sunshine peeks into my home office and taps me on the shoulder. I focus on my work and try to shut it out of my conscience. The sounds of birds chirping, a distant dog barking, but no screaming kids outside. It's a Thursday afternoon.

I grab my netbook, lace up my boots, and open up the garage door.

And there it sits, my ride.

The irony is that I've spent all this time positioning myself for this, where I could jump on my bike, pack my laptop, and ride my bike someplace with a Wi-Fi connection, and do all my work there. But it seems that hiding in a home office is what I do.

I twist the key, start the ignition, and 1,261cc's of V4 engineering find life.

motorcycle in a field of grass
Heading down the road, there's always something about a weekday afternoon that makes one twist the throttle a little less aggressively, particularly if you're not already knee-deep in the work-day grind. It's no wonder why the term "playing hooky" is often depicted with scenes of guys of holding fishing rods, and ladies getting pedicures.

Life just seems to run slower.

The road often traveled seems surreal.

What I had ridden on a hundred times before somehow seems like a new road. That switchback that I used to feel uncomfortable with now seems so graceful. I hadn't noticed that pond before. And there's no traffic anywhere.

tight twisty motorcycle road
My sense seems heightened, I smell the air and notice it changing to something else every 100 feet. Orange blossoms at one point, hay fields the next, shady oak groves after that.

A herd of cattle captures my attention. Little else seems so lazy and pastoral. Happy cows make the best cheese I've heard said. But what cow dies of old age? Even those that give milk are some day destined for the butcher. Even breeding bulls, once they become too old to stand themselves up on their hind legs, will become Ken-L-Ration someday. So it's only fitting they share such a lazy, idyllic afternoon with me.

And Spring is made for motorcycle riding. Fields of green, skies of blue, and temperatures perfect for t-shirts. Who doesn't feel like taking a day off from work?

motorcycle and herd of cattle
I find time to work on my cornering skills, starting on the outside of the lane, cutting to the inside, and back again. I tuck my feet up against my bike, lean forward a bit, and lean it over hard. I can feel a tiny little rock in the road transfer it's impression up through the rear tire, through the suspension, through my seat, and into my body.

I pass by a sign that says "Curves Next 5 Miles", and think "Cool!". But alas! A school bus hogging up the lane.

Slowly, the road winds its way into civilization. That feeling of reality sets in, knowing that eventually the day has to end. The landscape switches from wilderness and chaos, to that of symmetry, order, and comformity.

But within that lacework of avenues and boulevards I seek out a familiar oasis where I can still forget and perpetuate the laziness.

motorcycle and beer


  1. I can only think of one negative of riding on a weekday afternoon - getting stuck behind a slow-moving (aren't they all?) school bus ...

  2. I find a ride during the week more relaxing because everyone is at work and the streets are less congested with traffic. Less tailgators and cutoffs to worry about lol.

  3. may i request written consent to use your ast photo for my internet radio show im kicking off in a week or so? My show is about bikes, beer, and bikes. Google images brought me here and i think its kick ass.

  4. Sure Alex, feel free


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...)