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Side Tracked by Spectacular

February 2, 2016

The next day’s ride-to-work did not materialize as planned: it rained during the night, leaving slick, wet roads. I had too much stuff to carry the few miles to work, and truth be told, I ran out of time to load up the bike that morning. (Insert thought: “If only I had a bike with hard cases… how much easier it would be to commute!”)

The weather cleared beautifully during the work day. I was sorely tempted to keep the bike close by, but with another storm expected the next day, I opted to shuttle her back to a dry parking spot in a friend’s garage across town.

As I headed south from home, I noted that the day was ending with a seriously gorgeous sunset, and what the hell, there was no deadline to put the Seca away, so I veered west to the newest section of coastal trail, south end. And got to see this:

Sunset at Noyo Headlands South Trail

Seriously, who can resist a sunset like this?

I sat and contemplated the clouds for a short time before heading out again.

Motorcycle and sky

I watched the colors change for a bit, then mounted up to get the bike inside and myself home before dark. But, then, you know how the colors get richer as the light fades? I was sure glad I’d grabbed the phone…

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean

Last look at a spectacular sunset.

Short ride. Spectacular view. Lucky me.

Until next time… cheers!
LRRL

First Ride of 2016

January 27, 2016

The weather and roads cleared enough today for me to get out on the bike, albeit for a short—very short—ride. Still and all, breathing the rain-scrubbed air from atop two wheels was pretty damn fine. I took the bike out of storage and she’s at my house tonight, ready to go should our expected clear skies manifest tomorrow. One never knows this winter…. all I can do is hope for the best.

Here are a few pics as I am ready to roll:

lilred herself

I’m not very good at this selfie thing… ;-)

bike from the saddle

I seriously need to look for a new windscreen.

Bonus photo, from a walk on New Year’s Day (because neither of the above photos is particularly satisfying):

waves and cormorants

Big waves offshore at MacKerricher State Park.

Happy New Year, fellow riders (and readers). I hope to see you on the road this year.

Keep the rubber side down!

–LRRL

Gratitude

November 26, 2015

Today I am reflecting on sorrow and gratitude both, for challenges I am experiencing and the growth that, with mindfulness, will be the outcome.

Today I offer gratitude for this moment, for family and friends who care about me, and I open my heart to the beauty of this world.

Today I offer gratitude for the community I have found through riding, that I have a running bike and money for fuel, and for the profound sense of awe and awareness in the present moment that occurs when I ride.

A friend shared a wise, wonderful video that I am passing on. I encourage you to take six short minutes out of your day to watch this, and to meditate on the beauty that is present in each of our lives, no matter what else is going on.

Ride safe. Be peace,

lilred

Passion

July 21, 2015

I had a profound realization today about myself.

Miles and decades ago, I took a fast ride down PCH1 from Long Beach south, on the back, with a new acquaintance. As we sat on the beach at sunset, this man asked me what my passions were. I had no idea. I was wallowing in a single desire that was not meant to be in my life.

Ever since, however, I have been stuck with the impression that I was not a passionate person. Today proved me so wrong, with multiple life circumstances colliding and bringing an unhealthy kind of passion to the fore of my personality. Not the mega-excited yet content and oh-so-Zen passion that I experience while riding, but the fiery energy that bursts forth at inconvenient times and can damage relationships if left unchecked.

With a “holy shit!” kind of realization, I realize my life’s challenging work is to harness this fiery passion, turn it into what Taijijuan masters term “equanimity” or inner peace, no matter what is happening externally.

Comments and advice welcome.

Peace,

LRRL

Five Weeks

February 19, 2015

Five weeks ago, I made a trip “over the hill” to begin the University of California Extension Master Gardener program training (that will be a story for another day). Fifty-three awesome miles of winding, twisting roads from my home in Fort Bragg to Ukiah, normally about an hour and fifteen or twenty minutes. Five weeks ago, that trip was cold (low 30s) both ways, dark coming home, and damp in the corners. Took me more than an hour and a half. No heated grips or gear meant frozen, numb fingers and difficulty pulling in the clutch lever, especially on the ride home. I was less than a happy rider when I pulled into my warm house; time under a heated blanket and a cup of tea warmed me up nicely for the rest of the evening.

As much as I wanted to be an “every week rider”, I decided I’d wait a few more weeks for evening skies to lighten up and warmer temps, both of which I was gifted with today. In the meantime, there were multiple storms making not such conducive riding anyway, but overall more dry days than wet and warmer pavement meant quicker cornering today. Nice!

So far this year I have already ridden more miles and more days than I was able to last year, and much of it on my own. I have committed myself to riding more, because as I’ve stated in older posts, riding acts as a balancing effect on my psyche. A meditative state that I sorely need in my busy life as a mom, partner, and worker bee.

The ramped-up riding this year leads me feeling that I have truly come into my own as a rider. I no longer feel a need to count the miles (though that can be fun), nor do I wait for someone to ride with. I have achieved a level of confidence — but not cockiness — that feels fantastic. One of the coolest things about riding to this class is learning how many of my classmates are also (or have been) riders! Riding is a great connector, in so many ways.

One of these days, I’ll take an extended solo trip in order to add that milestone to my career as a rider. Until then, I’ll keep making the trip over the hill as often as is feasible and savoring every moment. Cheers! LRRL

About Time . . .

July 4, 2014

. . .for a new post, that is. I can hardly believe I have not written anything on this blog for six months, and the last post was the annual recap put together by WordPress. Considering that I now have a bike, this is somewhat astonishing, although these fingers have not been idle in the interim. But more on that later.

A recent meeting with RJ, who rides — drum roll, please — a 1995 ZX6e, exactly like my former bike, encouraged me to get back blogging. I believe he enjoys reading tales from fellow motorcyclists.

Without further ado, here is a photo of my new-to-me motorcycle (and it’s another green bike… teehee…. albeit slightly darker and shinier—and more nekkid, than was Big Green), a 1993 Yamaha Seca II:

Lil Red's Yamaha Seca II

Did you know that in the UK, this bike is nicknamed the Diversion? I quite love that — to be diverted from the sameness of everyday life to life on two wheels! (Although, of course, there are those for whom the diversion happens everyday.)

Needless to say, my life has more contentment and joy simply knowing I can hop on two wheels again. The year without a motorcycle was a dark time for my soul, and I confess to not being a happy gal. it was a tough time, and I am grateful to have found my peaceful heart again through riding and also now back to a yoga practice. Riding is such a passion for me, and not having that option for a full year made my life feel withered and shrunk – I was not my best self during that time.

REVIEWING THE NEW RIDE

It took several rides to find my groove for the road again. If I’m honest, the Seca is a much easier bike in the corners. Tony says this is due to a more balanced center of gravity on this bike (he will correct me if I’m wrong on this point). Physics notwithstanding, I am appreciating the effortless handling. I don’t have to push on the handlebars to go around a corner; this really is a “lean and go” machine. That’s a wonderful feeling.

At 60hp, I have lost 48 hp from the Ninja, but I’m not missing it. On the ZX6, I sometimes felt nervous that I might accidentally use too much throttle and hurtle right off the road in a corner. No worries on that with the lower horsepower, and it does have astonishing grab and pull from around 7,000 rpm on up to redline at 10,500, which I have achieved. Never did that on the 6e; it was a scary proposition for me.

The Seca’s riding position is like that of a sport tourer; I can take my hands off the bars and my body position does not shift at all. This does offer a problem for my lower back. The sportier position on Big Green actually was more comfortable for my back, and I find myself crouching forward on longer rides on the Seca, to relieve the bit of lower back pressure.

The smallish negatives of this bike are that the seat is slightly uncomfortable, so I will be modifying this the next couple of weeks for an upcoming road trip with Tony and daughter, Eden. The mod may also help with the lower back pressure. And the Seca runs a little rougher than I’m accustomed to, with accompanying rattling loudness. Earplugs and a Quiet Rider are managing that issue.

While this may not be my be-all, end-all, keep-it-forever motorcycle, I am TREMENDOUSLY happy and incredibly grateful to be riding again. The weather is cooperating, I have two wheels, and I am stoked!

Here is one of the few pictures of me on the bike thus far, courtesy of Tony. Many more images will follow, as we hit the road in a short few weeks. This was taken in a restaurant parking lot on the way home from picking up the bike.

Liz riding her new Yamaha Seca IIDISCLAIMER: Do not follow my example and ride without gloves or adequate footwear, as you see the woman doing in this photo. Ensure that your motorcycle is adequately registered and insured. (We were, at least, insured.)

IN CONCLUSION

It’s good to be back among my fellow riders and the community of friends I have made on this journey of being a motorcyclist.

Watch for more posts as I am able to set aside personal time, given the workload I have in my business, RevUp Creative Media. I am now doing marketing for both Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and our local Mendocino Coast District Hospital, both of which encourage me to stretch the linguistic synapses in my brain in addition to my photographic eye (from interior and exterior portraits to floral and outdoor photography) and digital camera knowledge.

Cheers to all. I will see you on the road.

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Of course, I was not very active at writing, not having a motorcycle to ride all year :(, but that is going to change within in the next couple of months, and then I will be back… count on it! I also have a couple of guest posts upcoming, as I’ve been approached by a few people lately who’d like to participate! That, to me, means I’m doing a good thing with my blog.

See you all in 2014!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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