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
. . .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:
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.
DISCLAIMER: 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.)
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.
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.
I’ve just set up a GoFundMe page for my daughter, Eden, who wants to attend a summer teen art and language institute in the beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where her grandparents (my folks) now live full time.
I’m thinking I should set up a GoFundMe page for a new motorcycle. . . hmmmm. . . dreaming!
(Anyone who is interested in helping us get Eden to art camp this summer can find the link to donate on my Facebook page. The GoFundMe button is not active on the image at right.)
I love how interconnected our motorcycling community is. Via Princess Scooterpie comes this challenge from rider/author Gary France, to post and share a photo of your motorcycle in the most interesting place you have parked your bike. I was going to write, “the coolest place you can think of”, but if I had a photo like that, my photo would definitely be featuring an exotic, foreign locale. Like this. (Thanks, Matthew, for your adventures and posting such great pix!)
Alas, my adventures have only taken me through the western U.S. to date. The good news is that I have many, many fond memories of awesomely cool rides in cool places, and a couple of photos to share.
I can’t resist sharing my favorite picture of me riding in an interesting place. (Gary, does this count? If not, scroll down for my “parked” favorite.)
My #1: Riding along the Abert Rim in Southern Oregon. On the right is Lake Abert, an alkali lake that only supports a colony of brine shrimp, and the birds that feed on them.
Really, I still love that photo, taken by my love, Tony Reed.
But I have clearly digressed.
Here is my number one choice for “parked motorcycle photo”. This is along the Salmon River Scenic Byway in Idaho (Hwy 93) and the monolith is Tower Rock, also known as early explorer William Clark’s “The Clift”. Lewis and Clark passed this way in 1805, and this outcrop contains some of the oldest rock in Idaho (pre-cambrian quartzite). That’s Lil Red, on the viewer’s right.
Thanks, Gary, for a fun chance to relive some of my favorite road trips! I am eagerly looking forward to seeing other rider submissions, and your favorite picks.
I said goodbye to Big Green this morning. I ran out of steam for trying to get it running right – again. It never liked being parked for the winter, and our humid coastal climate didn’t help matters much.
There is a space in my garage, awaiting whatever bike will come next… now I get to dream (and start checking bike specs all over again); fun!
Farewell, Big Green. You took me many happy miles, and I know you will bring more than a few thrills, lots of grins, and big giggles to your next riders. Thanks for the memories…