Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cold and foggy with a full moon

I rode into work for the second day in a row today. It's been foggy both days, but today was colder -- 28°. We had a full moon last night and it was setting in front of me as I rode toward town. My bike has over 34,000 miles now and although I commute a lot, usually once a week or more year round, the majority of those miles are from the big trips I take. During the summer I also take a lot of weekend day trips of 100 to 200 miles each.

When I see my bike parked behind the building at work I think in my head, “Be patient, my friend, we will be going on a trip soon enough.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Describing the experience

I am conflicted when it comes to writing about my bike trips. Part of me wants to describe every detail and every experience and provide photos of the entire trip. When I'm standing atop an amazing viewpoint, looking down on a remote river valley or gazing up at a majestic mountain, I think of my friends and family and wish they could be there to experience it and see it as well.

[caption id="attachment_701" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Overlooking the Pacific on Hwy 1, north of San Francisco"][/caption]

There is another part of me, however, that has a different view of the issue. Sometimes I even hold a slight resentment for those that didn't make the trip. I'm the one that rode hundreds or even thousands of miles to get there, I'm the one that put in the time, effort, and expense to make that experience possible. Why should others benefit from the photos and descriptions without having to pay the price to obtain them?

Selfishly, I love reading the ride reports provided by other people when they visit exotic places. I get frustrated when they don't provide enough photographs. We all like to live vicariously through other people and to experience what they have as well. It's exciting to hear about other people's adventures and to see what they went through.

[caption id="attachment_702" align="alignleft" width="426" caption="5,000 feet below"][/caption]

It's hypocritical for me to want to read about other people's adventures without wanting to share my own. I realize this. On the other hand, I like it when people take an interest in my motorcycle trips. I also hope that someday it will inspire others to want to take up the activity as well, although I am under no illusions about it. Maybe 1% of the people that hear my stories take the action necessary to do it themselves and I can accept that. Motorcycling is not for everyone, and many of my friends and family think I'm nuts for doing it.

That may be true. But that doesn't stop me from doing it.

Perhaps my stories and photographs inspire people in a different way. Instead of motivating them to take up motorcycling, it may instill in them an appreciation for the diversity and wonder of our planet. When they see a photograph of a mountain or a desert or river and hear my description of the geography and topology of the area, perhaps it will inspire them to visit that place (regardless of how they get there, on two wheels or four).

[caption id="attachment_703" align="alignright" width="300" caption="I've seen some amazing sights"][/caption]

When I'm on a trip the thought that goes through my mind more than any other is, "I wish so-and-so could see this." It's not just the places that I stop and see, it's the whole experience of traveling through those areas as well. Not all wonderful things are static, many are dynamic as well. Zooming down a curvy road at the bottom of a river canyon is a completely different but equally magnificent experience than standing on a viewpoint above it looking down. I try my best to describe it in words but it's something that just has to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. When I'm having a good ride, the last thing I want to do is stop and take pictures -- I want to keep riding!

Maybe I should put a disclaimer at the beginning of every ride report that says, "You really should see this for yourself. It's worth the trip."

It truly is.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chilly rides into work

[Updated 1/4/2010] It's been a pair of chilly rides to work this week. The temperature gauge has been below 25 every morning. Air seeps around my face shield and chills my cheeks and forehead. I got a pair of 'Triple Digit' glove covers from Aerostich as a Christmas present and they work great in the cold weather. After taking a week off between Christmas and new year, it was good to get back to work. I only got a few short rides in during the break, all of them cold or wet. This time of year, that's about the extent of my rides.