This past Saturday I briefly found the old me: A motorcycle rider who is completely happy to explore the beautiful roads of our area alone, since my riding buddy works on Saturday.
My husband has been working in the motorcycle industry for 7 years, and that entails working on the busiest day of the week for motorcycle shops, Saturday. There was a time that I had the pleasure of working some Saturdays in Parts and Apparel at Moto400, but for most of the 7 years, I have explored North Georgia on my bike solo. I found our beautiful home in the country on one of those days, when we were still living in Roswell and pining to live closer to the great riding just 50 or so miles north of us. I have discovered great roads, many short-cuts, off the beaten track restaurants and shops, massive amounts of mud, deserted and spooky one lane roads, and been chased by dogs. All in the pursuit of fun!
Well, my life changed in January of 2013, when we moved my Mom here from Florida. Since then, I have spent almost all of my Saturdays with Mom. You can read the latest on Mom’s situation and our family’s struggle with her dementia here. I don’t regret these Saturdays, not at all. I just felt like I might be losing a part of me in all of this.
So, this past Saturday, with Mom comfortably settled in her new home, I decided I would ride. Ok, I will fess up; the day started with a Mom errand; returning her disconnected Comcast modem to their service center in Alpharetta. Not only was that in the wrong direction (toward the city), but it involved Comcast and a 40+ minute wait. Ridiculous.
So, that errand attempted and failed, I set my sights on a visit to the husband at his new place of employment. Now it’s been two full months that he’s been working at the ultimate toy store, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, and I haven’t been to visit. I was way overdue.
I took a scenic route through Old Roswell and along the Chattahoochee River. It was still city riding, but very enjoyable. Arriving at the shop, I was able to reacquaint myself with those that I knew, and meet a number of hub’s new coworkers. I shopped, caught up, and was able to even sneak in a quick sandwich with hub between customers.
Visit completed, I headed Northeast on I-75 and I-575 for about 20 miles, then headed into the hills on back roads. Ah, the stress melted away. The skies were gray and the weather forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms and showers. It was a hot afternoon, so I figured I would take my chances with the rain, and skipped donning the rain suit.
As I headed east over Burnt Mountain, I remembered my favorite weed was in bloom along the roadsides, so I decided to stop for a photo op. I rode up a steep hill into a would-be community with one house and a number of empty lots. Success! I found my weed.
On my way back down to the main road, the view stopped me in my tracks, and I put the bike on the side stand, and in neutral, and held the foot brake while taking the shot of a small vineyard with the mountains in the distance.
This was all well and good until I tried to bring the bike back off the side stand, while it leaned downhill, in neutral. Not possible with my limited inseam and the weight of the bike. I had to stop and actually laugh at my predicament. I know better. But there I found myself despite knowing better.
I took a few deep breaths, dismounted the bike, turned the handlebars full lock to the right and pushed the beast around until it was headed back uphill. Jammed it into first gear, mounted up and rode back to the top to turn around. We’re having fun now! At this point I was bathed in sweat, in my full riding gear. Fortunately my summer gear is mostly mesh, and riding a mile or so in a standing position was just what I needed to cool down!
One last stop was called for, to drink some water and get a scenic shot of the bike at a mountain overlook.
After leaving the overlook, as I approached the highest point on this route, it was apparent that it had recently rained and the resulting cool air was a relief. I counted myself lucky to avoid the rain, but still benefit from the temperature change. For the remainder of the ride I set a smooth and steady pace, and approached the many twists and turns with single-minded focus. It was truly a relaxing and zen-like experience; these familiar curves all mine to enjoy with no traffic for a dozen miles. I completely believe in this motorized version of meditation, which offers the same centering and stress-relieving benefits.
The old me is feeling a deep gratitude for this passion of mine, and itching to ride again!