Almost 10 years ago soon after I began writing this blog, someone wrote to me and asked some questions. I answered him, and we continued to exchange messages. Over the years, my blog-inspired friend “S” and I had found where we were kindred spirits in many ways. He rides a Harley-Davidson Road King, like I do. But more often and more regularly … alas, I still deal with many competing challenges to my time.
When my (then partner, now) Spouse was extremely ill, S was always empathetic and supportive. I began having virtual motorcycle riding adventures through him, since I was so devoted to caregiving for The Spouse that I couldn’t ride much. Those “virtual rides” did wonders for my inner biker soul.
S was among the first to whom I wrote after I had my first (and hopefully only) crash last May. His outpouring of concern, strength, gentle advice, and support as I recovered from that incident will always be remembered.
And so it goes…
…as S has continued to live his life and I have gotten to know him, including more about his home life and nomadic winter hibernation, I have enjoyed building a friendship with a safe, sane, and insightful guy. He is straight, has a female partner, and even wears flip flops in southern locations, but I forgive him for that (that is, the flip-flops.) He is really a great guy and I am delighted to enjoy a friendship built on many years of ongoing communication, caring, and trust built over time.
S has purchased some boots that I have recommended, including All American patrol boots and Chippewa Firefighters. The only thing, though, is that he groused a bit about how hard the Firefighters are to lace up at first. But he agrees that they are about the most comfortable, durable motorcycle boots around.
I have another blog-inspired friend too, whose many comments readers of this blog have undoubtedly read, and I will write about my friendship with WC in the next post. I admire him a great deal, too.
Returning to my friendship with S — whose name and life details remain known to me but not published out of respect for his desire to remain anonymous — I am very pleased to see results of how cyberfriendships can occur and build deep bonds. We have gotten to know a lot about one another. I cherish S’s intelligence, humor, life-balance, values, and calm demeanor. He demonstrates quiet confidence and a positive outlook. He has many quality characteristics that I value and appreciate.
No wonder, then, how thrilled I was to have him accept my request to ride with me on my “bucket list II adventure” in Utah this summer. We will finally meet in person — on two wheels over five days of adventurous fun. Undoubtedly, we both will regale stories to our loved-ones and share photos of this trip for years to follow. I can hardly wait.
Besides riding on two wheels through spectacular scenery of the arid west of five of our beautiful country’s national parks and numerous visual monuments, we will build stronger bonds of friendship as brother bikers. Only real bikers “get it,” but we knowingly wink and gently explain to our non-biker family and friends, “don’t worry, we’ve got each other’s backs.”
My Spouse is very happy that I will be riding on the Utah adventure with a skilled, experienced, safe, sane, and cautious fellow Harley rider. We both believe in ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time), including wearing a DOT-listed motorcycle helmet even though a helmet is not required by law in Utah. We will ride only in daylight, on paved roads, and well within posted speed limits. We’re not hell-bent-for-leather kind of riders, anyway. We are out to see the sights, feel the road beneath two wheels, get bugs in our teeth, and enjoy a pleasant journey over five full days.
For those who worry about meeting someone on-line and doing something crazy — remember, we’ve known each other for almost 10 years; not like we met on some “meetup” site yesterday. We’re both mature, settled, middle-aged men. We both have partners for whom we care deeply and we know care for us. We have become buddies and brethren spirits. So there is a positive result for social media and this blog, in particular. I am pleased that it is all coming together.
Life is short: cherish bonds of long-term friendship.