Chalking up 2019 as my year of riding my Harley solo. Last year, I left the motorcycle riding club of which I had been a member, officer, and Road Captain for a long time when it lost its identity. That is, new owner/sponsor changed the name of the club to align with the name of his company, which is named after a city where we do not live and not even a state.
What was worse, they promised they wouldn’t change the name, but lied to our face and did it anyway. So I quit.
What is even more worse…
…only a few people felt the same way that I did, and remained with the club. Sad situation, and I miss it. I am still friends with most of the long-term members, but they now go on their own rides and do not invite me to join them.
When I reach out to them to ask to ride together, my ask comes at the wrong time. They’re busy, they don’t know if they’re going to ride on a particular day, or they don’t plan ahead. When they do decide to ride, they text each other (in small groups) and just go. Unfortunately, I can’t be that spontaneous. I need to rearrange my schedule to carve out time for riding from other community commitments that I have.
I guess this lack of contact may have something to do with my choice not to be equipped to receive or send texts. I dislike the requirement that in order to receive or send text messages, you have to have a phone equipped to handle it, and I don’t (and won’t.)
But it IS prime motorcycle riding season. Spouse knows that I still enjoy getting out there on two wheels. I reach a “zen-state” of existence that non-bikers do not know. It is relaxing, comforting, and brings joy. So he encourages me when we complete our weekend chores to “go for a ride.” So I do… alone.
I have tried calling some friends on the phone when these spontaneous riding times arise. But they’re always busy and my calls go to voice mail. I doubt any of them use a phone any more for actual talking by voice. To me, texting is so impersonal… what’s the matter with actually speaking on the phone with one another any more?
I say to myself, “while it is less fun to ride alone, at least you’re riding.” I gear up in motorcycle boots, long pants, and other protective gear, and roll the Harley from his parking place to the center of the garage. I always check to make sure my bike is safe and ready to ride.
Then I strap on my helmet and mount the bike. Take off and ride. Where? Who cares? I’m riding.
But riding solo.
I like to ride with other people. I am uncertain, but the reluctance of other friends to ride with me may have something to do with how cautious and somewhat slow I am. I ride the speed limit, but no more than that (or no more than 5mph above). Most of my friends like to ride faster than old putt-putt me.
I also am cautious on tight right turns. I cannot turn my head the way we’re taught to look where I want the bike to be. My neck is not a swivel. Old skydiving injury of two vertebrae in my neck prevents that. Thus, I have to turn my body toward a curve or a turn onto another road. Doing so slows me down. My more skilled and more nimble-riding friends don’t like that and get tired of waiting for old putt-putt to catch up.
I also fatigue more quickly than most due to a chronic intestinal condition. I manage it well; however, I get tired quicker and as such, I do not like to ride long distances or go on all-day rides (exception, “S”… I’ll ride with you all day for long rides anywhere as long as I build up my stamina and stop at least once an hour for hydration breaks.)
I will keep riding as long as my Harley keeps going (and I maintain it to take care of me safely.) It’s sad, though, to have to ride solo this year.
Life is short: keep riding, even if you have to go it alone as shown (photo of me yesterday):