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Do you HAVE to Chit-Chat With Other Riders?

When I glanced at the clock this morning, I hadn’t really planned on heading out for a day ride. It just sort of… happened. It was already a later start than I normally take so I opted for the ferry rather than riding off of Long Island via the Bronx.

When I pulled into the ferry parking lot I was the only motorcycle in line. The dock crew usually keeps motorcycles off to the side to squeeze them on wherever they’ll fit once the cars load.  I sat there for 10 minutes or so waiting my turn to ride up the ramp. While waiting, another motorcyclist arrived and pulled into the loading corral next to me. I gave a smile and a quick wave as we sat there idling, waiting to board.

When the dock staff motioned for us to go, the two of us loaded into the same area in the belly of the boat.

After parking, we both shed our gear and readied ourselves to head upstair to pay our fare. I didn’t make any small talk with my fellow rider or really even glance his way. You know how you can feeeeel someone looking at you like they want to talk? Yeah… that.

Sometimes, like this morning, that makes me feel like a dick. But the reality is, I just didn’t feel like talking. To anyone. I know I can come across as standoffish or chilly but, I’m just introverted. It sounds cliche but it’s not them, it’s me.

This leads me to question: Does the bond of riding oblige you to acknowledge your fellow motorcyclist or engage them deeper than just a quick hello? The rational part of me says, no. But the social norm part of me isn’t so sure.

I’m so socially awkward. It’s ridiculous.

Notes from the Road: Paper Memories

How many times have you been riding along on your motorcycle enrapt in the most brilliant, concise and clear thoughts? With each passing mile the answers to life’s questions making themselves plain. Your problems? Solved. The great novel that is your life spills through your mind with brilliant clarity.

Then as soon as you turn the key off, those strokes of genius dissipate into the ether.

Damn.

In even more simple terms, I find that even remembering where I saw something, what was said, what town I passed through on a given day has become more of a challenge. Given that I have always been the type to chronicle things, writing these snippets down when I’m traveling is a natural fit.

This morning I cracked open a little notebook that was in my tankbag and found this gem written in there:

I feel beautiful when I’m riding my motorcycle.

Since I wrote it down, I guess that is something I figured I would forget.

A few years ago, in addition to having little notebooks or pads tucked away in my bag, I started to make little books out of old cardboard and sheets of paper. While I’m traveling I stick scraps of paper, postcards, pamphlets and notes in to them. I seem to make one for each big trip that I take.

Even if I just jot down the most rudimentary outline of information, like the date and a town name – that in conjunction with the photos I took help to jog my memory and keep the story straight.

Do you chronicle your trips while you’re in the middle of them?

Escapism and Healing Through Motorcycles

After fourteen years together, I tearfully said goodbye to my sweet pup last week. I am devastated by her absence. She came home from the shelter with me before I knew my husband, before my daughter came into the world. She was the first member of the family that I began to build for myself as an adult. I love and miss her terribly.

Over the weekend, I tried to be normal and to cope with my feelings of loss. Typically, I tried to keep busy taking care of the things that need to be taken care of at home. But sometimes the place where you live, that place you’ve filled up with memories can feel like a prison.

With a crazed sense of urgency it seemed that I might lose my mind if I stayed in this house one second longer. I had to flee. The feelings washed over me in a panic.

My motorcycle provided the perfect escape.

There is something healing in those two simple wheels. I experienced that when I lost my dad last year. Being immersed in the task at hand, being focused on what you’re doing allows you to ignore all of the nagging stresses, the hurts, the aspects of your life that you just want to turn off.

I think I would have had a complete meltdown this weekend were it not for the ability to ride, to get away from the part of myself I didn’t want to deal with.

Two-wheels to healing.