Friday, March 15, 2013
A Good Day to Ride
Temperatures reached 85 degrees today in South Central Kansas. Motorcycles rumbled at every intersection I approached. Helmeted, unhelmeted, blue jeans, khakis, or leather; everyone was out today. Mostly I ride on long trips to Colorado or Texas, so tooling around back roads and side streets without a destination was different. Now that I have my own bike and no longer have to beg and borrow, I look forward to exploring the local byways.
Today I learned that I am a little rusty on greetings. In my youth, when I rode a lot, greeting another motorcyclist was a big deal. It had to be done just right. Today I tried holding up one fist (hey that is what we did in the 1980s). Hopefully I did not start a gang war. Fist to the sky did not get warm responses.
I ignored the next few riders--watched them in my peripheral vision, but made not social effort at all. While this engendered a feeling of badass, lonewolf, rebelliousness, it was unsatisfying--a little too cool, perhaps.
The next rider threw me a bone, he calmly lowered his left hand and held it out, not quite a left turn hand signal. I returned the greeting. It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears when the porridge was just right. The next guy gave the same greeting, or was slipping a boot knife free. (I wasn’t worried because knives are way too short for jousting or mounted attacks in general.)
When it comes down to it, I really don’t care about protocol and tradition. Maybe that is what riding is about, but I am just trying to get down the road on my Harley, something I have dreamed of since I sold the Sportster in 1999. I’ll learn that stuff at my own pace. (I did google the motorcycle hand greetings when I got home.)
Freedom of the road is the main thing, which means freedom to be yourself. This reminds me of one of my favorite Twitter profiles: @SarahLBlair “I’m just a girl. Standing here with a manuscript. Asking an agent to love it.”
Well, I’m just Scott. I write, ride, and rock and roll. I love my Road King.