Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Divide 'tween Old Riders and Young Riders

There has always been a bit of a "conflict" between young and old... there always will be. The fortunate are those that survive long enough to learn.

I once was a wild young Bronc Rider... one of the few that had the sense kicked IN to him rather than OUT! ;)

Just like Bronc Riders... out on that Ribbon of Asphalt, there are wild young riders and there are Old riders... but very few Wild Old riders. There are exceptions... but in the whole scheme of things... they are just that... exceptions.

The road has little patience with young riders. It offers few second chances. It responds poorly to those whose testosterone leads them to defy its risks and dangers. Those who ride with disrespect for the road rarely survive long enough to become old riders.

For a time the young demon may impress with their feats and daring... but in the end... they most often live only in memory, for the way they passed... not sat with, sharing a fire.

The old rider has lasted long enough to realize that to be in a  frantic hurry to get where he's going is to deprive himself of much of the pleasure of the going in the first place. He's learned the trip is over when you get there... and his desire is to extend the run... not foreshorten it.

The old rider travels at a pace, and stops more often along the way, to allow him to see what he's riding through... the impatient young pushes on with his eyes on the odometer.

The old biker savors the warmth of a cup of coffee, and quiet conversation in a roadside cafe' along the way of a chilly morning ride... the young chokes down gas station joe and scrambles back onto his bike to hammer down the road.

The old rider has found that putting his knees in the wind in the mountains; riding not slow... but not face tightening fast; the bike swinging back and forth in a graceful dance from turn to turn, its engine throbbing under him as it pulls down into a bend, then surging back up into a straight, a relaxed, rhythmic pace that produces a serenity in the spirit...

... is far superior to the frenzied almost manic thrashing of a machine through the twisties.

The old rider has found that if he does want miles under his tires... wild eyed speed is not the ticket... but a measured, quiet, sustainable momentum. Push too hard and you ride past the point where you physically can't keep up... and the old timer waves with a smile as he cruises on by...

... the wild youngster laying exhausted on the shoulder.

Most important; The Old Biker has found that the ride is for him, and him alone. He doesn't ride to impress the cagers with his masculinity, or his pards with his daring do...

He rides for his own mind, his own heart... and for the serenity of his own soul...

... and he leaves the wild rides... to the Young Riders.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lots of California on My Mind

Been making a lot of miles along U.S. 395 in the Eastern Sierras.

Took one that hooked around the south end of the range to visit a sick buddy over to Turlock; Which included that sweet ride through the Kern River Canyon.

A few days back we made a ride over the June Lake loop, another sweet if too short loop that made up for the too few miles with an excellent cafe at Silver lake.

*Along CA 158 near June Lake*

The day after that we made a ride up SW of Mammoth Lakes to  Lakes Mary and Mamie

 I couldn't complain about the view for a light pic nic "lunch" along the way...or the views farther along the way...

And when you get back to camp from day rides... just in time for an easy walk with the dogs... just at sunset...

... it would be a pretty pitiful rider that complained.

Then Monday morning we climbed on the scooter and rode CA 120 up over Tioga Pass that climbs into Yosemite from the east.

After having wandered all across the west for the past 40 years plus... Tioga Road was one I'd never timed my travels here to roll on. Mostly I was too late in the fall or too early in the spring and it was closed up for the winter.

The best thing 'bout riding there this time of year is that the traffic is so light. It's heavier down in Yosemite Valley itself, but still light compared to the heavy mid summer season. We almost never got caught behind cars or RV's... just that sweet ribbon of highway in front of us...

There was a bit of snow hangin' on up at 9300 feet or so... but it wasn't on the asphalt so just roll on through. ;)

As soon as we started down the west side the snow thinned out... and the temp climbed until it was up into the 80's I believe in the valley...

But when you have two wheels and roads like these... all you have to do to keep cool... is keep rollin'.

We took a short break at the Ahwahnee Hotel while the back seat did some shopping...

As soon as she was done we turned the bikes for home... rode back through the tunnels...

... and learned the road in the opposite direction... which is pretty cool, 'cause they seem to have almost a whole different look t'other way! ;)

We climbed back over Tuolumne Meadows and dropped back down that steep eastern grade... just ahead of a tailgaiter in a mid sized motorhome... makes ya keep an eye on a mirror for sure! ;)

... To make it back to camp just in time for supper! ;)

The days are getting longer... The rides area getting finer... and a few thousand miles of highway are calling to me.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Riding... Conscious or Sub-Conscious

How many times have you seen a driver/rider allow themselves to be distracted and end up doing something stupid as a consequence?

You get angry and think what a damn fool... right?

But then you get all embarrassed because you do the same damn fool thing; You allow yourself to become distracted.

You know what happened to the Old Time mountain men... if they allowed themselves the luxury of distraction?... uh huh. Their hair ended up hangin' on some Warriors lance.

So... you think there's no defense... we're all fallible and there's nothing you can do... Right?


There -IS- a defense. It's a Biker Cowboy Zen kind of a thing.

Here's the deal... Only your CONSCIOUS mind can become distracted. Your subconscious is always in there... 24/7... even when you're asleep... watching, waiting... looking out for you - IF - you learn to employ it. If you sharpen your connection with it. IF you train yourself to listen to it.

It's that little voice whispering too you at times... Listen to it.

The key is to train yourself to respond to its subconscious cues. Those old mountain men rode safely through a hostile world seeming to pay no attention to the world around them. Yet the sound of a bird, the snap of a branch... or in-appropriate silence triggered a subtle reaction in them that caused them to turn off onto other trails... change what they were doing subtly and almost imperceptibly.

They didn't react to things with wild panic and excitement... they simply adjusted their behavior in subtle ways to circle around the "difficulties" that presented.

But the consequence was... they rode on safely.

Onlookers watching might have decided that there was never a problem to begin with... they were just lucky, or that the Mountain Men were some sort of magical omniscient beings.

The reality was, their very conscious and deliberate early attention and training to the world around them taught them to subconsciously and automatically react to tiny and almost invisible bits of information.

That might look like magic or a sixth sense to the casual observer, but it was simply that they had trained themselves to be finely attuned to their environment. That gave them the opportunity to take proactive actions that led them out of harms way...

...before "Harms way" had the opportunity to create the great difficulties that would need to be over come.

Nothing comes out of Nowhere. There are Always warning signs -IF- you have trained yourself to be attuned to their subtle existence.

There's an old saying; "You don't survive by winning gun fights. You survive by Avoiding them." They same idea holds with riding a motorcycle. You don't survive by riding out of trouble. You survive by not riding into it in the first place.

Over time, as you consciously work to hone your senses... they begin to function subconsciously... and you react automatically... and your riding seems to suddenly become very peaceful with fewer and fewer "close call" incidents... because your Never Distracted Subconscious perceived the threat early...

... and moved you out of the way before it could reach critical mass. It gets to the point where your conscious mind doesn't even hear the whispers any more... it starts to run on autopilot with that internal safety system always functioning... Un-Distractable.

As you ride, see an "issue" and consciously, deliberately visualize two things. 1. How do you get out of that situation. and 2. What were the "Warning Signs" that preceded the "Situation". Over time, those thoughts will become a muscle memory (subconscious) that will serve you well.

You're riding along day dreaming about something or other... the sort of thing those cagers/riders do that leads to stupidity...

...Only in your case, you've trained your conscious mind to surrender control at times to that other mind... It keeps your head swiveling, day dream or not. It sees that car approaching the red light at too high a rate of speed. The situation IS perceived.

... in mid day dream, a thousand miles away, your hand rolls off the throttle without thinking about it...

... and you watch the fool run the light, past you, in front of you. Honed to a fine edge.

But... You have to start that honing with deliberate, conscious alertness. It takes time and effort.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Do You Speak Crushing Sorrow and Uplifting Joy... All in ONE Word?

Some days are a deep and melancholy loneliness.

Everywhere I look it's the same. I seem surrounded by bald faced, arrogant, mindless, hateful, stupidity.

People trying to get over on other people. And for what? A few dollars? Some bits of stuff? Or even to simply impose their pathetic, transient will.

I find only glassy eyed fools not comprehending that when they cheat and steal and lie and abuse... they gain nothing durable while their own souls suffer the greatest loss.

They murder each other for their shoes, their political beliefs, or worse, for some imagined "religious" principal, never realizing that "Religion" is politics under color of faith and politics alone... NOT a spiritual communion with a higher power.

To look out at all man has wrought and realize that just about the only thing I see of value any more, out of all the generations of struggle, are the two lane roads and the two wheeled machines invented to roll along them; is a great sadness ~ and a greater joy... all in the same moment.

I made this comment on another blog; "Is why I like my Yamaha on a ribbon of Highway with nothing and no-one else in sight... except the Horizon." ... which brought me to this post. :)

The darkness lightens. The howling cacophony of soh-sigh-uh-tee subsides... and for a while, all is right with the world.

How do I put all that into one word?

 ~ Motorcycle ~

Grab Your Handles and Ride

*Ed Note* I've had to change commenting to "Registered" users to combat the growing deluge of spam... easier than the 'verification words' that you can't read. ;)