Only their were none. I saw a grand total of three bikers out enjoying the ride on my 30+ mile trip to work...the reason was simple. The oppressive "Heat Dome" that was covering most of the United States was causing higher than normal humidity in Florida. That higher humidity meant that we had 85 degree (29 C) weather at 9 AM. By 3 PM it felt like 105 degrees (40.6 C).
When I got off of work at 3 PM, the storm started and dropped the temperatures down but also caused steam to raise off the concrete and asphalt. Not exactly ideal riding by any definition.
To get in some sort of riding related fix I've been listening to the Motorcycles and Misfits podcast. I was introduced to this show by Norman Reedus. It's entertaining and downright funny at times and often interesting show at least.
They also challenged me personally by asking three simple questions:
- How has motorcycling changed you?
- What was your favorite ride?
- What makes an accomplished rider?
Out of those three questions, I find the first to be the hardest answer to actually answer and explain. I enjoy riding more than I ever thought I would, because it opens me up to nature a bit more then traveling in a car does. I'm not talking about the wind on my face, or the fact that we are hot, cold, wet, sunburned, bug spattered bikers. No...it's much more subtle.
I find myself watching the sky as I ride. The other day I looked up and saw a deep blue azure that reminded me of the ocean of my youth. The cloud's appeared to break against the sky like waves on a shore, creating a foamy froth that diluted the sun into pinks, oranges, greys, blues, reds...so much color....so much beauty.
When I'm on my bike, I notice cows. Each one has a unique mark. Or how the shadows interplay with the road. The cows are still there with the markings, the shadows still dance on the pavement. Why don't I seem to notice them or care when I'm surround by glass with the radio blaring?
While I always loved travel and seeing what was around the bend, on the bike I'm likely to go around that bend. In the car? Not so much.
What is my favorite ride?
I'm going to have to say the one in the Bahama's is up there. Although Sue and her mother, who traveled with us somehow managed to get lost in their rented vehicle. They were supposed to follow us...and by us I mean her daughter (who had never ridden a motorcycle before) and me.
I spent a lot of time worrying about her daughter and Sue....probably more than I should have, and that prevented me from truly enjoying the trip. Although it would have been nice to have stopped here and there at some of the more interesting sites.
It does make me desire to go back to the Bahama's however and spend more time there. Or better yet, go scootering in other countries.
Although my favorite ride was, and still is my little secret road. Even though I've traveled it several times I still have yet to see another biker on it, and it still challenges me.
I like to think though that my favorite ride is always the next one I take. That one of these days I will have that epic adventure and end up someplace new, wondrous and beautiful. You can do worse.
What makes an accomplished rider?
Making it home alive on a day by day basis. No, I'm not joking. Nor am I completely serious. Sure, you can travel the world, have 3 or 4 or 5 different bikes. Ride in every type of foreseeable condition.
Are you being safe? Are you making it home to those that love you every time?
Miles traveled and epic adventures are one thing...but if recent history has taught me anything. It's making it home to be with the ones that you love that make the difference. Every other accomplishment pails in comparison to that one.