Sunday, September 7, 2014

Man and Machine

 So just a couple weeks ago I was on vacation. I put about twenty six hundred miles on the sportster that week. A lot of time and effort was put into making the bike road worthy and except for a cracked frame and a foot peg wanting to fall off, it held up well. I had a great time on the bike but I was really never one with the machine.
 Saturday afternoon I went for a ride after work. The sun was shining and it was great riding weather. Pre-fall kind of weather. A light jacket or a sweatshirt was just right to stay comfortable. The bike was running perfect. I ran a tank of fuel through the v-twin and was in need of more. A quick fuel stop and I was back on my way.
 I hopped on the interstate and headed toward home. My shadow was in front of me and stretched out about fifty feet. I moved my boots to the passenger pegs and leaned into the wind. The air was rushing up my helmet and past my ears but wasn't loud enough to drown out the sound of the engine pounding out a steady pleasing beat. The pressure of the wind pushing on my chest held me up and allowed me to just relax as I was blasting down the road. Everything felt right. I could feel every imperfection in the road as I made lane changes to pass slower traffic. The deep groove between lanes sent an anticipated shake through the bike as I crossed over it. It was happening, I moved past just riding this bike to a place where I am one with it. Everything just comes naturally now and I don't even have to think about the machine under me.

 Chicken fries are back! I don't know what that means but I'm gonna go twenty miles out of my way to find out. Why? Because I can. The sun is down now but I can still see without the need of a headlight. Its the time of the day when you can see the bats come out to dine. There is almost no traffic in front of me so I roll on some throttle. I scan the road for hiway patrol. Faster now. We're approaching speeds where the don't even ask for your license. They just slap on the bracelets and haul you away. Faster still. The speed rating of the tires has been exceeded. We won't stay here long. My exit is ahead. Push right. Push right. Exit now. The bike doesn't react like a crotch rocket but it does everything asked of it. I think to myself, not bad for an old cruiser. The bike handled all right too.
 Its dark now. I retire my shades and switch to clear glasses. My face shield has a pretty thick layer of bugs on it but I can still see alright. I don't dare raise the shield or my glasses will get coated in bugs. Faster now. I'm hauling precious cargo. Burgers and chicken fries that I don't want to get cold. Twisty back roads through deer country means I have stopped worrying about cops and am now on the lookout for wildlife on the move. Still moving at a quick pace. A narrow path weaving through the forest so it seems in the dark. Whats that? Movement from the left. DEER! All at the same time I feed input to the front brake, rear brake and air horn. The deer crossed the left lane and turned back by the time it reached the yellow line. No problem, he's gone now. Roll on more throttle. Gotta keep pushing. Movement on the right! A deer enters my lane from that side. I react fast. Same reaction as last time. Squealing tire! Too heavy on the rear binder and locked the tire. The rear steps out a bit. Countersteering now. Slowing down fast. Ease off the pedal and steer left. The deer is next to me now as the bike straightens up. I can hear his hoof beat on the asphalt.  I notice now there are two deer in the road on my right. A dozen more just off the shoulder.
 I remained calm through the entire event. That only comes when you're comfortable on a bike. Slower now. I knew this area was thick with deer. Slower now. No point in risking an accident just for a warm meal. Slower still as I enter the city limits. A few blocks from home now, I wish the ride wasn't coming to an end. Pulling into the drive I look back at the ride and I think how much I like the way this bike is coming along and the experiences I'm having on it.


  1. Nice! Very nice description of an excellent ride; you did not need to post any pictures due to your 'word picture'. How was your chow?
    -Iron Vaquero

  2. Thanks. The burgers were still warm but I can not recommend chicken fries. I ate half of one and switched to onion rings :-)