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Finding the positives

A late catch-up. 2/2
  1. Woke up this morning (slicing that word pretty close to the line, admittedly) to the sound of rain on the roof. I got up, made a vat of coffee, stared without focus out of the kitchen window at all the shiny wet green stuff and, smiling, came back to bed. Covered in cats, under new bed linen (which I treated myself to by riding to IKEA while I could still get there) drinking hot sweet coffee... and not feeling any self-imposed pressure to 'fcuk the rain and ride!' or watch for a break in the weather to nip to the shops to get chicken stock or hope it passes so I can get out later and where should I go? ....Because I'm not allowed to.
    For the first time in months the sight and sound of rain isn't a frustrating one-finger-salute from the Gods, but a smiley, snuggly invitation to curl up with some old movies, cook something hearty and homely, and just chill out.

    Yesterday was A Good Day. A very generous member of the SA NR crew had been persuaded to put his rear pegs back on his gleaming white R1 and take a strange girl for a pillion burn. I mean, I can be pretty cheeky at times, and get away with quite a lot with a big smile and a bit of bombasticism, but I genuinely consider it a great kindness to re-attach the pegs to yer bike and break a 15 year pillion duck just to make a whining stranger smile. It doesn't pass unnoticed.

    Not only was it great to make another new friend in what another NR'r referred to (to my delight) as meatspace, put a face to a 'voice', and get out of the cyber-shell, it was also incredibly good to be back on a machine of real power and grace again. Yes, the rear seat is the highest I've yet perched on, and I'd forgotten that R6 and I had added a non-slip seat cover to his which eliminated pilot nut-crush on braking...which this of course doesn't have. (Oops, sorry!) But oh the deep bass vibration of that engine, and the harmonics in the sound of a throttle rev. Yummmmmmm. She's a beaut. And my pilot rode in a manner which was both reassuringly competent and wickedly fun in perfect balance. (Because every biker has an anarchist somewhere in their soul, dont they? ;)) Of course he was taking it easy on me, and I think it'd take a bit more bedding-in of seating position and familiarity before I'd want that to be thrown to the wind, but having ridden once or twice with guys who couldn't control their bike, its easy to recognise someone who can. Nice job, Sir. :)

    But a couple of things occurred to me within a k of take-off...
    Pillioning. Ah, using all those OTHER muscles again. Stand down, biceps triceps and extensors; Up to the mark delts and trapezi-whatsits. And neck? Yeah, you're just gonna have to work it out among yourselves. Calves, ready for those faring bruises again? Thighs, good to go? Feeling grippy? Awesome.
    Ha. Yes, I'm gonna have to see a Chiro before my entire upper body gives up in confusion... :) Muscle memory helps, but it took a minute or five to get Brian to remember what we know.

    And then there's intimacy. Yeah.
    I'd forgotten how much a part of pillioning is the necessity to totally invade another person's personal space. And until yesterday it hadn't occurred to me that only once before have I ridden with someone who I wasn't dating, and very familiar with physically. Or that it has been three months without much in the way of human contact at all. Oh, hang on, if I'm not going to fall off this high, slippery seat I'm gonna have to, well, hang on. I'm going to have to slip my arms round to brace on the tank and grip a stranger's waist with my knees. Well...this is awkward! Ha. Not that I imagined for a moment that my pilot had a problem with it. You carry a pillion, they hang on to you. Dur. A nice, cool dude, nothing nefarious, no big deal. It was totally my own "oh, yeah" moment, the breaking of self-imposed barriers that I not only naturally have but have definitely reinforced during the last 12 weeks or so. Being a pillion is quite an intimate thing. Its a trust relationship between rider and passenger, and it makes you both, for the duration of the ride, a unit. There's no room for social awkwardness or very-English reserve when two of you are clinging to the top of a 6 foot long lump of metal travelling at murder speed. And that's a good thing, because one thing I need to be reminded of regularly in life is to loosen the f up. Not just physically but mentally. My neck and shoulders will thank me if I learn that lesson. Besides, if I'm planning on being a total rear-seat-monkey for six months with anyone who'll take me, I'd better get over that pretty quick! By April I'll be hugging strangers and resting my elbow on the shoulders of people in the checkout queue in Woolworths.... ;)

    (See, even with no licence of my own, the learnings continue. Life's great like that. You cant always get what you want, but you'll always be given what you need. :))

    Anyway, we went to see a thoroughly delicious display of classic bikes which provided the opportunity to introduce one new NR friend to another, who had brought his very cool daughter along - so she and I disappeared off to let the boys talk sprockets and ratios while us girls discussed the bikes for much more interesting things like whether that colour is yukky or cool and how many dogs you could fit in that sidecar. It was a fun afternoon, full of sunshine, smiles, good company and motorbikes. And it was the perfect 'fix' to keep the jonesing at bay and allow this rainy Sunday to be a haven and a rest, instead of a gloomy pit of frustration.

    Which brings me back to where I started this ramble. I guess I hadn't realised that sometimes the lifting of restrictions places more weight on your shoulders. Freedom brings different responsibilities. No excuses, for one thing. And I am (having to admit this the older I get) prone to being mighty demanding of myself. If I can do something, I should. I'm very much inclined towards grabbing me by my metaphorical lapels, slamming myself against a wall, getting all up in my grill and telling me to "Cut the cr*p, soldier!" So while it is true that last week I was mourning the fact that I had only just - in fact probably not even - gotten used to the ability to 'just pop out and get some', or go wherever I like, today I realise that not having that ability takes a whole heap of other stuff off the table, dumps it in the bin and cocks its head at me, all "so? Whatcha gonna do about it?" And I smile, say "heh, nothing" and head for the couch in my pjs. I can 'waste' a day without having to avoid my own eyes. Or my bike's. ;)

    Its nearly 4pm and I haven't left my duvet yet. But my tummy is rumbling and its time to go raid the fridge. Its getting greyer and darker out there, and the warmth of the oven beckons. While a Moroccan veggie tagine simmers and some spiced chicken marinates I will post this and think about which movies I fancy watching, avec cat. I haven't even brushed my hair all day.

    There'll be days when it isn't this easy, but thanks to the kindness of new friends, an eye for opportunity, and some creative thinking it might just be ok after all. If I somehow make it to Jindy gimme a hi-5 hey? Coz I'll have made it back to the starting line. :)

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    About Author

    Erm. Female. Newbie. Read the rest, you'll get to know me.
    Shorty-, Stever42 and XJ6N like this.


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  1. XJ6N
    One way or another, licence suspension or not, you are down the rabbit burrow, through the looking glass, across the Rubicon when it comes to becoming and being a rider. Your decision to get a rider licence and learn to ride is one that will continue to take you down a path, through experiences and with people you probably would not have known otherwise. I'm glad you made that decision for yourself, riding and finding Netrider too.
      JuniperSachs likes this.
    1. JuniperSachs
      Me too XJ :) Thanks.
      XJ6N likes this.