A New Year of Riding

Posted: 14th January 2011 by LadyBikerTravel in Uncategorized

What do you think about when you ride? I know I should be focusing on the road, but the truth is that my mind roams the world when I ride. Frankly, sometimes I’ll catch myself well along the road and won’t remember how I got there – not because I’ve been drinking or am too tired, but because I’ve been thinking. I used to think it was the music I listen to that diverts my mind but it happens when I ride without music. Riding is an opportunity for me to think; it’s as simple as that.

But it really isn’t all that simple. Our minds, our thoughts, are pretty amazing. They can be enriched, impoverished, closed, open, intuitive, obstinate, diverted, led, elevated, degraded. They’re about as flexible as anything ever fathomed by man. As a result, my thoughts can take some odd, some whimsical, some joyful, some despondent turns…all in the course of a 30-minute ride to work.

This month is recovery month. As the first month of 2011, it’s a recovery from 2010, a trying year that began with the death of my mother the same day as a friend died on his motorcycle and ended with the death of honey’s father on New Year’s Eve. It will also (I sincerely hope) be a financial recovery month from the ensuing monetary woes brought on by the events of 2010.

Money is a paltry thing and I hate that it even comes into my mind when I ride, but it does. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve been in worse financial straits than I am right now…and I’m 47 years old with a really good job! It is what it is but it won’t stay out of my mind.

Now, if you’re thinking at all, you’re first question should be “Why on earth does a girl with money problems ride a Harley?” It’s a good question. After all, it’s not a cheap hobby, but Coco isn’t my hobby; she’s my only form of transportation. She cost as much as a car (a modest car, but not a cheap car), but she’s the only way I get around. She IS my car, only much, much better. I won’t apologize for choosing this as my mode of transportation, and I don’t care if other people may see her as impractical. It’s my choice and I haven’t put anyone out by having her. My family isn’t going hungry as a result.

So, while I don’t apologize for my choice, I am certainly facing dire financial problems right this minute. I’ve always been able to take on another job or find SOME way to earn extra money but here’s where Coco is a factor. I work 6 days a week among two jobs. I am also plenty qualified to be a church organist or music director (and was one for 12 years). I could do it again, but it would mean working 7 days a week and that means…no long rides.

I love my rides so much that I don’t want to give them up. It’s as simple as that. Since my kids are grown, I don’t have to worry that I’m being selfish to them by my choices, but I still have to wonder if I’m making the right choice for everyone else.

I suppose it all comes down to this: is it OK for me to trade a little extra financial security for the freedom to do something I love so much? For almost 30 years, I did what someone else wanted me to do – everything from sacrificing my career to giving up my piano (an unspeakable pain for a musician) to becoming a single mom so someone else could pursue his dream. Now I’m having to rationalize my current circumstances because I’m doing something I love – riding a bike.

What’s the answer? Too bad, but I have to come up with my own answer, just as everyone else must ultimately decide what’s the right thing for his or her life. The thing about my rides is they give me time to reflect at a leisurely pace or a lightning pace (irrespective of my actual driving speed). I’ll come to my own conclusions about whether or not I’m selfish – and probably change my mind a hundred times. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the time to think, to reflect, to keep my mind busy and alive.

I watched my mother die a long, slow death at the hands of a debilitating disease called Alzheimer’s. I suppose every original, vibrant, living thought I have is a blessing in itself, even if it doesn’t answer any questions. It doesn’t matter. I’ll have another ride tomorrow to look for answers again.

What do you think about when you ride? Tell me. I’d love to know!

Til next time, Lord keep my wheels down, my eyes ahead; keep me out of the way of other drivers and them out of my way; and if today is the day I will meet You face to face, I do it with thanksgiving for a joy-filled life.