Thursday, February 12, 2009

My broken window

I have an ache, and it has nothing to do with the bruise on my knee, my ever-sore back or even my head. It's a chronic pain that gets worse the nicer the weather is. It's an ache deep in my soul, and I've been feeling it worse than usual lately.

I want to go riding.

I want to pull on my leather jacket, strap on my Arai helmet and hop up behind my beloved for a badass day on the K1200RS. I want to head for the mountain roads. I want to go motorcycle riding.

There is something indescribable about a really great ride- something so life-affirming for me, that it's absence is like a broken windowpane, a void where something should be. I feel this lack painfully.

I have been pregnant and/or nursing nonstop for 6 years as of this month. 6 years solid. Now, that's not to say I haven't been on the bike in that long- oh no, in fact each of our three boys has enjoyed a motorcycle ride in-utero. (Yes, it was OK with my doctor- it was very early in the pregnancy.) But I've been lucky to get in just one ride per year, IF that. Even now that it's getting (slightly) easier for us to get away sans children once in awhile, it's hard to be totally comfortable on the bike anymore. What if something happened to us? It only takes one oncoming idiot to cross into our lane, or to turn in front of us in an intersection, and suddenly both our boys' parents could be gone. Billy is an experienced driver, and I have full confidence in him (or else I wouldn't ride at all), but let's face it- an accident on the bike is less forgiving than one in a car. It's a very scary thought, which hangs over us anytime we do manage to get away to ride the roads.

Of course, everything we do carries risks and benefits. If we never risked our lives, we'd never try anything- certainly we'd never have had most of the experiences that have enriched my life and shaped my being. Motorcycle riding brings me such joy and satisfaction, it seems illogical to shy away from it because we fear a remote possibility. But risk assessment takes on a whole new meaning when it's your children's future in the balance. Of course, we worry. And are less likely to arrange for a motorcycle day together.

I weep for riding. Driving the minivan to or from errands on a gorgeous day, the sight of a couple on a good fast bike can literally knock the breath out of me. My sudden longing is a physical pang. Ouch. I wish I were riding.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I've been riding pillion since I was 5 years old and I was (briefly) the cool kid when my dad dropped me off at the school gates on his Norton :) (can you imagine him being allowed to do that now? Or the roads being remotely safe enough for that matter? I'm showing my age...)

Never had a bike of my own, always hung out with bikers though till I moved to London and lost track of that life. Sometimes I wonder about getting my own machine but riding in town would be pointless and horrible. For that I stick to my trusty ridgeback pushbike. I know just what you mean about seeing a bike going past on a good road, you can sort of imagine how it would feel to be up there yourself. Once the boys are older I bet you'll be back riding again. I hope so anyway, even if it's only once in a while.

Kyddryn said...

Sweetheart, please allow me to relay something I've learned from years at the track: When the great and greasy gods of racing (or riding, or driving) determine your time has come, they take you - until then, ride, drive, run, fly, be, because until then, they will not turn their terrible gaze your way. Nourish your spirit, sugar.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Kit said...

@ Bird- Wow, another pillion rider?1?? I'm surprised- usually people either have their own bike or aren't that into riding much. It's unusual to find someone who enjoys being the passenger as much as I do. Small world, to find out you do!

I've thought about getting a bike, but I don't relish the idea much. Especially around here, in the busy, distracted-driver suburbs. I can't go anywhere by myself, anyway. Maybe when the kids are older? (Billy wants us all to have dirt bikes when the kids are older. Hmm.)

@ Kyddryn- Yes, of course. :) A good reminder. Thank you, dear.