Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ride your Enfield to work; you're lucky

Monday is Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day. I hope you will participate. I would be happy to participate except, unfortunately, I am unemployed. That does not make me very special these days, unfortunately.

Some of the fondest memories of my career are of the ride to the office. Commuting by Royal Enfield Bullet was special. The extra involvement with the motorcycle typical of these bikes turned every ride into a time/distance rally. After all, we were due at work and it would not do to be late but I also did not want a speeding ticket.

I watched the lubrication of the clutch lever closely. Broken clutch cables stranded me twice before I learned to carry a spare. After that, it was just a matter of putting on the fresh cable, being careful not to get grease on office clothing.

Other than that, there were few problems. The gas in the tank was always fresh, the oil level was checked every morning and changed at regular mileages. Tire pressure was checked every morning. with a squeeze from a hand that remembered how the tire had felt the day before.

Before pouring my morning cup of coffee at the office I would take a special jar out to the motorcycle and empty the breather catch can. That one jar, carefully marked with skull and crossbones, sat on my desk gradually filling with the most poisonous looking liquid. It took more than a year to fill it.

Like any adventure, the ride to work had to be planned. I would check the weather radar every morning and every evening before setting out to see where the thunderclouds were forming. Often, a carefully chosen route would avoid them. If not, the rain gear was in my backpack where I could get it easily.

Riding to work I appreciated the change of seasons in progress. I noticed that the sun rose a bit earlier or set later every day. For a few weeks every year I could look down and see the shadow of the chain on the ground. I remember how surprised I was to see that it is not constantly tight as it runs; it "pulses" up and down with the beat of the motor, almost like a heartbeat.

Riding a motorcycle I could see these things; in my car I would have listened to the radio and mentally dozed, throwing away two hours of my life every day. On the motorcycle, I experienced those hours; I lived them.

If you have a job, ride your bike to work Monday. I envy you the opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. michigandon6/15/2009

    Well, I would have rode to work today...but it was my day off!


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