Friday, March 6, 2009

Rockmoto Blog #2 - Road-trip. Destination: Solvang, CA

January 1, 2009

We’re heading up to wine country for New Year’s. It’s gonna be a fun trip. We’ll take my old convertible, put the top down and let the breeze blow in our hair as we trip up the 101.

But I can’t help to wonder, if I were a rider, would we hop on our bikes to go up there? Would that be much cooler? More fun? Unbelievably exciting? Is she bummed we’re in a car? Or would it just be more exhausting and potentially catastrophic should we do the wine tastings on two wheels? (It just occurred to me that in the movie Sideways which takes place in the very town we’ll be staying in, Sandra Oh’s character no only rides a motorcycle, but she beats her philandering lover (engaged to someone else) to a pulp with her very helmet.

Would we ride separate bikes or would we ride together? I suppose we could ride together, but at this point she’d have to drive, as I have no license. To do that, she’d have to have a back seat, which her sport bike does not sport. So we’re taking the car.

I think cycling would be the best way to do wine country. (Aside from a limo perhaps)

I cycled seriously for years. Long distance touring. Sometimes a hundred miles a day -carrying all my own food and gear (a good 50 lbs.). So in terms of riding, I’m familiar how my own bodyweight can affect performance – particularly digging into turns, but I never raced, so the degree to which I was challenged with high speeds was quite limited.

I also have an idea of what it is to be not only a more vulnerable rider sharing the road with cars and trucks, but to have an affiliation with an entire set of folks on the road. It didn’t matter where you were from, what you were riding, or what you did when you weren’t on a bike. Cyclists have a certain respect and affinity with one another. Every one of us has had to straight arm a car that didn’t see us as it took a right hand turn into our path. Most every serious rider has had at least one crash – enough to give them the respect and caution necessary not to get killed in the future.

But the truth is I haven’t even ridden a bike for years. I was in a nasty, freak cycling accident 3 years ago. The seat to my bicycle fell off while I was riding and I couldn’t get my foot out of my toe-clip in time, so snap went my tibia and fibula. I spent 3 months in a cast and while I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of getting back on the horse, I haven’t gotten a new bike in all this time. So in truth some fear is lingering there, even though I love cycling. I mean I really did love it. The feeling of freedom and the wind rushing past your face. There’s nothing like it. Except maybe riding a motor cycle. We shall see.

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