Saturday, February 19, 2011


I am, and then I am not.

The magazines piled up on my bedside table through the winter: BMW ON, Cycle World. They had something colorful on their covers each month--what were those things? They had two wheels, and what looked to be some sort of human crouching, lizard-like, on top of it, clutching something in each outstretched hand. Huh.

The snow piled up against the garage doors. Occasionally I would beat my way to one, throw it up, to get the skis, the sleds. The garbage can, to go to the dump. Large gray-covered shapes, I was vaguely aware, were also there; I would glance over to make sure there was a glowing green diode on a small black box sitting on the floor next to one of them, attached by orange extension cord snaking toward the outlet on the wall. Then bang, the door went down again.

I was not. But now, the temperature rising bit by bit and the snow beginning to darken the pavement of the driveway with slowly expanding water, I am.

I am a motorcyclist again. I stayed up till midnight last night, suddenly possessed by the contents of one of the magazines, which I at last cracked open and could not stop reading. Here's the rally I will go to. Here are the tips for riding better, and here is the endless stream of information of all types, too much, too much to absorb. I am suddenly feeling the initiation of a turn, the downward pressure on a grip, the magical balance of weights moving places, becoming something else. I am thinking about tires again.

(How is it that, several feet distant, you can feel your tires, every molecule of their being, though you are made of different stuff?)

I had entered a fugue state, I realize now with appreciable surprise. And with the coming of spring (its warming promises), I am becoming something else too. At long last.


ronald said...


You're not alone. Yesterday I went for my first ride since Jan 1, and today I was at a Ducati maintenance seminar. The feeling of expectation in the air was palpable, the smell of moto-cookies about to be removed from the oven. Guys talking about getting their bikes back on the road, about trips planned and too-long deferred. Grease, electricity and adjustments became the currency of discourse. Relationship problems were moved into the background as they concentrated on preparation for lift-off. The atmosphere of the immanent countdown presaged the launch of two-wheeled space vehicles all over the north-east. T minus XXX and counting. All systems go.

Be well,

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

Oh, spot-on, Ronald! Moto-cookies the perfect image: preceded by an anticipatory perfume in the kitchen followed by a Pavlovian response.

We are such simple creatures, aren't we?

And who am I to fight it?

GanguliR said...

I know exactly what you mean, Melissa. Of late i go down to the garage and just sit on my Triumph. Then I start it up and let it run - "to make sure the fuel stabilizer is distributed throught the system" is what i tell my puzzed wife who looks at me sitting there in the corner boxed in by all sorts of garden furniture. But we know that just sitting on the machine and feeling the vibrations, makes the wait for the snow to clear, a little easier.

Scott Carpenter M6OZI said...

The days seem to be passing to quickly for me at the moment, or at least the good bits of them are. Last night I spent 45 minutes with my daughter on my lap looking at a slideshow of all the images of her we have from 20 May 2005 until a few weeks ago...I was happy and sad at the same time. She will never be baby again, will never not talk back!

How is this related to motorcycles? Well I suppose I realise now that although times are tough and money is tight, some things have to be done because there will be a time when you can no longer do them. I took the bike out a few times since the big freeze at the end of last year, and now its time to take it out again. And start planning for the things I must do on the bike THIS year, that should have been done last year. And Amelie wants to go on the back of the bike now - at 6 years of age. Too young for me anyway. 8 maybe.....

all the best,

Scotty in South Devon

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

I don't know what the weather's like in Devon, Scotty, but here . . . here it's coming. Spring, I mean. (Right, Rohan?) Even if I did go skiing today.

I fully intend for my unprepared motorcycles to fire up anyway, perhaps coughing a bit to clear their lungs. Then I'll give them the bath they should have gotten before they were put down. And soon we'll all forget what wasn't done, and do it. Then ride, and ride some more.

P.S. My son was 10 when he first got on the bike. Eight would be good, too.