Sunday, June 24, 2012

This Is Getting To Be An Old Story

I needed to get gas for my commute tomorrow. I really didn't plan to even go for a ride.  There was a chance of 100F/38C temperatures. I knew I didn't really want to inline skate in the heat. Heather was busy and I was on my own for the afternoon. I figured I would decide how to spend my afternoon after I filled up Billie. Truthfully, nothing sounded all that much fun nor was there any chores I had to really get done. Besides, it really wasn't that hot riding. Actually, it was rather comfortable. It just started to seem to be a good idea rather than go straight home to point Billie in the general direction of South.

Why South? It seems lately I've been going mostly West and North. Other than going South, the closest thing to a goal I had was to take Morganford/Union to its end, which believe me, is a rather modest undertaking. But, then I wondered what the corn looked like. I know we need rain. I wondered how bad it was. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

The corn looks quite stressed. We are very dry here.

Well, one thing led to another and before long I found myself headed for the Covered Bridge that sets in a park at the end of Old Lemay Ferry Road. 

The bridge is closed to traffic, but I know a number of people who have posed their rides in front of the bridge, and some even on the other side.

I'm afraid I am terribly rule bound. This was as close as Billie got to the bridge.

When all was said and done, my little ride turned into a three hours plus and 77mi/124km jaunt in the country. By the way the temperature didn't reach 100F, but did make it up to 98F/37C.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Daily Ride

Martha has a wonderful blog. It is called Living Among Tourists. I highly recommend it. Recently, she made a challenge.  She challenged us to photograph our usual ride, "the one that most illustrates the path most taken-the drudge, the glory, whatever it is that you see all the time on your way to work or play."

It seems apparent from reading and looking at the postings of others who have taken up the challenge, I originally misread the assignment. I thought she was asking for one picture that somehow summed up my daily commute. After all, in her post proposing the challenge she only had one photo.

As I had first read the challenge, it proposed a daunting task. How could one view sum up my daily commute? There is so much. Could I really refine my daily ride down to its essence? I decided to try.

There are the tree lined residential streets I ride down.
There are the shells of homes once glorious.
There are the marvelous planned green spaces, and...
There are the not planned green spaces I've heard called "urban prairie", where housing stock has been torn down leaving a forlorn emptiness.
I ride by strip malls and empty storefronts.
I even spend some time on a remnant of the "Mother Road", Route 66.

But, if I had to choose one photo to sum up my commute it would be of a group of trees I ride by in Tower Grove Park.

These trees are twisted and bent. They have been broken, but still stand. Their beauty isn't in their perfection, but in their simply being there.

By the way, my most direct route contains twenty-four stop signs and twenty-three stoplights, but seldom do I take the most direct route. Most days there are more. My chosen route is not a hurry up and get there sort of affair.

Nearly everyday I notice something I've not seen before. Each and every day I ride I am grateful to be able to simply be and now.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The List

Some things are difficult to categorize. I think motorcycle/scooter riders are such a phenomena. Every rider is their own definition of what type of rider they are. That said, there does seem to be some common ingredients found in the pot whenever a rider stews about what type of rider he or she is; or the type of rider someone else is.

My friend Maggie took this photo on our ride this past Saturday.  Yes, that is  me and Billie.

I'm proposing a list of these ingredients. It isn't meant to be an exhaustive list and I'd be interested in hearing any additions or refinements you might make. While I came up with this list on my own, I'm not claiming any uniqueness about it. Truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised if others have said much the same things, even used the same terms, and probably said it better. I'm offering it simply as glimpse into some of my ponderings and as a conversation starter.

The List:

--There are the Socialites. These riders love group rides and hanging out with other riders and sharing stories. Food often plays a large part in their riding life. I remember a friend telling me a story about his wife and he being invited to a ride with a group they hadn't ridden with before. They started at a dealership and rode a few miles and stopped for breakfast. Then they rode a few more miles and stopped by a another dealership for some coffee. Then it was lunchtime. His wife said to him, "When are we going to go somewhere?" I'm thinking Socialite wouldn't define her very well.

--There are the Adventurers. These are riders who like to go places...places far far away. These are the folks who eat up the miles. The Southern Tip of South America, Alaska, and around the world are all places these riders long to go....and some do.

--There are the Simply Curious. These riders like to look and see. Often they are photographers or artists. They tend to ride alone. With the Adventurers, they share a certain curiosity and a desire to experience the ride. They will often go out in all types of weather to explore the world around them.

--There are the Tinkerers. These riders are always doing something to their bikes. I have one friend who spends more time with his bike in pieces than he does riding. He always has some project going on.

--There are the Adrenalin Seekers. These are the riders who love speed, racing and stunting. Perhaps even some off-road riders fit here as well. I know these folk. I see them on the road. Still, I'm sort of guessing here. Of all the ingredients on the list this one is most lacking in my pot.

--There are the "Got to get to work" riders. I see these riders often on small scooters in all kinds of weather, because it is either ride or ride the bus. I'm always surprised at the number of sportbikes, especially Kawasaki Ninjettes, I see out in inclement weather and I've suspected necessity 

Seven scooters. One parking place. No problem.

I doubt few riders fit perfectly into any one of the categories. Perhaps the list is more a list of symptoms representing a continuum of the riding experience. Or, it could be all this is just my own foolishness.

What say you? What type of rider are you? What terms would you use to describe yourself? Would you add a category to my list, or take one away? Do you have your own list?