The Silence Amidst the Roar

When I talk to people about riding two up, and particularly about our long weekend getaways, a question that often comes up is, “Do you have an intercom in your helmets so that you can talk on those long rides?” To which my answer is inevitably, “No. Absolutely not.” Which often gets an odd look. “You mean, you ride all that way together without being able to talk to each other?” So let me try to explain.

First off, on a practical, logistical level, the Concours is a sport touring bike. It’s not a big, noisy cruiser, and it certainly doesn’t have that extra distinctive assault on the ears that Harleys have. (Which is explained succinctly here if you’re interested. Also, that may be the most politely I’ve ever described the sound of a Harley).  So when we’re tooling around on country roads, we can absolutely have brief conversations if both our visors are up and the road’s empty enough for F to turn a bit and talk over his shoulder to me.

When we get out on the highway, clearly those conversations aren’t possible — but that’s okay. It’s actually kind of nice to have a bit of solitude inside your helmet, to be together with someone but also alone with your own thoughts. Since I’ve got the easy job as the passenger, I enjoy that time to relax and soak in the scenery, to find that place of silence amidst the roar of the engine and the wind. Sometimes I talk to myself. Sometimes I sing. (You can really belt it out inside a helmet at 70 mph.) Sometimes F sings, and I know by the way his helmet bobs about a bit when he does.

And besides, we do talk to each other, the entire time we’re riding. It’s the pat of my hands on his waist that means that I’m ready to go once I’ve gotten on behind him. It’s the tap on his shoulder to indicate we need to turn, or leaning forward to point to an exit sign when I’m navigating. It’s a point from him when there’s something he wants me to see, and a squeeze from my knees that says, “Yes, I see, thank you for sharing.” It’s the bike itself joining the conversation, and hearing what it says via pitch and vibration, like listening to a leading partner when dancing. It’s F putting his visor down before a stretch of curves or hills, a silent “Oh, this is about to get really fun.” It’s his left hand leaving the handlebars to clasp my shin, his arm snugged about my knee that says… well. I don’t think I can even translate that one into words, and even if I could, I think it would be words that are ours alone.

helmets

 

via Daily Prompt: Silence

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The Great Fall Getaway

It was 90-some degrees and 200% humidity here in Michigan the first week of September. It’s like Labor Day hit and Summer said, “Wait a minute! I’ve got until the 21st, not so fast with your pumpkin spice, you’ve still got some sweating to do.” It’s hard to imagine that in 4 short weeks or so it will be 50 degrees, grey skies, and freezing rain. But it will be, because F and I are planning our Fall getaway together on the Concours.

It never fails. Every Fall sweeps in to Michigan all blue skies and crisp breezes and sun highlighting the magnificent oranges and golds of the trees as they turn.  It’s time for cider mills and pumpkins and sweater weather, but mainly just because you want to wear a sweater, not because you really have to. It’s perfect. And then whatever October weekend we’ve set aside to head north to enjoy it all, Fall suddenly says, “Sooo, I’m taking the weekend off, but don’t worry, Winter’s gonna pop in and cover my shift.” So, my apologies in advance, Michigan folks, but we’re planning our annual motorcycle Iditarod. We’re not exactly sure where we’re going or which weekend we’re going yet, but don’t worry, you’ll know. The morning the furnace kicks on for the first time, you can say to yourself from within your warm cocoon of blankets, “Ah, K and F must be on their way up north.”

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Slacking and the San Marino GP

I’m way overdue for a blog post. I know this. The whole holiday weekend/start of the semester thing got in the way for a bit. I’m working on one that’s requiring quite a bit of research so it’s taking a while to piece it all together. (And by “research,” I really mean “zooming in on Google maps trying to figure out places F and I have been because so much travel time on the bike blurs together and I can’t for the life of me remember which northern Michigan town is which even though I can remember that somewhere in one of those towns is a bar that doesn’t take credit cards but cures its own Canadian bacon so it’s totally worth it.”)

So while I get those memory knots untangled, here’s a quick MotoGP update.

Remember when I mentioned that Valentino Rossi was in the top 3 in the worldwide standings? Well, he’s now passed up Jorge Lorenzo and is in 2nd place (which has made Lorenzo a little salty — heh), trailing Marc Marquez by 43 points. It’s a hefty margin to try to make up in the remaining 5 races of the season, but surprises do happen in MotoGP.

Take, for instance, the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano this past weekend. Rossi snatched the lead from Lorenzo early on and set the pace for the majority of the race — but then out of nowhere, Dani Pedrosa, who hasn’t had a win since 2015, worked his way up from 8th place, overtaking Rossi in the 22nd lap to win the race. I would have loved to see Rossi win, of course, but if he had to miss out, I’m glad it was to Pedrosa. This way Rossi still earned more points in this race than Marquez (who came in 4th) or Lorenzo (who took 3rd). Plus, it’s just nice to see someone else on the podium for a change, especially another rider who’s been at this for a long time and basically just seems like a nice guy.

Aaaaaand this is where I was going to include a video of race day highlights — but apparently MotoGP doesn’t like that sort of thing, so you’ll have to head to their YouTube channel if you want to see Pedrosa’s surprise overtake of Rossi at the 1:22 mark. Thanks, Dorna.

 

So, here’s a Big Boy in a chef’s hat instead.

Charlotte Big Boy

This dude was not dressed like this when we were at this Big Boy in July. Where do you find a chef’s hat that big anyway?