Grace, Ease and Joy . . . Sometimes
I have been commuting to work regularly on my motorcycle. Mornings are pleasant, motoring down the road in the cool air, smelling the sweet trees and flowers, and feeling calm and confident.
At these times, I feel grace, ease and joy and have a sense of oneness with my bike and my surroundings.
When I leave work, it’s often a different story.
I’m tired, and sometimes have difficulty shifting between first and second gears, inadvertently landing on neutral. When I do get it into second gear, I often then will over-rev the engine as I try to get into the higher gears. I feel embarrassed and stressed.
I think this happens partly because I am exhausted from work, but also because I am still nervous about traffic, which is more congested at 5:00.
I wind up struggling with the bike, which makes me even more tense and tired.
The other day when this was happening, a wise inner voice said “take it easy.” This really helped calm me down. I realized I didn’t need to rush my shifting – just ease it into second, third, fourth, fifth.
I know, too, that if I struggle, I need to immediately forgive myself. Easing up on myself helps make the ride go more smoothly.
Sunday, June 18, I did my first major ride in preparation for going to Buena Vista. I decided to go to Conifer, which is on Highway 285 up Turkey Creek Canyon, a round-trip of 92 miles.
I had been dreading a couple things about this ride.
I was not looking forward to riding on C-470, which is a six-lane highway with a minimum speed of 65 miles per hour. I drive on a portion of this highway when I travel in my car to go to Buena Vista.
My bike can certainly maintain speeds in excess of 65 mph, but I did not relish the thought of jockeying for position in the traffic.
I thought that I might be able to find a side route, and wound up going down Highway 93 from Boulder to Golden, then taking Heritage Road south past Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks to Morrison.
This was great, but there were droves of people in Morrison, which is a bit of a tourist trap.
I found my way to Highway 8, which led south out of Morrison and merged with US 285, going up Turkey Creek Canyon.
Turkey Creek Canyon is a twisty stretch of four-lane roadway that climbs up to over 8,000 feet, heading southwest from the Denver Metro area. The west- and east-bound lanes are separated with a wide median.
I wasn’t worried about going up the canyon. It was going down that made me nervous.
I made it up the canyon no problem, even passing a couple of slow-moving large trucks.
I got to Conifer, a town along the 285 corridor with a lot of stores along the highway. I stopped and had lunch, resting a bit in the shade and enjoying the gorgeous summer day.
I wound up not feeling nervous at all as I headed back down the canyon, making it down just fine. I got stuck behind a trailer about a mile from my exit, but decided to stay put, going the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit.
I am actually finding that I like doing twisty roads!
My next goal is to do the Peak-to-Peak Highway, one of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways. This will give me some experience with steep roads and tight bends, as well as take me through some beautiful country.
The only way to learn is to do.
I will be riding to Buena Vista on Saturday, July 8 and returning on Monday, July 10. I am looking forward to it!
I am inspired by the Van Buren sisters, mentioned in my last post, who managed to cross the country in 1916 on their Indian motorcycles, in spite of bad weather and terrible roads. If they can do that, I can certainly ride 280 miles round trip to Buena Vista!