Friday, 1 June 2018

A Ride With Transformation


I did mention that I believed this return to riding might well provide fodder for ongoing anecdotes, today (Friday) ... for the "Spiritualist's" in the crowd: TGIF - reinforced my notion. Of course I'm inclined to weave a story around & about, most anything. I see the metaphor's and parable-esque potential - I hope that some (if not all of this) comes through & if nothing else; at least provides an amusement respite.

Today was to be the day I picked my motorcycle up from the shop. I had taken it out on Monday afternoon; so they would have it first thing Tuesday morning, to work out some customizing transformations, I had envisioned. I was to have the bike back by "Wednesday" eve. Dropped the bike off without a hitch and was then looking forward, to the return to ride, with the modifications. I received a call on Tuesday that wasn't what you'd call a inspiring progress report - some of the parts that had been ordered over a week prior (for rush delivery) had not arrived, not only that, the centre that sourced the parts had "lost" the order - all of which meant ... reordering - now the shipment they wouldn't even see until Thursday (a day after the promised delivery date). Upon hearing this, I applied the spiritual dictum: "Shit happens" & rolled with the punches. I received a call on Wednesday; that part way into one of the installations, the first nut that fastened the fender to its bracket apparently "stripped" - this meant the need for some sort of ingenuity, on the part of the technician - which both meant, it would still be successfully and properly completed ... but it was going to take longer. Now Friday at closing time, was the new projected finish and completion projection.

Why the modifications you might ask? I'd be happy to offer an explanation. After riding it fairly frequently over the last month since I purchased it - I began to realize what would make it more comfortable (ergonomically - which equals safety as well), the handle bars it came with; known as "drag bars" - (were a drag) they pitch your torso forward and my arms were pretty much locked out, I found after longer rides this positioning was tiring on my low back and neck and shoulders - hence new handle bar configuration. I was no "drag racer anyway!" The new ones affectionately known as "mini-apes" (versus full "ape-hanger" bars) are infinitely more comfortable for me and they have the added distinction of looking pretty decent too. Full "apes" are really high - I wasn't sure I wanted that extreme (nor the extra expense if I tried it and didn't like it).

The addition of the saddle bags allows for a little storage that doesn't have to be slung on my back - again - a feature that prevents additional fatigue. The "sissy bar" actually will allow for an additional bag - for road trips and could provide back support for a passenger (should I ever decide to take on the added responsibility of carrying someone).

There was no one available to give me a lift out to the shop today (logistics around afternoon rush hour traffic and the closing times, made it a little too tight for my liking). I had decided I could take a public transit bus out (the 45 min. ride to the town where the shop is located and that would put me in easy and reasonable cab distance for the remainder). I had begun the journey and while waiting for the second bus, I checked my phone and a message from the shop indicated everything was still on target for pickup just before closing.

I got off the bus at the town centre - both not knowing it's continued route beyond there, and where that would leave me, and I reasoned it would be an "easy" place to get a cab. I went into the nearby Starbucks for a snack and to kill a little time.

I started looking up cabs online - most of them listed were based back in Victoria. Each that I called informed me that they had no cabs out where I was, and that it would be at least an hour to get one out to me. No good, that would put me past closing time - a flaw in the plan!!

This would be the "where there's a will there's a way.... segment. I "Google" mapped a walking route - it indicated it would take fifty-odd minutes and might get me there after closing. I was both determined to get my bike today and sure I could cut time off that ETA (despite wearing heavy jeans, my heavy leather riding jacket and Blundstone boots - of course I was dressed to ride not "power-walk") -still, how else was I going to get there?!!

I began the walk; at least it was an overcast day and a little cooler than the temperatures we have been experiencing lately... certainly more conducive to this hike. I called the shop to tell them my situation ... both to let them know I'm coming - might be there at the 11th hr. now that I'm walking and to see if perhaps they'd offer to pick me up. No such offer was forthcoming so ... left.... left ... left ... right ... left...

I was nearing what would be the next turn which I was hoping would give me some idea of where I was, relative to the shop and whether I needed to pick up the pace, or continue at my current cadence. I was waiting at the cross-walk for the light to change, when I noticed a fellow sitting on his Suzuki - "crotch-rocket" motorcycle, I crossed in front of him and suddenly was struck by inspiration...

I got to the other side of the cross-walk and turned to look at him.... I walked toward him. Fortunately his light was still red. I asked him if he'd be willing to give me a lift to the Harley shop - "I'd give him $20.00.  He looked at me a little surprised... but he pulled over to the curb to let the rest of the cars go through the light, which had just changed and heard me out. He wasn't yay-ing or nay-ing - at which point I became a little conscious of - I can't wait too long here, if he says no, I still need to walk and I can't spare too much time.

He indicated he just wasn't sure what to do with the backpack he was wearing.... it would be in the way. I had thought that was the end of the line... then he said, "I just live around the corner, let me go and drop it off and I'll come back for you." Wow!! Cool!!

I stood at the corner waiting .... then began wondering, how long do I wait - to either allow him to get back or to preserve the time I need to continue walking if he doesn't come back... I didn't have time to consider it, has there he was at the intersection just waiting for the light to change.

He rode across to me and indicated that the riding/driving route, would be to turn right around and go the way he'd just come from... so "should you get on now, while I make that turn, or you cross the street and I'll pick you up on the other side?" "This will be very different he says..."

I opted to meet him on the other side of the rode. I have some experience being the passenger on a motorcycle - so I know to lean with the turns etc. I still have no idea exactly what way the walking route would have had me go (I'm not that familiar with all the streets out there)... but he got me there with time to spare - now I was actually early!!

I got off at the corner in front of the dealership - so he didn't have to deal with more turning around (with me on the bike) - I realized that he wasn't that accustomed to carrying a passenger. The first clue being that continued mantra of his..... "this is really different!!!" 

I thanked him (and my angels - for getting me there safely) and for saving the day! I jammed my hand in my pocket to get him the  money I promised him .... He said forget it, I'm good! Are you sure, I said, a deal is a deal!!? "No, it's fine," he says - I'm glad to help out a fellow biker!!" Wow, what a fortunate turn of events to find this "random" guy, of all those that I might have encountered! 

When jamming my hand in my pocket I caught under my finger nail on a watch-chain - that was a tad uncomfortable & I tried to hide both my grimacing and the free flowing blood as I bid my Suzuki driven guardian angel - Adieu!! A small price to pay to complete my day's mission & fortunately I had a box of bandages in my pack; that I had just bought on the way out - as I soon realized I needed to cover a raw spot on my heel; where hiking in these same boots, (and short socks) had created a hot spot.

I arrived inside to be informed the technician was just out with my bike, test driving it as part of their final inspection. So I enjoyed some iced tea they had on tap and wondered around in the sea of chrome and exotic paint jobs.

One more surprise before I got under way with my bike. There is a deficiency with one of the brake callipers - not an immediate hazard, however "something they should have found during the pre-sales inspection - so they have ordered the parts, will call me when they are in, to book the install & it's on their dime!!

A side from a light spattering of rain... it was like day and night riding my newly configured bike. I'm not an aggressive rider anyway - just the same I took it easy, this is the first rain for a while which means the roads could be greasy in spots and I wanted to ease myself into, the handling of the new bars etc.

My personal take-aways - I could have "made due" with the original bars. I actually voiced some concern about them when I was first looking at the bike - I decided to let the riding experience be the final judge. In hind-sight my "intuition" was telling me, this bike was not the perfect fit. I let my friend and the sales guy (both whom have considerably more riding experience than me..) give rise to self-doubt. The thing is, they have zero experience living in my body - so their experience is not invaluable - but I ought not allow it to override my guidance. It was suggested I could ride them for this "season" and change them out over the winter if need be. Yes, I could - but that would mean an entire riding season of not being comfortable ... mounting discomfort/fatigue, can become a distraction and a definite hazard - no dice, they will be changed now! My growing conclusion - DON'T SETTLE... you, me ... all of us, are worth far more, than second best!!

While I was chatting with the service manager outside while getting ready to leave; the parts manager I had been dealing with, came out to ask me how I like the "bars.." I said they look fantastic! It was then I noticed my original mirrors were back on the bike. Generally, what was taken apart being replaced is a good thing, except when you had ordered and paid for new mirrors!

I spoke up immediately and she said yes you were meant to get new mirrors; I saw them when I unpacked your parts order - just a moment, I'll go in and get them and put them on before you leave..

Ah... now that's what I'm talking about!! I strive to "encourage" people to live their integrity into being. I understand oversights are made and things often (maybe never go "exactly as planned") - I am grateful to be growing in my capacity to have more compassion both for myself and others.

Life is an apt teacher - and I, one that is brimming with potential, for ongoing growth and expansion. 

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