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A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 550 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.
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Yes! It is unavoidable and necessary. Inescapable. Like Pavlov’s conditioning and involuntary reflex action. You just must.
You own a Harley – you do the Route 66.
I always thought that’s what I wanna do, one of these days. Me and my Harley – like the unknown legend in Neil Young‘s song. Long blond hair floating in the wind. I could picture myself quite clearly, I could almost smell tarmac and feel the heat coming off the cylinder. I could see myself ordering a burger sitting on engine red faux-leather in some roadside diner.
Like Thelma and Louise I pictured my self looking dead cool and sexy in tight leathers. Dangerous and not to be messed with. On the road. Alive. Nothing more. An outlaw going through Texas (was that on the way?) or at least heading for the West. Have my own movie. Live my own story.
Until last week.
I watched a documentary feature on the telly. Route 66. The camera crew followed a posse of Norwegian bikers on Harleys. They had a tour guide (!) with them. Everything was prearranged. Motels, diners, picture spots. The guide made them pose underneath road signs, made couples kiss over the borderline of two different time zones. They stopped for a coke (!) in a cozy (!) biker bar and gave them time to haunt the souvenir shops. Fancy a Route 66 dishtowel? They said they had always wanted to be different.
What an bunch of numpties!
NEVER, EVER! Not like this.
So, American bikers out there: is there a cool route to take somewhere in this vast and beautiful country? A road where you can ride into the sunset and not from picture spot to picture spot??
LET ME KNOW WHERE!!
I know ! Everybody mumbles about freedom when it comes to riding a Harley – Davidson. I won’t. At least not in the sense most bikers would. Not now.
If you have ever been on a bike, you know how a ride can make your thoughts wander. Mile after mile you are alone with you machine, the sound, the smells, with your thoughts. You have time to think. Unless of course some housewife decides to suddenly pull out of a driveway without looking or a pensioner to cross the road right in front of your front wheel. These are other stories.
I was out on a long ride through beautiful if slightly cold autumn weather. The roads were clear of leaves, traffic reasonable, I enjoyed my run thoroughly. And yes, I felt free. A happy woman if ever there was one.
After an hour or so I stopped at a set of traffic lights when I spotted a young woman with a plain black scarf on her head following a man I assumed was her husband. She always kept three steps behind him. She never looked up. Her husband did. He stared right in my face or what he could see of it. My black bandana covered my mouth and nose. Protection from the smells and dirt of the city I had just escaped.
That was the moment when I felt the freedom of riding a Harley intensely as never before.
That woman and I both wore a piece of cloth. I wore it to cover mouth and nose, she to cover her hair and her beauty. She walked three steps behind her husband. As they think a proper woman should.
I let the clutch go and roared away full speed. Free. Independent. Strong.
As a proper woman should.
How the way you wear a piece of cloth can make all the difference.
For some very strange and obscure reason it is incredibly hard to describe feelings. You experience them in their intenseness but are at a loss when it comes to communicating them to others.
Emotions trigger song, poetry, stories, pictures, videos, blogs; all kinds of genres that all have one thing in common – they need more than a word to describe the feeling in its complexity.
Of course there are words for fear and joy and pleasure. But you do not really sit on a Harley-Davidson and think Oh yes, I feel pleasure just now.
You might on a BMW though….
Sorry, I should not be so cheeky. I know they are very reliable.
But not adorable.
Like mine is. Thrilling. That’s what she is.
When I ride her I feel like I am on a first date, butterflies and all. And I feel as powerful as a Viking God, deadly in his majestic cruelty. Nevertheless I still feel I am a woman, maybe even more one, oozing relentless sex appeal. Exceptionally different. A chosen outlaw because I will not accept the same rules as everybody else. Not on a Harley!
This is how she makes me feel.
Pretty much for a “just a machine”.
Looking back on that very special moment I wonder what made it so special. The fact, that I had waited for such a long time? Strangely enough I had not been planning it. Or pictured the day from the moment I got her onwards.
In a way it probably was like taking a new baby home. Your life changes the minute you are home.
At the dealer’s it had been coffee and a few signatures, then I was taken outside. There she was. She had materialized in black and chrome.
I was given a small introduction to introduce me to e few technical features but also to make me get used to her. Like being introduced to somebody you don’t know and being small talked through the initial insecurity.
We slowly circled her, he was talking I was listening and admiring at the same time. What a beauty she was. But she didn’t feel mine. Yet. Was still strange. Tough , black and remote.
Only when I started to put all the gear on: jacket, scarf, gloves etc. I began to feel that this was me. Me really doing it. I put the sunglasses on and mounted her.
Was this going to be the unity I had hoped for?
Starting her I wondered about the sound: not as loud as I had expected.
I just drove off. She felt hard and tough but also easy to handle and very straight. A no nonsense thing. Just like I had wanted her to be.
Round the roundabout towards the next crossing, waiting for the traffic to allow me to take a turn. That was me standing there. Me and my Harley.
My joy rose with the rise of velocity. Faster, happier.
A loud roar escaped me, then a few hysterical giggles. I felt as powerful as a god or a godess rather. Although I did not feel particularly female at that point. On the contrary.
I felt tough, a real biker now. Finally at home because I was on the move. Safe in my adventurousness.
At first it was easy.
The thought of having done it was enough.
Secret smiles would cross my face at the oddest moments – I’d bought a Harley!
The weather did its best to stop me going mad. An icy cold winter held my country and me in check. It felt as if spring would never come.
It did of course. And heaven decided to celebrate the day of days with glorious sunshine and temperatures above zero. March. After a night with very little sleep I was a nervous wreck.
Two hours now as I am writing this. Two hours and she is mine. The nervousness is painful. Tears lurk behind my eyes. AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS!! The happiness is hardly to be borne. I feel as if I could explode in laughter, tears and screams at the same time. I wonder if all those tough bikers feel the same. Inside only, of course.
What if I look like an idiot at the dealer’s. If I can’t get her started? If I drop her in front of everybody?
Amazing how ridiculously “teenagy” you can behave in your forties.