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GOING THE DISTANCE

"FIRST RIDE 2010"


by Genghis


PHOTO BY GENGHIS








It's been a weird and eventful weather year, pockmarked by unending blizzards, one snowstorm following the last, nose to tail. Hey man, I gotcher global warming right heah, ya know what I mean? Looks like the climate change alarmists' theories have come undone by inaccurate predictions based on questionable data, aided and abetted by the suppression of exculpatory evidence by head alarmist scientists. Global warming has become a quasi-religion to the left. Any hint that there's a lack of scientific consensus on the legitimacy of global warming, is met with a proselytizing fervor worthy of any Islamic radical. That was on my mind last night as the latest inclement weather struck America's northeast. This time around, it was a Noah's Ark category of precipitation. Untold inches of rain fell yesterday in the New York City area and beyond. Man, how can any biker's mind be on riding given the circumstances? Now for a biker, that's a real "climate crisis" fer sure. Yet, that urge for the first ride of the year rears its insistent head at the most inopportune of times. That's what I felt last night. This morning however, things were lookin' up. There was a light rain as I sipped my coffee at 4:30 A.M. It looked good for waking up my stroker shovel "Mabel" today, for her inaugural exercise for 2010. Hey Gorgeous, wake up! There are few events in life as joyous as a biker's first ride of the year. Just think about what straights are missing, man. I'll tell ya what, man---the First Ride Of The Year oughta be declared a national holiday! Was today, the day?

There was only a light rain tinkling on the 21st floor windows of my apartment in New York's Lower Beast Side this morning. Looked promising. Man, I was fired up! Gonna ride, baby! My Harley 74 was waiting patiently in her outdoor parking lot. I didn't have to grab my helmet on the way to the parking lot. We keep our F-150 "Amy" in the same lot as Mabel, so the truck seconds as a storage facility for bike stuff. Oil, chain lube, the helmets and all kinds of bike-related paraphernalia are stored in Amy's cab. Makes everything more convenient. All I've gotta drag to the bike is my ass. I left the pad and wouldn't ya know it, as soon as I stepped outside, the heavens opened up with a ginormous flash thunderstorm. I've heard of Harley Thunder, but this was ridiculous. God may ride a Harley, but it wasn't Harley 60 weight raining down on my head. It felt more like the entire contents of the Hudson River. My bike's parking lot is only three blocks from my house, but by the time I reached the lot's gate, I was drenched by the deluge. What was warm and fuzzy one minute---the thought of 2010's first ride spent in a pleasant drizzle---became cold and hard-edged by the time I got Mabel's cover off. Mabel even looked cold and unwilling, like she was being dragged out of bed from under some warm and toasty covers. I guess that was my imagination though, as she fired right up. I've gotta say that I'm impressed with this version of her battery. It's a Harley AGM battery that's entering its fourth year of service. That may or may not be a record for Mabel's battery history.

Still, I was purely ecstatic just being in Mabel's running saddle after three months of no-riding. I've been riding for forty-two years, twenty-five of 'em on my righteous shovelhead, and it's still a sweaty-palm and dry-mouth type of thrill when I turn the bike over for the first time in a new year. That's 42 consecutive annual thrills I've experienced in my lifetime, all of 'em faithful digital copies of the very first time in 1968. How fantastic is it that we as bikers get to replicate this bliss every year? Life is good when you're a biker. It's always the same no matter how old I get. The anticipation builds into a crescendo of "gotta ride, man!" until the fateful day, and the predestined moment arrives, heralded by the hard bark of a Harley exhaust. Not to be maudlin about it, but I'll be honest about what I said to my bike as we blasted away from the parking lot. I said...."Mabel, I love you so much...." That old adage about the defintion of love being like the feeling we get about our motorcycles, is true. On this first ride of 2010, I almost didn't care about the rain, which had slowed by the time I we hit the highway running, except....that the wind and rain hitting my exposed face (I should've worn the ski mask) soon froze that apathy right outta me. At least I had my three-buck hardware store goggles on. I'll tell ya what, though. As cold and wet as the first ride for the year was, it felt just great to put Mabel through her paces, to hear the growl of her motor, to feel the Earth move under us, motorvated by 86 cubic inches of Shovel Power. Imagine that! Mabel's an Earth Mover. Talk about heavy-duty earth-moving equipment. Later.

FINITO