I keep running across this mindful thing of late, it’s really stuck with me through these past few months when stuff has been really dark, and conversely when stuff is really light and fluffy too. Like enjoying a good belly laugh. The kind that comes from nowhere, the one that takes-you-by-complete-surprise kind of laugh.
Or the opportunity, and more importantly the feeling, to make the most of a great day and go riding.
Being mindful to enjoy every moment that arises as it arises, I recently took a day off to myself mid week, and spent it on my own exploring Australia’s most beautiful coast lines and it was splendiferous.
I was really in the mood to ride, and that is kind of what I mean about this mindful stuff. Living and riding in the moment when it takes me, I must be the luckiest guy alive right now to be able to take these moments and jump in head first when they pop up. I truly feel somehow blessed for this, despite my issues and sad stories – and shit, we all have em let’s face it.
The day was Tuesday, so the kids were back at school and leaving around 10am the traffic was minimal, so I sauntered down what some might call a boring slab of freeway, a slab of tarmac that joins Melbourne to Geelong, a 60 or 70+ km ride of nothing but four lanes of freedom that leads to what is definitely some of the most perfect coastal roads. The fact that it was all in a straight line bothered me not, because I was out, I was free, and I was riding.
Me and my partner recently took a job down that way in a shanty town called Portarlington with one of our big food vans, and I feel in love with the town then. Now I visit it for any excuse, but this morning, totally unplanned, I had the urge to visit a cafe and immerse myself in one of the most incredible breakfast burgers that $6AUD can buy you.
From that little cafe in a small nowhere town, in-between Geelong and Portarlington is Drysdale, and a small cafe/deli/post office/roadhouse that serves up a burger with two slabs of tasty beef, layers of real rashers of bacon, an egg and multiple slices of cheese for $6. It was calling me, and I heeded its call.
That set me up for a day of refamiliarising myself with my new ride. Yup, I still say this even after almost 8,000kms, I am familiarising myself with its characteristic behaviour and vast amounts of incredible technology. Not to mention its Telelever front end which still surprises me on every ride.
Since we last spoke there have been a few mods to boot, too. I have added a genuine Akrapovic/BMW ‘silencer’ and chopped the pillion seat back to a rack that holds my top box over the back seat, instead of hanging out over the back of the bike. I’ll talk about those later in more detail, for now that is all you need to know.
I also invested in a Sargent World Performance Seat (which I do on every bike I own for long enough) and I hadn’t really sat in the saddle all day since the upgrades, so I was really looking forward to the experience.
And what a day it was! Perfect, low 20 degrees Celsius, a few light showers that soon cleared and clear roads everywhere I turned. I took off the freeway and headed towards the coastline on some dirt roads I found when we took the job two christmases ago. I sauntered along the dirt tracks looking for things that I found interesting.
There was so much to see. And from my seat, perched high above everyone else on my GS, any road or track was an option. Man I love this bike for that very reason.
Previously I would’ve balked at the idea of running along the beach in sandy dunes, or taking the grass to cross a field to get closer to the ocean’s waters, but not on the GS. It inspires more confidence in me than any other bike I have ever owned.
With a quick blip of the Mode button I was throwing up roost behind me like a kid 30 years ago in a paddock long forgotten out the back of a land long since gone. Blip back down a gear and back onto the freeway at full throttle and the front lurches up in the air momentarily as the new K&N air filter mixes the perfect amount of air for the new Akra to spit back out behind me. The power to weight ratio now feels perfect, even with the top box mounted directly behind me, I feel as if the weight is more central now and it feels like a total mongrel under full throttle.
Balanced, harmonic, sonically-awesome, controlled, fun, powerful and exhilarating plus any other superlatives you care to throw at it.
I’m really letting rip now too; I’m not being shy about riding up into the high 9s in the RPMs and it pulls like the once frustrated 16 year old school boy I was, hiding behind a frightened mask of confusion, not sure who I was, why I felt like I did, wondering if it was normal and scared that I was truly and utterly alone.
Those things well and truly behind me now, I found tracks that didn’t exist, that took me to strange locations and presented new challenges and opportunities to experiment with my new steed. It never let me down once. Although, that front end still irks me somewhat, sometimes, more specifically, on left handers I lack the feel I am used to and I run wide more often that I would like. Like I said, still getting used to it.
The absolute triumph of it all came at the end of a dead end road that lead to a dead end boat ramp and a small jetty with no signs saying otherwise, my mind screaming – go out there! Take the bike out there! Carpe diem!
And so I did, claiming this prized moment on digital film, sealing the day in my mind forever as one of great adventures, great food, great riding and being right in the moment, living the day, really experiencing it, being totally present and mindful of my every surrounding. Trying to think about nothing else but the moment.
Just as well too, as I was purposefully riding home from my successful day of adventure, I was called back by a Game Show that I had applied to appear on, The Chaser Australia, and I told the guy on the other end of the blower what I was doing to his surprise, and yes I would take the interview right now, no bother!
Ten rapid fire general knowledge questions later and I felt like I had won the lottery. This day could not end any better! I was pretty much through he explained, and to watch out for an invite to a second round interview via email in the coming weeks.
As I rang my sister from atop my ride, I realised she would be at Uni so I hung up and rejoiced my partner with the incredible news. Well done was all I got, but he’s funny like that, not exactly forthcoming with his real emotions, a typical catholic upbringing in Scotland took care of that I guess!
Not three mins later I was saving my own life as a truck decided to switch lanes and underpass another truck on the inside lane, completely failing to realise I was right along side him. A massive amount of emergency braking later, and my decision to point the bike into the gutter instead of the truck, I narrowly missed a major accident.
Glad I was on point, happy with my recent decisions to practise emergency braking on the giant beast that it really is, I felt justified in pulling up alongside him and asking with my fingers if he had not seen me. Strangely he laughed at me, and we both continued on. I still don’t care, I’m right here and everything is awesome.
Strange end to an otherwise superb day riding. Unflappable, and still in the moment I continued on decisively knowing that getting into any sort of rage would not help anyone’s situation and just being content that I had acted instantly in the moment, and done the right thing instinctively, I gave myself a metaphorical pat on the bum and made my way home.
It’s good advice I have to say, I read it in a beginners book on Buddhism, not that I claim to be buddhist, but I really liked this, which I will leave you with today.
“Try not to worry about that which you cannot control” – Buddha.
Live for the moment guys and girls, I’ll be waiting for you around the next corner somewhere.