Friday, May 18, 2012

Sport Touring: Enjoy the Silence, Enjoy the Ride

Miles: 150/ 240 km

This past Saturday, the allure of the open road was irresistible, and like any dedicated moto-pilgrim I set out on to the open Tarmac, due north-west, destination: Gettysburg, PA. I had previously visited Gettysburg last year on my old ride (883L) via super-slab. This time however, I decided to deviate from excessively fast paths and reverted to my true form: decelerated sport touring. Yes, I know it sounds like an oxymoron, you may ask isn’t the whole point of sport touring to travel at an accelerated speed?

It may be for others, however, for me traveling at 55 mph/ 88kph on an undulating State road is Utopia, just like the Eagles, when Tarmac Surfing I prefer to just  “Take it Easy”.  To the uninformed a CBR250R is incapable of epic sport-touring feats, to the rest and few of us whom test our fortitude on such steed, we know it to be a myth.  There are many reasons why I chose the 250R, speed was missing from that list.

It is early Saturday, the weather is ideal, road conditions are conducive to moto-bliss, it’s time, warm up the 250 and let roll. The first 20 miles are a bit annoying as I make my way out of mega-metropolis……until finally the long awaited two-lane road begins to meander through Northern Maryland. Through my limited 170 degrees view I can spot the iconic red barns and the peculiar bovine aroma… it is foul, and it is a welcome relief from the artificial blinding, headache inducing D.C. metro smells.

I have a destination in mind but no other agenda, once I reached my destination I simply turned around and retraced my tracks.  This act may be baffling to some, but to the moto-enthusiast or at least for me, the destination is less relevant than the Ride.  As I meandered through Southern Pennsylvania, my helmet mutes outside noise, and I rely primarily on my vision.  The 250’s single cylinder hums along, the rpms hovered around 5k, in fifth gear, this is where it likes to be. The wind, the humming it all encapsulates your mind, this is where it all decelerates. 

Your field of vision may be limited, but your sense of awareness is heightened.  Suddenly there is a sense of immediacy, and what matters most is what surrounds you.  Your muscle memory takes over, pull the clutch, up-shift, twist the throttle, and lean as the tarmac guides you, a congruent Waltz between man and machine. The miles roll on and now, in the absence of social media and every day constraints one begins to truly “Enjoy the Silence” (DM), and to simply appreciate being.

I have been asked many times why do I ride? Isn’t riding [fill in the blank]?  And once again, I’m unable to answer this proving question. I simply know that tomorrow, while some are “Sitting, waiting, wishing”  (JJ). I will be out Tarmac Surfing. I'm a motorcyclist, it’s what I do, it’s what inspires me. Now go out there, find your inspiration and Enjoy the Ride.