Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Looking Through the Curve

I love motorcycles.  I didn't always, but I fell in love with them a few years back, when I was forty-four years old.  I have taken two rider's courses, have a MC endorsement on my driver's license, have owned two bikes of my own, and have logged many thousands of miles in the back seat of the late lamented BigYellowBike.  Nearly all of my best friends ride, and I plan all my vacation time around motorcycle gatherings.

One of the most-stressed points taught in a motorcycle safety class is how to take a curve.  You don't want to brake once you've entered the curve...you slow down, look through the curve, then roll the throttle and accelerate into the straightaway.  You don't focus on where you are right now, you look toward where you want to go.  If you allow yourself to become fixated on where you are instead of where you're going, you will crash.  "Look where you want to go!"

It's important, whether riding curving roads or straight, that you ride within your ability and not 'over your head'.  Riding curving, twisting roads is a tremendous thrill, and when it's done correctly there grows a harmony between motorcycle and rider that is hard to equal.  Most riders love riding the twisties, and will compare stories of their rides at great length.    

But even the most-experienced rider needs the occasional straightaway, to rest the arms and mind and catch one's breath.  Twisties are good, and the very best thing about riding, but everyone needs a straight road every once in awhile.  It has felt very much like the last few years have been nothing but one curve after another, and I am ready for a straight stretch. 

I was explaining to my bosses the other day about my sister's condition.  They were concerned with how I'm handling it.  They are riders, too, and I thought of this motorcycle analogy.  I told them, "Right now, I feel as if I am riding at the very limit of my ability and there are curves ahead.  I'm trying my best to look through the curves and not fixate on where I am.  If I can keep from focusing on what's happening right now, I may be able to keep from crashing." 

I guess there could be many ways to look at that analogy...but the point I want to make, and you can take from it whatever makes you happy, is that I have to keep on keeping on, counting on the belief that there is something good around the curve...maybe even a nice straight stretch.  :- )

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