Saturday, July 02, 2011

An "Amazing" Ride

A couple of weeks ago I bumped into my neighbor across the way from me in our parking area.  She was busy covering one of her two Harley Davidson's after what must have been a mid-Saturday afternoon ride.

I had just completed  a 10km run and was in no shape to chat let alone stand.  But she greeted warmly and started talking about the night we met at a neighborhood party and she told me that it was strange that I have never ridden a Harley.

'Not strange really' I thought trying to remember the party conversation. 

"You said you love motorbikes and riding but you prefer old school standards.  Harleys are old school and close to a standard," she said while lovingly tucking her baby away.

"If you ever want to go for a spin just let me know.  I can't ride both bikes," she offered with a friendly smile.

"Why two bikes?" I asked.   "Long story.  He decided to leave and I decided he must leave without the bike I bought for him."

When I got back from a lot less road mileage this afternoon there she was taking the cover off her 1200cc Dyna.

Harley Davidson Dyna Glide Extra Wide

"You gonna ride huh?  Have fun.  Wish I was you," I said walking away toward my place.  "You don't have to wish Ridwan just put on a warm jacket and gloves and come ride with me."

"You need to experience a Harley.  It will completely change your view of life."

I turned to look at her in amazement.  White men don't talk much to bruthaz in this neck of the woods and white women almost never even make eye contact.  And here this kind brick house woman wanted me to ride with her and on her ex's Harley nogal.

Maybe Archbishop Tutu is right about just letting folks be who they are without the shadow of our past.

"That is an amazing and a very generous offer.  I will be right back," I said.  My heart started racing and I forgot the flakes on my plans that had fallen through.

I really needed to ride, if even a Harley.

Ten minutes later I was riding close to the shadow of her rear wheel headed out of Pretoria on a mostly deserted back-road toward a town called Delmas.

The bike felt stodgy.  Heavy.  Thumpy.  And it vibrated like I thought it would.  But I let the feeling grab me and hold me as my riding rhythm adjusted and the bike became an extension of me.

It soon felt familiar.  Exhilarating.  Harley or no Harley.  Riding is my first and most loyal love.  

The road was full of potholes but she knew it well and I followed her lead.  It was a change of pace that brought a smile to my face.

I followed a woman's lead and on a manly beast of a motorcycle no less.

My lost luv: A Kawasaki ZRX 1200r Lawson Replica
We stuck to the national speed limit and I forgot all those times on deserted West Oregon stretches of tarmac when I buzzed past Harleys on my Green Kawasaki zrx1200r doing at least three times the national speed limit with a disdainful smirk on my face.

This was a different kind of riding.  And this is a different time.  But, typically therapeutic and healing.

On our way back the light was growing dim but my head felt clear.  Questions about falling so late and the time and circumstances started to seam together.

I felt free.

We talked a little after we parked the bikes and she told me of her struggle to come to terms.  To find meaning inside of a tumultuous hurting.

"I love these bikes Ridwan.  I know it sounds strange but I am living to ride when I can," she said.

"I understand.  I have been there and through it at least too many times," I said as I hugged her goodbye.

She stood still and let the moment linger.  As I turned to walk from her she began to talk very quietly without looking at me.

"Call her Ridwan.  Tell her how you feel and that you are coming over to talk," she said.

I smiled warmly and nodded.  If only it was that simple and straightforward.  But then it never is.

Still, I'm riding this "amazing" freedom to wherever ...

"... I think it's amazing, 
the way that love can set you free ..."

Harley Credit


Anonymous said...

I remember a silver-blue W107. . . Never Prof. Fool, always Prof Cool!


Ridwan said...

Thank you Chris. It so cool to hear from you. It has been a minute hey!

You were a big part in me getting that beautiful car and just yesterday I saw one for sale here in Pretoria.

It was a 280sl though. Small European bumpers and a metallic green.

Nothing like that bumper benz in PDX.

That was a cool time. Trust you are well my brother. And Stephanie and the kids too.

I will holla.