This evening I called my friend Dan about something and Dan, an avid motorcyclist worked his inner biker dude into the conversation and asked if Monique and I wanted to ride with he and his wife Stephanie. I looked at Monique and asked, "Do you want to ride with Dan and Steph?" She looked at me nervously, a crooked smile grew on her face, her eyes found their suspicious position and she said..."umm...maybe?" I've heard that "maybe" before and that "maybe" meant "Dan's going to make us go fast and I'm going to pee my pants." So I said, "I don't know, maybe." But then Dan said, "C'mon, it will be fun." A bike purchase comes with an "inner biker dude" at no extra cost. My "inner biker dude" started an inner rally cry that I couldn't ignore and so I asked Monique one more time and she in her "holy toledo" voice said..."ok that's fine." See, we also got an "inner biker chick" at no extra cost--a real deal if you ask me. She's a capable rider already and so her inner biker chick stepped up to the throttle and lit a fire inside of her. She showered up first...we had just returned from a 15 miles bicycle ride and now we were off again! Dan and Steph showed up and it wasn't 10 minutes and we were ready to ride! We fired up the Triumph, put 'er in first and headed out of the drive-way.
Now, it doesn't take much to find a good excuse to ride the scoot or the motorcycle. I could need to borrow sugar from my next door neighbor and I'd probably ride one of the bikes to their house. But, I know Dan and Dan likes to get out of town. But the issue with those out-of-town roads are the out-of-town speed limits! We headed west and it was just a few ticks of a clock and we were out of town...fifty-five miles per hour...sixty miles per hour...sixty-one miles per hour...
You have to understand that Dan and Steph are old-hats. They recently returned from a bike trip to Sturgis and eighty miles per hour might as well be 20 to Dan. He took me out on a ride about a month ago and hit the interstate with me in tow. That was the first time I'd toppled the fifty-mile-an-hour mark and we beat that by about 20 miles per hour! I was seeing plaid. I entered a new dimension. SO, tonight the prospect of doing that again seemed daunting. Sixty felt a bit fast and my helmet sort of buffeted in the wind. I "white-knuckled" the first few miles at speed and I "white-knuckled" hard enough to create a skin-graft on my handle-bars. But just when I felt my hands beginning to melt to the throttle, a funny thing happened...I started having a blarny ball! The free "inner-biker-dude" that came with the bike talked me down--I relaxed and started to enjoy the ride. I started to look around, can you believe that? The world was less plaid and more auburn, yellow, red and green as the sun began to set...it was beautiful! Monique and I have communicators so we started talking to eachother. Monique's free-with-the-bike "inner biker chick" had her relaxed before my slow to the punch "inner biker dude" had me relaxed! She was lovin' it and so we rode and we rode well. We held the appropriate second position behind Dan and Steph and all in all we did about 50 miles out in the wide open Iowa. We came to a slower car and at the point when I had resigned myself to following Dan around the slow-poke, the road split into another lane! We had a lane for the slow-duds, and a lane for Dan and Steph and, by extension, Monique and I. My inner biker dude injected me with courage and Dan ripped it up past the slower car and I drafted behind...it was ok, but was kind of one of those moments when fear clouded all vision except that part of the road that was within twenty feet of the bike itself...and it too was plaid...a plaid road, but a good, smooth road! We made it! yahoo! Thanks again to Dan who forced me to find another level in the annals of biker life.
We ate in Adel, enjoyed their company and then headed for home. The ride home gave my hands that sweet "melt-to-the-handlebars" feeling again, why? We were fully ensconced into night time (it was 8:30-ish p.m.) and the road we chose to take us home told me I could throttle up to sixty-five wicked miles per hour! Gulp. I had a vision of my wife's "holy toledo" look and if it weren't dark outside I could've seen that I was well into "plaid world" again...gulp, gulp, gulp, breath breath...don't hyper-ventilate...the manual says "grip the handle bars firmly" not "melt the handle-bars to a nub." But, it was another five miles and that free inner biker dude started paying dividends again. The air was cool...more like cold but who's keepin track anyway? Either way, the ride was priceless--my wife and I talked and enjoyed a ride in the sweet Iowa night. Relax right? I did, we did. We couldn't see anything other than Dan's tail-lights but I had a beautiful motorcycle sunset in my memory. It was a great great ride. I would do it again.
Dan and Steph, but I think especially Steph are consummate Harley people. Steph absolutely loves being on the bike but she's thoroughly in love with Harley Davidson. That being said, she's hilarious about this biker stuff. She blurted "I'm so excited that you guys wanted to ride tonight!" As if she need us to ride, she doesn't. But she then said, "I know, I'm a dork!" But I didn't think that way, Monique and I anticipated, then thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to become true "riders." Furthermore, we relished the opportunity to ride with our friends.
Monique and I are geared up to the max--gloves, jackets, boots, helmets. We don't have the bullet proof vests yet, but ya never know. Either way, it makes us feel safer. However, no matter how much you gear up or don't, the engine vibrating beneath your body, the engine firing well, the wind over the body...it's all very very cool.
We're hooked. The free stuff that comes from the bike have become priceless. I get to watch Monique transform yet again (Her personal growth over the last 15 years has been astounding). Dan and Steph are two of our good friends, they're really cool people, and we have yet another way to spend some time with them. That's got to be a good thing. It's a good thing except that it's an hour later and my hands hurt and they're still vibrating...I think next time I might not grip the bars so hard, although if I do my forearms will be ripped in no time...a little fear might be good for me yea? Sweet.
I'm running out of titles. I'm a cyclist, motorcyclist, scooterist, writer-poet, friend, husband, cousin, uncle, nephew, son-in-law, brother-in-law, brother, son, adventurer, hiker, patriot. And now I come with a nearly new and totally free "inner-biker dude." I used to believe that the coup-de-gras title might be "Dad" and that title would be pretty cool...maybe some day I'll know what that means. But, I'm going to be content with the many spectacular titles God's let me and my beautiful wife wear...tonight me and my hot little biker chick are well aware of that.