Riding With the Big Boys
My last blog entry was quite bleak sounding. I believe this entry will be somewhat more uplifting. I visited my doctor regarding my mental health and have received a bit of help with it. One of the doctor’s recommendations was to get out and be with people….although I don’t think the doctor had meeting up with a local chapter of a motorcycle club in mind. The suggestion was for me to get out to gym where there would be exercise classes and music. I also took Dr. Gummiente’s advice to go for a ride. So I combined the two suggestions into one and went for a club ride today.
I haven't had time to go for ny solo rides except for a couple of commutes to and from work. My usual morning jaunt that I like so much (along Marine Drive) had failed to produce my usual smile. It's like I'm just going through the motions. So I went for a big ride with the big boys.
Although it makes me somewhat nervous to go meet new people, I also know I will never “expand” my horizons if I just stay home.
“How did I meet these people”, you ask. I was on a website for ISRA and saw a link for the Southern Cruisers chapter in Langley. I decided to have a look and there just happened to be a ride planned for today. They were meeting at Tim Horton’s in Langley. I made a post and asked if I found the Tim Horton’s could I join their ride to Harrison. Not only did they say I was welcome but they also sent me directions to get to the meeting place.
A little later I received an e-mail from the First Officer welcoming me and hoping I would join them on the ride.
So-o-o-o-o….at 7:30 this morning, I took my bike to the carwash area in my garage. I couldn’t go and meet a group of hardcore riders with a dirty bike, after all.
I left home at 9:30 for my ride to Langley to meet up with these folks. I was the first to arrive and as there was no parking left at the front, I rode my bike to back lot, but still in view of the entrance. A few minutes later, the second officer arrived and put two and two together and rode over to me.
“Are you going to ride with us today?” he asked.
“I’m hoping too,” I replied.
“Great!” he said, with a big smile. “Glad to have you along!”
I felt a little better already. As we were standing chatting, the first officer rode in and joined us. He introduced himself as Vince. He was the one who had sent me the welcoming message the evening before. I thanked him for sending me that message. Getting the message had made it feel like a sincere welcome as opposed to just a post on a website. We left our bikes and went in to get coffee. How nice…..Gary bought my coffee and bagel…..
Back outside, I told him I had never been on a group ride and asked if there was any protocol I needed to know. He said he would be giving a “rundown” of the rules when everyone was there. While the three of us were chatting and drinking our coffee, four more riders arrived.
There was Brad, Leo, John, Ray, Vince, Gary and me. We all introduced ourselves and shook hands all around. Then Gary gave us the “rules” for a club group ride.
We would be riding staggered with a 2 second count from the rider directly in front of you and a 1 second count from the rider you were staggered beside. He explained how changing lanes and passing worked. Ray was to be our road captain and Gary was tail gunner. He said since I was a new rider I was to ride first behind Ray.
Mounted up and ready to go, we left the parking lot. We turned right onto the bypass and ……
...Ray accelerated really fast so I had some catching up to do. No problem. I shifted and gave my bike some gas and shifted up again. I was up with Ray in no time. We came to a stop at the red light. Now that I am aware I will accelerate more briskly. When the light turned green, I was ready and this time I kept up with Ray. He has a 1700cc Road Star, so that would explain why he can accelerate so easily. We made our way to the Albion Ferry lineup. The wait was only about 10 minutes before we could board and be on our way. After disembarking we once again assembled in a group and rode to Mission where we were to meet up with one more rider. We pulled into the gas station and met up with Antonio. Now we were eight. The eight of us got back on the road for our ride to Harrison. I was having no problem keeping up because Ray was a good road captain. Well mostly a good road captain. There were a couple of occasions when he pulled out to pass and of course we all were to follow….I happened to look down at my speedo…
130kmh….Once back into our own lane though, the speed came back down to a more reasonable pace.
We were keeping a brisk pace and fast approaching the part of the ride that has all the twisties that go up the mountain and then abruptly down. I could keep up the speed easily enough for the first ¾ of this stretch but I was concerned about the last bit. I didn’t want to have to slow the group down too much…but wait….what did I see ahead? A tow truck going really slow.
I was actually glad to see a slow moving vehicle in front of Ray. It meant I could take this last bit slow and not feel like I was the one holding up the group.
Once back down on level ground our pace picked up and before long we were in Harrison. We stopped in at The Old Settler Inn. It’s easy to see it’s a biker friendly place because of the bikes already parked in the lot. It is also popular with tourists, too.
It was coffees and juices all around with our lunch. These guys were quite a responsible bunch and didn’t have any alcohol with their lunches.
It was during lunch that Gary mentioned the Antonio would like to lead us on a ride over some back roads through Chilliwack. Leo, John and Brad decided to leave us at that point because they had to get back early. So, after lunch, the remaining five of us carried on to Chilliwack. Holy cow! Antonio sure rides fast. Although I was keeping up and we were not unsafe, I was keeping my eyes open for police.
Aaaaacccckkkk…..What is that horrible smell? There was a honey wagon in action. For those that don’t know what a honey wagon is….it is a truck with a nozzle that spews fertilizer as it drives along in the fields.
To be continued……It was along day and I need to get to sleep. I will finish tomorrow.