Sunday, November 25, 2012

Riding With Friends

Today was highlighted by participating in a ride celebrating a friend's birthday.  Fourteen riders, some I knew, most I didn't.  The birthday boy wanted oysters for his birthday, and you really can't beat fresh oysters from Tomales Bay enjoyed outside on a brilliantly sunny late November afternoon.  It was wonderful!

Like lots of riders, I can be a little uncomfortable riding with folks for the first time.  Plus, it was a little damp under the trees from recent rain, so when the route was planned to go straight up Hwy 1 from Point Reyes Station to Marshall, I separated myself from the group to go ride Marshall-Petaluma, a local favorite, then reunited with the group at the Marshall Store.

Listening to talk over lunch, it was clear I'd missed out some by riding apart from the group, so when the birthday boy said he wanted to ride Fairfax-Bolinas on the way home, it was time to re-integrate with the group.  As it turned out, the group of fourteen fractured a bit going south, and I ended up in a group of four, all of whom I knew, but only one of whom I'd ridden with.  As it turned out, all were superb riders, beautiful and smooth arcing down 1, sharp and surefooted over Fairfax-Bolinas.

Once we were over the top of the ridge and down the other side we stopped to talk, trade stories, ask question, and review the highlights of what we'd just ridden.  The conversation was full of laughter, sharing the raw joy of a great ride in a way that can't be fully shared with anyone who wasn't there.  What a pleasure!

It brought up a number of recent rides, with old friends and new, small groups and large, in which the intensity of the experience, combined with the need to be flexible and ride in concert with others over the road in a sort of dance, brings to light a part of the motorcycling experience that one can't really get riding by oneself all the time.  There is much to be said for the quiet and introspection of the solo ride, and they are an important part of the riding experience.  That said, the afterglow of today's ride is a vivid reminder that joy shared is joy squared.  Enjoy. 

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