Author Topic: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood  (Read 763 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Salish14

  • Salish14
  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12507
  • Membership Level: Active
Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« on: February 04, 2018, 01:16:58 pm »
Deep dark and tired from a day on the range observing a BRC for new riders. Getting trained up to teach it. Class ends at dark, have been standing in the driving rain all afternoon. Seattle rain. Nothing impressive at any one moment. Not a Rocky thunderstorm, not a New England deluge. Just constant penetrating 43 degree water.

Mount up my Connie and start the 90 minute ride home. Roads have standing water in every depression, raining, spray, splash. Splash Splash Splash. Headlight glare off the face shield, splash, is that a pothole right there? Does that lady on her phone next to me see me through the rain and fogged up window? Hell no! Dart, pause, avoid.

It's a form of battle, really. Your life is certainly on the line. Right there on the line. You feel the line. You see the line. Not nervous, not unfamiliar, not strange. Just a friendly familiar line. You realize how thin the margin of error lies between you getting up to hug your family or being in a trauma center hoping to walk again.

Splash, driving rain, cars changing lane abruptly without signaling. Is that my exit? Is it? Damn it! A detour?

You think about just grabbing a room somewhere, that maybe that is the sane thing to do. It's just time and money. But you are so close to home.

That detour takes you through a city you don't know, with roads you don't know. And potholes and edge traps and oil slicks you don't know. And your visibility is maybe, what?, 50% of that on a good sunny day? Is that too generous? 30% maybe? Dark, road black with water in all spots, face shield sheds water but still covered in wetness.

Finally on the freeway home, cruising along in lighter traffic doing 70, able to space yourself as you would, protect your zone. Starting to settle into the mold of your tired, wet ride. Holding tightly onto your situational awareness. Gripping like the best friend you've ever had.

Among the vehicles passing by or getting passed...I hear a BEEP, BEEP! Not a car horn, but what sounds like a bike horn. What the hell? NO way I'm seeing someone else on this night, in these conditions, right here? Haven't seen another rider in the last hour through Tacoma city and freeways. But sure enough, a fellow rider on what looked to be a Vstrom came up next to me, gave me a couple more BEEP, BEEP's, and pulled off the next exit.

You will think I'm silly or too sentimental. But that little act of brotherhood, or sisterhood, meant way more to me than it should. That feeling that you are not in battle alone. That there are fellow warriors braving the conditions to get home to families, beer or work. That moment when you do a gut check and realize you've done this thousands of times before, and are doing it again, and you're fine, and actually, truly, you do it because it is an adventure that puts you closer to the edge of existence instead of in comfortable decrepitude.

Mr. or Ms. Vstrom: Hope you had a safe and nice ride too.

Get home, hug the wife and kids. Take a shower to wash off the adrenaline and warm up the few places that were cool despite all the heated gear and winter clothing. Settle in. Get ready for doing it again today.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 20,000 and counting

Offline Slambo

  • Tricycle
  • Posts: 34
  • USAF (ret) - B-52 RN
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 12545
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 01:34:03 pm »
Cool story, enjoyed it...I’ll remember it next time I meet someone else battling the elements too...
Scott
2014 C14
2006 KLR 650
2005 HD ElectraGlide

Offline ron203

  • Officer
  • Iron Butt
  • ****
  • Posts: 4426
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 9847
  • Membership Level: Area Director
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 06:21:10 pm »
Excellent. I hope you're rested and in a "sunnier place" today. Thank you.
2014 C-14
2008 Goldwing

Offline Salish14

  • Salish14
  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12507
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 11:57:52 pm »
Going back and reading this takes me right there in place and time. I'm glad a few of you found this fun, or reminiscent of your own experiences. Sometimes, usually, words fail. Or as the ancient Persian poet put it (rhyme intended): "Language is a tailor's shop where nothing fits." True so true. Yet sometimes, when we are lucky, the right words come to us to convey an experience. I think this one did for me. 
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 20,000 and counting

Offline ZXtasy

  • Road Bike
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
  • It rides the bike or it gets the lotion!
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12569
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 01:10:17 am »
Nice write up. From 1983 to 1985 I lived in Kirkland and Olympia. Worked in Puyallup and really all over up to Lake City, downtown Seattle. Did not own a car. Started on my 76 RD-400, moved to an 82 Yamaha Maxim 750, then spent the last winter commuting 60 miles a day on my 84 ZX-750E1L Turbo Kawasaki. Many cold, dark, wet rides. A couple rides on I-5 in snow. Never had a crash or spill...except for the failed burnout trying to impress a girl.

Good times, good times.
2013 ZG-1400, 2005 ZX-10R (Nekkid), 2012 TW-200, 1999 TW-200....and more to come.

Offline Salish14

  • Salish14
  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12507
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 05:32:12 pm »
Good stories ZXtasy. I really do believe there is a sort of brotherhood/sisterhood of people who ride in any particular region. You face your unique challenges. For us here in the PNW, we are just masters of riding in constant dark, wet and 39 degrees. That is 6 months of our year. I've lived all over the West, and know that if I still lived in LA, my riding buddies would be expert at other challenges, like lane splitting and freeway merging hell.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 20,000 and counting

Offline Deepsea

  • Living large in the land of Hansel & Gretel
  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1136
  • AREA: Southwest Area
  • COG#: Forum
  • Membership Level: Forum Subscriber
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 08:27:08 pm »
Great story, thanks. :beerchug:


The first half brought to mind my time on the flight deck of an Aircraft Carrier where situational awareness is a matter of survival. If you're not fully aware of Everything in a 360* spherical surrounding area you will get seriously hurt. Those lessons have served me well on a motorcycle.
BSA Gold Star, Norton Commando, Moto Guzzi V-7 Sport, Norton Commando, John Player Norton, BMW R90S, Kawasaki Z-1 and Z-1R , Honda CB-650, C-14
El Mirage Record Holder A-BG 3000cc 11/83 184.049 mph  CDA#0438
(twin engine, twin turbo, Z-1)
Retired Navy Saturation Diver

Offline Salish14

  • Salish14
  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12507
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 04:10:50 am »
Hey Deepsea,
Glad you liked it and that it made you recall your time on a flight deck is really cool. I've always thought that an aircraft carrier flight deck is one of the top unique experiences one can have on this planet. It's such a pinnacle of power and technology, teamwork and risk. Man. What a thing to have done.

I suppose all of us who ride have a sense of how it is a life close to an edge. Sometimes that edge is in the distance, and sometimes it is way too close.

Keeping the rubber side down is  job 1! But job 2 is having a hell of a great time.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 20,000 and counting

Offline Jerry_Layman_NE

  • Road Bike
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 1374
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 10:00:49 am »
Nice. It reminds me of when I was a MSF Instructor. Just wait till after you've taught a few classes. Your shins will feel like someone's been beating them with a bat, from walking backwards on the range all day. And your voice will be raspy and raw from hollering at the students all day. But you will remember the look on a students face when the "light goes on" and they "get it" finally. Makes it all worth while.

Good luck with your class. We had ~30 guys start the certification class and only ten of us graduated.   :great:
Jerry Layman  COG 1374 
Fremont Nebraska


Offline Salish14

  • Salish14
  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 12507
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Dark Winter Wet Brotherhood
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2018, 04:12:39 am »
Thanks for the support. It's a big time commitment here in WA as it is 4 weekends, with a Friday 6-10pm those weekends too. I'm a lifelong teacher and outdoor educator, having taught sea kayaking and in National Parks, so the outdoor part and teaching part will be familiar. The trick is learning what to emphasize and what to ignore in the BRC. Veterans know how much there is to understand about riding well and safely, and it is impossible to fit that into 16 hours. It takes time and experience to know how people learn, and how much you can teach. In other words, it would be easy to overwhelm students with stuff they aren't ready to absorb.

Anyway, I hope I'm one of the 10...It'll be a side job for me, as I already have a day job as a science teacher. But the extra cash will be nice and I love teaching so that's no issue. Some more play money and bike money will be quickly spent!
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 20,000 and counting