Sometimes I think that the universe has a sense of humour. I have been fortunate that in the week before I started university again I have been able to go riding almost every day. Okanagan summers are incredibly hot, so I got into the habit of riding early in the morning. Before the day starts and there are only a few cars on the road the air is still cool enough that I don’t melt inside my jacket.
I have been slowly accumulating gear. I have my glossy black open faced helmet, with two pairs of goggles (one tinted, one clear) and I have just acquired a jacket. I had been wearing an old leather jacket of mine, but it was a little bulky and it flaps a lot over 80km/hour or so. Or so I assume, since I still have my learner’s license and can’t ride any faster than 60. Oh, and I don’t ride alone either, but only with a qualified supervisor- as is clearly stated on my license.
At any rate, I like this new jacket. It’s used, a little worn and has a couple of scuffs, like the Radian. I think it’s probably seen some things in its life and, like the Radian, probably has a story or two to tell. It came to Brent’s shop with another bike and needed a home so it lives with me and the Radian now. Also, because it’s a little worn, when I ride I look experienced, like I’ve been riding for years instead of weeks. And that enhances my cool factor.
And whenever I feel cool I think the universe likes to remind me otherwise.
I was out for a Sunday morning ride. The air was clear and cool, the sun was shining and there was hardly anyone on the road. I was on my way home and the Radian just died on me. I managed to get it started again and nursed it to Brent’s house because, as luck would have it, I happened to be only a few blocks away. I got a hold of Brent, who was out for his own Sunday ride, but he expressed his concern and promised to have a look at it later. So I left the Radian with Candace and went home. A few hours later I received a text from Brent: “When’s the last time you filled up with gas?”
I had filled up earlier in the week and I suppose I had done more riding than I thought (who knew 150km could disappear so quickly?) In my defence, the thought had occurred to me and I did switch it to the reserve tank. I still couldn’t get it started; but it is entirely possible that the problem is not with the Radian. In any event, Lindsay was good enough to drive me up to Brent’s place in our van, which immediately reduced my cool factor. Have you ever let the air out of a balloon? Remember the sound it makes? That’s me.
Nevertheless, once I was riding again, I had forgotten all about the minivan and the embarrassment of running out of gas. All that mattered was riding. When I got home I put some more gas in the tank from my jerry can (it’s supposed to be there for the lawn mower, but I think long grass is going to make a comeback on our street). I decided to go for a quick ride because the lingering Okanagan evenings are just as nice for riding as the fresh mornings.
I was half a block from home and the Radian just died on me. I believe that riding requires a total commitment to the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your fuel. The universe has a sense of humor, and so does Brent, and so does my brother. I know because he called me later (“Hi! I heard you had some bike trouble!) To their credit, they try not to laugh too hard when they see me and I still smile when I think of myself coasting to the side of road while the Radian sputters to a stop. Anyway, I’m confident that I still looked like a proper rider with my shiny helmet, tinted goggles and worn leather jacket...while I pushed my bike down the alley and into the garage.
David Balfour was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and has since lived in Edmonton, Alberta, as well as British Columbia’s Cariboo and Kootenay regions before settling in the Okanagan. David has had a variety of career tangents through the years: he was a roadie for a rock band in the 1990s, he worked on a mushroom farm, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, owned a small business and is currently completing his Education degree at the University of British Columbia.
David is new to the world of motorcycles in general and MotoVida in particular. However, a love found later in life is better than a love never found at all. He lives in Kelowna, BC with his wife, Lindsay and their four children, Emma, Annie, Aidan and Cordelia, and the Radian, his motorcycle.