What a great day. I needed one of those.
I've been bound and determined to ride the bike all the way to the coffee shop for about two weeks now. Last week, of course, it was too cold, but this morning, I decided, I could handle it. It was only about five degrees warmer, but I finally picked up my spiffy new armored, textile, winter-weight jacket the other day, and knew this time to wear a scarf, and put a second pair of gloves on under my motorcycle gloves. No problem, right?
Eh, it was still chilly. But I did it!
I rode the whole mile and a half on real roads with cars and things to the coffee shop. I parked the bike. I walked in...and looked at my watch. And realized I was there a good half hour before anyone else usually got there.
But I got my (decaf) mocha, and hung out, and eventually the crew trickled in. All were pleased with my accomplishment. Larry - who hadn't yet met the bike - and Bill came out, sat on it, kicked the tires, looked at stuff. We hung out for a while, and then I rode it back home and swapped it out for the Jeep, so we could head over to the third annual Charity Breakfast With Santa that the Housestaff Council was hosting. I've worked it (and helped run it) the last two years, but this year, I finally said no. Still, I wanted to support the cause, and so the whole lot of us - me, Jen, Bill, Garth, Larry, and Ginny - went over, bearing canned goods and our nominal donations.
Residents were $5 at the door; others are $10. Now, in previous years, when *I* was working the door, if a resident came with a group of family members, friends, or whatever, I'd charge them all the $5 rate, especially if they came in with a sizable food or toy donation to the charities in question, and also if they were a particular friend to the Housestaff Council (like, say, last year's vice president). This time, however, I was not working the door. So I was told I could bring my spouse in for $5, but that was it. I turned to the group and said, "Who wants to be my husband?" So Larry was my temporary spouse. Which is lucky, because he ended up having to pay for me since I didn't have any cash.
We had a lovely time. The boys ate quite a lot of bacon. We saw some friends from work. I had really good eggs. None of us got our picture taken with Santa, however.
I came back home and got back on the bike. Drove it around the neighborhood a little bit, and then expanded my circle. I went on bigger roads this time. With more cars and things. And faster!
It's so funny. I get nervous about things like stopping and starting. Like, I worry when I know I'm going to have to stop and turn up ahead. But when I actually go to do them, it turns out fine. I make my turns. I slow down and stop and start back up again. I get my feet out of the way and back on the pegs. And while I don't have that muscle memory quite down yet, I'm getting the hang of things, enough that I can start worrying about things like sight lines and traffic and what part of the lane in which to travel. And there's this curious, whole-body intuitiveness to riding that's so different from being in a car. On the bike? It's a little more like...just being. You move, and the bike moves with you. You want to turn? Lean over. You want to swerve around a little pothole in the road? You just sort of wiggle your body the right way. All four of your limbs have a job, and they work together. You feel the road, you feel the wind. Today, when I got over 50 mph, I realized what it really meant that my coat and my body would act like a sail. I mean, I understood it conceptually when I read it, sure. But today I felt it.
It was awfully chilly, though. But I also discovered that if I pull my knees in more, I can warm up my legs with the heat from my engine. Sometimes that "air cooled" thing is a real bonus.
I got home, and swapped out the bike for the Jeep again. Just in time, too, because as I was backing out of my parking space it started to rain. I ran over to the local Harley dealership, because I'd ordered a copy of the owner's manual for my bike and it had come in. So while I was there, I also picked up a neck warmer (its pink!) and a set of glove liners. The cashier and I had a nice conversation about our respective Sportsters. I have a 2007 extra low - she has the 2005 custom. She gave me some welcome props for riding in this weather. I pointed out that right now, the biggest thing I need to be doing is just staying on the bike regularly. I may not have gone for super long rides today, but it all adds up.
I made a wrong turn and took the scenic way home, which was fine with me. I hung out with the dog a bit, did some dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and then my godbrother (we have the same godparents) came down from Virginia to visit. It was interesting, actually - we figured that we haven't seen each other in person in about 15 years or so, but we're Facebook friends and he reads my blog (hi, cuz), and so it wasn't weird at all, once I got over the whole, "Wait. You're standing in my living room" phenomena. We had a really nice time. Had dinner, got coffee, hung out for a while with my parents. Caught up, talked about family, talked about new stuff, talked about old times. It was quite lovely. And a nice way to end the day.
Mike is having his annual Christmas bash tonight, and I'd planned on going, but I'm still a little wiped out, and so I think I'm just going to bed. It was so nice to just have a nice day after the week I've had.