Bugs…

“Simpsons” blue skies, sun peaking over the trees, and mid 70’s forecast for the high: that’s riding time no matter how you have to rationalize it.

Springtime in Georgia came early this year. In fact, whether you believe in global warming or not, it appears it may have skipped directly to Summer. Time to head North, or maybe East. I haven’t been West in a while, but these types of decisions are best left until after coffee. After I finally get gassed up and caffeine stoked I pull out of the station and I turn left…:WEST!

This route is taking me through the Northern end of the Cumberland Plateau which makes the riding  smooth, relaxing, and with just the right amount of hills and curves so I throttle up for a lazy day trip to … somewhere.

SMACK! – “Ow!”
Like taking a piantball pellet to the shoulder, I feel the sting of a rather substantial bug striking the fleshy part of my upper arm – “That’s gonna leave a mark”

Early Spring has the unwanted result of an increased bug presence early in the morning and with it comes the realization that even though the air was warm and smelled wonderful, I should probably have stuck with my full face helmet with protective visor instead of the open face shorty and sunglasses. As the miles roll by, the deterioration of my small windshield’s cleanliness is making it apparent that likewise, my body is taking a bug beating. Time to turn off the iPod as the last thing I need to be doing is riding with my mouth wide open while belting out Springsteen at the top of my voice…

Oh-oh thunder road, oh thunder road oh thunder road…”.

I cruise past the wetlands surrounding a nearby lake and again, – SMACK!
This one I saw coming. A large black object, probably a bee, aimlessly wandered into my path and like a baseball pitcher watching a line drive head straight for him, all I could do was helplessly blink as it impacted the small patch of my forehead just above the glasses and below the helmet. “Now that WILL leave a mark!”. The roads leveled out past the lake and as I rolled the throttle on to get into thrill ride mode for a few minutes, ANOTHER bug hits the now exposed underside of my wrist. A tiny little spot of skin but none the less, exposed by the twist of the throttle for a perfect strike. After a few miles, my arm was feeling a bit “tingly” so I pulled over to check it out. There was a sticky yellow substance all over the wrist going back into my sleeve. Not a bug guts looking mess, just sticky. I unzipped the opening at the wrist and shook the sleeve and to my surprise a huge honey bee fell to the ground: seriously stunned! Well., that explains the itchy, tingly feeling.

With the temperatures getting higher as another Southern summer approaches for real, there is the hope that the bugs will get smaller and less frequent, so until then, I’ll just have to remember to wash my beard and mustache with a bit more care. I’m sure the ladies will appreciate it.

Ride well, Ride long and whatever it is, it’s better in the wind.


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In the blood

Other than vague memories of riding in a sidecar with my brother and sister crammed in with me while riding up to visit relatives up North, I never realized just how much of a connection I had with two wheels until recently.

While rummaging through an old shoe box of delicate, black and white photographs, I saw several images of men and women posing on some really cool old bikes. Consulting with my parents I found out that I had come from a long line of “bikers”

Mom and Dad cruised around Tyneside on his ’49 Triumph Tiger until he traded to a newer BSA Golden Flash, which I believe to be the one the sidecar was attached to when ‘us kids’ arrived.. My Mom’s brothers also had various bikes from Triumph to Brough Superiors and the photos were all there for me to get excited about. Then as the  photos started looking older, I found a shot of my Granddad sitting on a what looks like a Rudge. Surprisingly, I came across an image of a young girl posing on an early 30’s British Excelsior- That was Grandma Daisy at about 18 sitting astride her dad’s bike . Yes, GREAT Granddad had one too.

Wow- It was definitely in the blood!


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