Bikeness, knowingness.

August 25, 2010


I camped under the moon among crickets. I am crashing a friend’s yard, where I set up my tent for the next few days.

My only gripe : ants.

I suddenly remembered, there are lots and lots and lots of ants in Southern California. And. I have a thing about ants… I think I was eaten by red ants in a past life…. So it is a bit of a test for me to just look at the ground. I got on the bike yesterday morning and they were running ALL over the bike… Arghh… They go everywhere… They are innumerable…. Argh…. Now I am sitting here and it feels like they are crawling all over me… I look and there’s none, but can’t help it.

Other than that it’s good. I had oatmeal for breakfast for the last two days instead of some “Factor X” breakfast in a roadside eatery. Factor X like the unknown factor of an algebra equation.
(a + b) =a 483756 – X% + regional factor = a + b > X < he goodness of the food for breakfast.

(my apologies for all the mathematicians reading this equation as they probably feel pain reading it, like I feel pain when hear bad musical notes)

The bike. Well, 12 thousand miles plus at this point. i gotta compiles my mileage for exact numbers. Yesterday we went for a bike “physical” and my baby really needed love. First the tune up. New oil, new plugs, a battery check that revealed that half of the cells were half empty, which corroborated my feelings lately about sensing that the electrical was not quite up to par. (I'm really starting to KNOW this bike)

Then my rear brakes situation. Why did they seize? A few things were funky : the rear hydraulic brake line was pinched so that could have caused the problem, the pedal was not playing freely which could have caused the problem. The piston in the caliper was not in a proper angle, which could have caused the problem. So what caused the brakes to seize? We'll never know for sure, but I got to keep an eye on this just in case it's something else.

The tune up inspection also revealed that I need a new chain and new sprockets. As much as I don't make a big deal of riding all these miles around the great land of America, they have piled up and the metal has worn out.

That reminded me of how I felt invincible when I left Vancouver because I had brand new sprockets and chain and clean oil…. I thought that would carry me to the end of the world… and I guess it did. But when you compile: two sets of tires, 1 new battery, 4 oil changes, 2 sets of plugs, 4 quarts of motor oil, 2 brake bleedings, 1 set of new rear brake pads, a stator, a regulator rectifier, a few fuses, miscellaneous wire repair, dashboard bulbs, speedometer cable… it sort of tells a story of the miles that have been coursed.

But that engine runs. My heart beats. And on we will go.

So tomorrow I'll get the tires, chain and sprockets put in. I now have to go hunting at a motorcycle salvage yard for rear turn signals and a tail piece for the tail light has decided to quit working. So onto a new adventure in hunting under the California sun.

What else? Well I will be playing a show on Saturday night. I am looking forward to it. You have no idea… I might have a drummer with me. The amazing thing is how eager and interested everyone seems about coming to hear the music. It is such a gift. God knows I have had my share of disinterested crowds while I played my heart out and that tends to leave you feeling sorely inept.

I think I have found the guitar I will play for the show. A Django Rheinhart sort of guitar, a cross between a classical guitar and a large bodied jazz guitar. I am working on the set list, my voice and my fingers whom I have to coax into doing something more than hold the throttle, pull in and let go of brake and clutch levers and steer.

Staying in one place, being among people is an interesting challenge. I am the wild horse, I feel the cowboys approaching with the lassos, and I balk. As soon as I stop I miss the road… On the road I miss the guitar. Here is a fine balance to be understood and attained.

I have been asked numerous times why I left on this journey. Well, I wanted to ride. I really, really love to ride… (I guess you know that by now…)

I needed the space. I needed the time. I wanted to feel. Be alive. I had been so dead… To feel it all : the pain, the joys, the smells, the cold and hot, the rain, the pounding sun…

Some suggested that I put a big windshield to not feel the wind, some suggested that I put a “cruise control” on my throttle so not to get the pain in the arm, some suggested… But I wanted to experience, feel everything about it. Ground zero. Be alive. In every possible way. Be out of this “comfortably numb” life that I led.

I wanted to let go of all the invisible chains holding me in a static pattern, a never ending loop, making the same mistakes, saying the same things, judging everything and not giving anything a chance to happen and surprise me. Blow me away.

Here and now, I sit at yet another Starbucks this time in Southern California. There are the pressing issues of keeping my ride rideable. There is the always looming issue of money and means to put gas in the tank and food in my stomach and having a place to sleep. There is the issue of winter months coming ahead with the ice and snow that will ground me or limit me as to where I can be. But bigger than all of this is the issue of getting at an intersection and having to decide which way to go.

I think I will dare. Actually I know I will. I still have to imagine it a little more. But I think I will dare this idea of keeping this road rolling under my wheels and adding the guitar in the mix. I want to add it because that is the main thing I missed. My guitar. The sounds. The music.

I mean what are the other choices? Get back into the fold I was in? Comfortable but dead-ended. Settle somewhere and get a job? Yeah, that would be reasonable, but that is an act of submission an act of faithlessness. It is not what I know is true here and now.

I do know that the answers are in the wind. That the only thing I can actually do without being a traitor is to trust. Trust. Forge ahead and trust. Trust my heart, trust my knowingness and trust that it is all possible because it’s always only a matter of point of view.

Well, better go out and find the parts for the bike. Give my baby the love it deserves after serving me so faithfully, taking me half way around the world and back, roaring in the wind, rain, sun or moonlight, hot or cold… Heart of steel, heart of gold.


3 Responses to “Bikeness, knowingness.”

  1. Mélonai Says:

    Hé la fille
    J’attends maintenant avec impatience, de lire tes blogs, de vivre en imagination les aventures de L’Aventurière.
    Je suis heureuse de l’avoir fait à 21 – 22 ans, dans le même coin du monde là.
    Que c’est beau, et merci pour les photos.

  2. Alan Says:

    “two sets of tires, 1 new battery, 4 oil changes, 2 sets of plugs, 4 quarts of motor oil, 2 brake bleedings, 1 set of new rear brake pads, a stator, a regulator rectifier, a few fuses, miscellaneous wire repair, dashboard bulbs, speedometer cable”

    Hmmm…whatever you do, don’t forget new proton thrusters. And check the remote nuclear detonators for wear. Two problemos that Canadian girl bike riders almost always overlook, read it once somewhere, probably Wikipedia. Or the Inquirer. Whatever.


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