December 29, 2010

From Wikipedia
Beowulf : is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts.

Beowulf is the name I gave to my new bike.

I cannot lie. I wasn’t sure at all. IO was barely taken off the road on that difficult ride on December 18th when Beowulf came to me. I was seriously heart broken over the loss of my first bike love. My nimble, gutsy, perfect white knight of a Suzuki. The mechanic’s words I could not ignore. It’s either going to blow it’s engine or catch on fire… so I had to retire it.

Yes, Beowulf is shiny, beautiful… In more conventional terms it’s a great bike, with great pedigree, track record, low mileage, awesome reputation and mystique and it was incredibly well cared for… and it is red.

But who cares about logic when heart & soul are hurting so deeply. Yes, I was moved to my core by the incredible gesture. I still am. I was excited, grateful, blown away but I was also worried. Nothing would ever be what IO was.

And I won’t lie, a couple of days ago I took the BMW for a short errand run and it just felt wrong. when I came back home from that ride I chatted honestly with Ozzy about the BMW, he used to have one so he knows them. We talked about the shifting, the rpms, the handling. He told me to rev it up more. So I pondered these ideas quietly.

The next day was going to be a one on one ride. Beowulf and me. I decided that we were going to go out. I had only ridden it back from Lancaster in the rain & storm then once more to the store and what stayed in my mind was how big and slow this bike is and how different it is from the Suzuki. So I took the saddlebags off. I got dressed and off we went. I thought : “Lets do what I would so gladly do with IO. Go out, go write the blog and then just ride. Anywhere.

In my ponderings this thought came to me : “this is a big bike made by big German men for big German men, not by small Japanese men…” I figured I should ride it like a big German man.

I backed it out of the garage, started it and let it warm up. I got on and drove out of the driveway. Once on the road I just rode the crap out of it. Revved it up, shifted as I figure a big tall German man would shift it and it responded. I was going to grab that bike by the scruff of its throttle and show it that I could and I would.

We headed East on the 210, Mount Baldy in the distance, is covered in snow. It’s just breathtakingly beautiful. The peak is covered, there are clouds nestled half way up the mountain and the clouds in the sky look like gigantic snow banks while around me the desert hills are greening. Winter grass they call it here.

Go. Show me what you can do.

I rode down to Rancho Cucamonga, had coffee, my first of the day so it was awesome. The barrista asked me what kind of bike I was riding. For the very first time I heard myself say :

“a BMW. A K75. ”

It was the first time I said it. What I had been saying was:

“ A Suzuki GS 750 ES…. but it’s in the shop… so I’m riding this …. ”

IO is gone. Gulp.

I drank my coffee and went out and got myself on the 10. We’re going at a brisk pace, 80 MPH a little over a little under. I’m around 5-6 thousand rpms. I was not going to be meek or shy. I pushed it. Demanded.


And it is going. It is solid as a rock. I am pretending to be a great big tall German who will get whatever it asks for and the machine gives, generously. The traffic thickened up. Slowed. Crawled. Time to split lanes. I hesitated for a second. You have to be confident to split lanes. You have to be Zen and All Seeing. What the heck I thought. Go for it. Might as well see how it does it. How it responds. Will it be there for me? Grooves, reflectors, cracks, paint, slow down, accelerate, cars moving in on you, cutting out of triple solid lines. The bike is giving me everything I ask and wish with heart and poise. It is solid and graceful like marble. It is very responsive but not nervous, which surprised me because the bike seems so heavy. When I got to Beaumont, there was a sign for the 60 West so I took it. Too much traffic here. So I turned around and I got to ride some hilly, slightly curvy roads. It’s dark by now.

I am thankful for the heated vest. I am cozy. I realized at one point that I too felt poised. Confident. We course through amid heavy traffic with ease, speed and stability. This bike is so steady there is not a whisper of a tremble in the mirrors. I feel protected. The extra lights that are on the forks make me feel like a starship hovering above the road and everyone sees me.

The legend says Beowulf went to kill Grendel. Grendel was the monster who went on regular trips to kill the people of King Hrothgar because he did not like their singing. Beowulf was a warrior, a protector, a defender.

Here in the dark, fast moving traffic I am protected. My path is bright and clear. The wind is not harassing me. We forge ahead, we hammer the white hot metal into our road. I feel the road angels and spirits opening the way for me. This is right.

I get this emotion. For the first time on this bike I pat the tank.

“Yes, I do like you. It’s just… hard.. to let IO go… but I do like you.”

A few instants after I utter these words, in the sky above us, the largest shooting star I have ever seen flashes in the sky. It is large and even through the fog, it glows brightly making a slow arch before disappearing. I point in the direction of the star with my left hand. I wonder if others saw it. Could be a sign, could be nothing but I’ll chose to see this as a good omen. The Gods, still with us. Destiny fulfilled. The human got it so the mission can continue.

I made it back in San Dimas around 6 PM or so. I pulled up to the garage door, Ozzy opened it from the inside. He said “ I would recognize that engine sound anywhere. I removed my gloves, helmet, balaclava and ear plugs and announced : “ I like it. I like the bike”.

I pushed it in the garage. Damn it’s heavy. But my heart is smiling.


3 Responses to “Partners”

  1. The chains are again cast aside; the saga continues.

    Beowulf. Of course, Beowulf.

  2. David Walker Says:

    That is a fine looking bike Danielle. Red is my favorite colour and it goes well with black.


    Warmest regards,

  3. Madeleine Says:

    encore une fois tu me fais pleurer……xxxxx

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