A Beautiful Autumn Motorcycle Ride

By Sue Feather

Since it has been unusually warm in our area this fall, it was a great idea to go for a motorcycle ride to see the Fall colors. This sounds simple enough, but I have not had the opportunity to go on such a ride for many years, so there were many things to think about. Some of them were the usual and, for me, some of them were not.

First, I will tell you about my friend Bruce. He is an accomplished rider and that is why I trusted him with my life. That was the first thing I had to think about. Being a passenger always requires total trust, but as I climbed on the back of his beautiful touring bike, I remembered how very important and basic that is. I have known him for a long time and I know he is cautious and has ridden safely for many years. He was concerned that I felt comfortable, was fully prepared and truly wanted to go on the ride. He asked me questions about my experience and it made me think of details.

Since I do not own real motorcycling attire, I did my best to dress appropriately. I wore jeans, cowboy boots and some layered shirts. Bruce, being the gentleman that he is and having ridden for many years, had the proper accessories for me to wear. He presented me with some leather chaps that fit like they were made for me and a beautiful motorcycle jacket to complete my outfit. Bruce also had a spare full-face helmet that fit me. As I got closer to leaving, I felt more prepared and that was good.

When we talked about riding, we discussed how to ride safety. Things like how the bike leans into turns and ways the passenger can cooperate with the rider. I realized how long it had been since my last ride as I lifted my leg over the seat to get on the bike. I was scared for a minute and then I reminded myself that this is for fun, not to be frightened. I will admit that I prayed a lot at the beginning of the ride, but then I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

Once we were on our way, I really noticed the beauty of the Fall colors on the trees and how all of the senses are activated by not being cooped-up in a car. The sun was dancing through the trees as we passed lakes, ponds, wood lots and farms scattered along the highway. On a motorcycle, you can see that the clouds are in shapes; were those angel wings up there or maybe a giant bird in flight or a horse running? I could smell wood stoves burning, things in the forest and cars that needed some engine repairs. As the sun started to go down, the colors on the lake turned to gold, orange and salmon and there was a kind of glow on the water.

The trees were displaying a full range of Fall colors. There were some that were mingled together; an evergreen tree that had a bright yellow deciduous tree growing alongside so that it looked like a two-color tree. Then there was one that looked like the bottom was glowing while the top was in flames. We went past fields of freshly plowed soil, waiting for something new to be planted. There were also fields of the most beautiful emerald green, with colorful trees along the edges.

We did not go too far out of town, just about an hour ride up into the hill country. I made sure to bring my camera, but the best pictures are in my head and my heart, since I never took the camera out! We were riding! Before turning for home, we stopped for a bite to eat at a cafe in a little town in the hills. Of course, everything tasted great. It seems that way when you travel and are having fun!

I particularly appreciated that Bruce was a cautious and courteous rider. I will be better prepared the next time I am invited to go for a ride!

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