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First Ride Ever--10 Days in the Alps


David

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A client of mine just sent me a link to her motorcycle trip--the first one ever, and it's 10 days in the Alps. smile.gif

 

http://backofthebike.typepad.com/back_of_the_bike

 

So with Raye an experienced rider but me never having so much as ridden with him to the corner market, we decided to book a biker's dream trip through the Alps. We agree to rent just one bike, and of course Raye will drive. I have signed on for a true back-of-the-bike experience, determined to find out if I can learn to like motorcycle riding and, most importantly, to see if I can make the journey matter.

 

It was on a 12RT. And it sounds like just the therapeutic experience she needed:

 

Sunday

 

The 12-hour flight home is about half over now. I am determined to capture every last memory I have now before we even set foot in the U.S., and I am tempted to turn my cell phone on for the first time in nine days. I did attempt a sneak peek at my Blackberry in Zurich but fortunately the battery is dead. It wouldn’t have been worth it anyway – just make the trip home more stressful thinking about the emails I need to reply to.

 

Raye and I have already decided our next trip will be next year to Scotland or Tuscany, depending on the time of year these rides are offered. Raye suggests I learn to drive. Knowing me as well as he does, he is sure I will enjoy the speed, control and challenge of that experience.

 

I’m not sure, though, if the pure luxury of simply hopping on the back of his bike wasn’t just what I needed. I remember nine days ago, leaving my life to go on this trip was so incredibly difficult. But as with any forced departure from daily life, such an escape makes you think. And this time for me, it was about the journey. I think of how blessed I am to have a great family and to love what I do. My life is great, and the destination is no where in sight. The getting there part is still going on, and that's okay with me.

 

I am also starting to realize perhaps I am not the one who is driving afterall. But regardless of where God decides to take me on this journey, I am determined to make the most of it. I have always wanted to live life intensely. Yet getting off the ride of my life long enough to rest and reflect has to be a part of the itinerary, too. And being on the back of the bike is probably just where I belong every now and then.

 

As our plane prepares to touch down, my i-Pod sings to me one last time. Sounds of Steppenwolf linger in my mind. For a person who doesn't know how to move at any speed less than top, I am certain now that I actually slowed down for the first time in a long time. "Easy Rider" may have been just what the doctor ordered, and the best description of this journey that matters in more ways than one.

 

(Want to see more photos? Go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/13059701@N00/sets/ and click on the set "Saturday: Saying Goodbye" to see photos of our hotel and the local countryside.)

 

Epilogue:

 

Well, the answer is yes. I did fall in love with motorcycles, at least as much as a beginner can. Since our trip, Raye and I have been riding a few times each month with friends who share the same passion. Each time, I learn more fully what it means to enjoy the journey -- that's one of the great lessons of motorcycling.

 

I also enjoy meeting and talking with other riders about their bikes, their trips and finding out about great places to ride. If you have a favorite route, please share it.

 

If any of you get the urge, throw some comments in her blog. Maybe she'll get permanently hooked!

 

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David,

This is so wild your client, my friend. She was gushing about the trip when we bumped into each other at church. I can't believe that before that trip she had not really ever ridden very far with Raye. Raye and I talk about riding together, but that has not yet worked out. She did a great job capturing the essence of the journey.

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