Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1st NewThing ~ "Lean Into It"

I can be a bit chatty. Especially when there’s something I’m excited about. 

I’ve been talking about the 50 New Things to those in my immediate vicinity for a couple weeks. The idea and energy was in place but I wanted to wait until I turned 50 to begin.

People had questions. Helpful suggestions.

“Do you know what all 50 things are going to be?”

“Are you going to sky dive?”

“Have you ever gone mountain climbing?”

“Base jumping?”

“You could go to Spain and run with the bulls!”

Apparently these are the ‘friends’ who would like to see me dead.

“I can teach you to knit.” Whew, finally someone who loves me!

I am regularly asked, “What kinds of things are on your list?”

One of my first answers is, “I’ve never been to another country.”

“Not even Canada?”

“Well, once in high school, I drove across the border and came right back, just so I could ‘say’ I’d been to Canada.’ But doesn’t really count, does it.” Rhetorical question.

When Justin agreed to take me for a ride on his bike, I wanted to put him out as little as possible. He was doing a nice thing for this acquaintance at work, just so she could say she’d been on a Harley.

We hadn’t talked about the length of the outing. I envisioned a ten or fifteen minute ride around the blocks surrounding the administrative building. What is this tendency I have to aim so low? I was doing the exact thing I’d done in high school. Crossing the border so I could ‘say’ that I had.

Now here I was......again. A quick bike trip so I could ‘say’ I’d ridden on a Harley Davidson? Fortunately for me, I had stumbled upon someone’s passion. A short lap around a couple blocks? Where’s the fun in that?

With each New Thing, it’s my goal to gather a story, a lesson and a picture.

Friday: July 27, 2012

It had been years since I’d been on a motorcycle. 
“I’m a little nervous. Excited but nervous,” I said while we were strapping on our helmets. 
Justin said he’s always excited before he rides. And he’s been riding since he was a kid. Following his father’s love of bikes. And still it’s a rush for him. Every single time. 

The ride on the 2003 Harley Davidson Sportster Custom was so cool. There’s some poetic description for you. The coolest thing. Riding on the back of that bike, it was impossible for my thoughts to be anywhere but completely in the moment. There was no thinking about items I needed to add to a grocery list. Or that my skirt was flying behind me in the wind. It was intensely sensory.

The world sounds, smells, feels different when you’re moving 50, 60 miles an hour and not insulated by the protection and isolation of a car.

The rumble of the bike itself. There is nothing like the sound of a Harley. Turns my head.

The smell of a freshly mowed lawn, someone’s post season fireworks, the truck load of landscape bark in front of us.

The temperature of the air much cooler on one road than on another. Breathing is a different exercise when wind is hitting your face so hard. There were moments when the experience was so moving that it brought me to tears but the instant they spilled from my eyes they were gone with the rush of the wind.

My face hurt from smiling. It was amazing. It was. And I kept saying it. Yelling, over the rumble.

“This is amazing. Thank you so much.”

“What?” he yelled back over his shoulder.

“This is the coolest thing!!” 

I didn’t ask Justin how many times I failed to lean into the curve of a turn. He was too polite to correct me.

I lost all track of time. I got off the bike and couldn’t even guess how long we’d been out. And frankly I was quite disappointed to find myself walking again. Back on two feet. It was a letdown.

Turns out we’d been riding for over an hour!!  

The token of ‘Thanks!’ I handed Justin at the end was not enough. There’s a scene in Big Bang Theory, I’m reminded of. “Sheldon, what did you do?” “I know, it isn’t enough, is it?” I felt this.

He said I needn’t have given him anything and I believed him. He just loves riding. But I believe in gratitude as a spiritual practice. For me, it’s a sin to keep it inside.

After the ride, I couldn’t start writing about it soon enough. I grabbed the nearest note card, sat in my car in the parking lot making short-hand scribbly marks as fast as I could think. Two of the more important bullet points being: 
Are there leather chaps in my future? And  I didn’t eat a single bug.

I can do more than just ‘say’ I’ve ridden on a Harley. I can tell you all about it. There is a world of difference. This was a great lesson to learn on my first of the 50 New Things.


  1. Hey Barbie, this is an awesome first of 50 firsts. Justin seemed like the perfect Guide for the ride on a Harley. Passion makes everything brighter, more exhilarating... more red!

    Hold on tight!

    1. Thanks for your on-the-spot photography skills. Nice work, You!! (Although 'holding on tight' has never been a problem for me; it's the 'letting go' I'm working on.)

  2. Fantastic write-up of this first of 50, Barbie. I smiled, laughed and loved the photo and the beautiful images. I'm so glad you couldn't stop smiling!

    1. You are a big part of that smiling thing. Would be so much harder if I didn't have your support. Love, ~ B

  3. Some people think riding a motorcycle is tantamount to suicide, but I think it was a perfect choice. I rode with Justin once--in a deliver van...not quite so blog-worthy. Looking forward to your next post. Two suggestions for your 50: zip-lining, and Trike flying. Nothing makes you feel as alive as a daring do or death defying feat. Have fun!

    1. Trike Flying? I'm intrigued. Tell me more....~ B

  4. There is a place in Chelan and it is a little expensive, but if you subscribe to Groupon or Amazon Local you find it have off, (I've seen it listed twice on Amazon Local). I paid $59 for a half hour flight for my husband. Next time it will be my turn to fly. :)
    Check them out:
    Adventure Aviation Trike Flights

  5. I'll go Zip lining with you. I've never been either. NWTrek has a new zip line and I have a membership. :-)