Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Much Needed Mental Health Ride

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who used to ride a lot, but doesn't anymore. He has a very fine old BMW  motorcycle (1970's vintage) just sitting in his garage gathering dust. I've coveted that bike a bit, but it would be a "project".

At any rate, he asked me if I had been riding much. He knew I hadn't ridden much for a year or so after my heart problems developed last year. I said I had been riding some, but not much, and not near as much as I would like to, but...

We've been really friggin' busy lately, both at work and at home. I hadn't even been commuting on Max to work very often. Last week the weather didn't cooperate on some days, but there were other days I just needed the car for one reason or another.

But the point is, I needed to ride. Bad! And today was the day. Ne need for the car. No big appointments with clients. Hell. I might even take the afternoon off! And go for a ride! No fixed destination! Just Ride! Go ahead and burn some gasoline!

I tell friends that riding is a form of mental therapy for me. It renews me. It makes me forget about problems. It is hugely meaningful to me. And when I don't get enough of it, well, things just sometimes don't go right. I get cranky! Bitchy! I throw things! I curse!

But when I turn the key and hear that engine come to life, well, you know, you get a little smile on your face, and you start thinking about more fun things. Things like just noticing the weather a little bit. 47 degrees this morning. Thought about switching to a heavier glove, but just thought about it and didn't pull the heavier ones out from storage. (Now just where did I put them?).

The vents were still open on my helmet. At 40 mph the breeze on portions of my chin and head were noticeably "cool". The denim jacket was plenty warm, no problem there. Feet and hands just fine. But I really like riding in this kind of temperature. It is just cool enough to be invigorating and keep you awake. But you don't sweat.

But best of all....
I didn't think about the tasks that awaited me at work,
I didn't think about the do it yourself projects we have going on at the house,
I didn't think about changes in tax laws,
I didn't think about the problems with my heart, (even though I'm doing much better, physically),
I didn't think about the upcoming elections (One of those silly dudes is going to win, unfortunately!?),
I didn't think about global warming (One of my neighbors thinks it is some sort of commie plot),
I didn't think about the fact that my neighbor is a moron (Okay, maybe I did),

I just rode!
And I watched the traffic!
And I followed a dude on a Vespa for a mile or so!
And I pulled up to a stoplight next to another dude on a Harley (Did his motor have to be so friggin' loud),
And I had to make a rather quick stop at another light when it turned yellow on me rather abruptly,
And I had to keep an eye on what was behind me when I made that quick stop,
And I heard some birds,
And I noticed some kids on a school bus,
And I noticed the sunlight reflecting on some of the downtown buildings,
And I noticed a building being remodeled and wondered what the new purpose of the building was,

You get the drift!

And you know what else?

There'll be more mental health benefits this afternoon!

Ride On, and Carpe Diem, my friends!


  1. I have been known to get surly when I can't ride.

  2. Keith, I can't imagine you "surly", but if you say so.
    One of these days we must figure out a way to go riding together.


  3. Nice post which clearly shows the value of riding. I am getting towards the non-riding portion of the year and I'm already feeling the negative effects.

  4. Richard,
    It must be a little hard to live in that area where you can't ride year round. Here in Kansas, we run into some times in the winter where we may not be able to ride for a few weeks, but it's usually temporary. For me, it's not necessarily the temperature, I can usually ride when it is even in the teens (farenheit). It's the icy or snowy streets that will certainly stop me, but here that scenario doesn't usually last for more than a week, maybe just a few days.
    Even if cold out, I still like to get my "fix".

  5. I can surely relate to your post!

    I feel the same way and dread winter coming on...

  6. Hey Deb,
    Thanks for stoppin' by and I'm going to add you to my blog list. I personally don't dread winter too much as I try to ride year round best I can. Just hoping my fingers don't get too cold.
    Take Care,