I walked out to the garage yesterday, opened the door and pulled out the grill. I turned on the gas and heard the click of the electric starter followed by the low “Whoosh” of the gas igniting. As I gently lowered the lid and allowed the interior to warm my eyes gazed throughout the garage. I was not looking for anything in particular but they fell upon my Vespa. I returned to the house to collect hot dogs and when I saw my wife I declared I was “going for a ride after dinner.”
I dropped the scooter from its stand and wheeled it outside. After propping it back on its stand I inserted the key, turned the ignition, flipped the ignition switch, pulled in the rear brake lever and fired her up. She caught immediately. I let her run for a few minutes before returning to the hot dogs which my wife reminded me were burning. I returned to the bike where I perched myself for the remainder of my time outside.
When we finished dinner i retreated to the basement and exchanged my clothing for what would be warmer during a ride in these freezing temperatures.
I dressed, went outside and sat on my bike. I lowered it from the kickstand and went through the starting ritual once more. I reached up and grabbed the lower portion of my full-face helmet and pulled it into place. I heard it click closed and with a gentle twist of the throttle was rolling down the driveway.
As I accelerated down the street I reached for the vents on my helmet, closing them so as to discourage the entrance of the freezing air. I gently nudged the bike from intersection through intersection and decided to hear toward the Niagara River. this is a ride which I particularly enjoy, especially during the warmer summer months. My legs briefly reminded me of the temperatures outside as did my neck. My upper body, hands and feet remained warm.
Riding a Vespa is a simple joy; one that I found late in life. I had not had a motorcycle since I was old enough to drive. Riding has allowed me to explore the notion of a simple life, at least for those moments when I am traveling down the road and it unfurls in front of me like a ribbon coming from a spool. The only decisions which I need to make are those which keep me safely traveling this road. I am unable to use my phone, the noise of the road as it rushes beneath me my only companion.
As I made my way through the darkened park, I gave thanks for this brief period of solitude; the only acknowledgement was the smile which crossed my face. This weekend was not particularly kind to me. I struggled to focus and felt like a top which has begun to lose its momentum and has begun to wobble. Stress has been knocking at my door and I foolishly responded by opening it.
This ride, this respite has allowed me to close that door and regain my sense of self.