Tricounty News

Born to be Mild

I hadn't ridden a motorcycle for years until last week, on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon (in fact, one of the only real summer days we have had here in the North Country thus far), my friend Todd suggested we go for a quick ride before supper.

I had forgotten how incredibly exhilarating the experience of sitting atop two wheels and feeling the warm sun, smelling the scent of newly-budding trees and the wafting aroma of the lake water was.

Riding a bike on a lonely stretch of winding road is the closest thing to flying without leaving the ground. Although one has to keep alert for deer that seem completely oblivious to any passing motorist, you also have lots of time to think. Those who ride are very aware that motorcycling is like taking a vacation where all of your cares, concerns and troubles can seem to disappear with each passing mile.

As I followed my friend through the countryside of rolling hills, oak groves and countless lakes, several things occurred to me. The first is that a helmet is always a good idea, because although I would have liked to feel the wind on my face (and in what remains of my hair), the several suicidal June bugs who collided with my face shield would have likely caused a concussion had they actually made contact with my kisser.

Second, an experienced rider would have the good sense to wear pants ... not slacks. After our brief 45-minute ride, I now realize why I rarely see guys in business suits atop a motorcycle. Those same Al-Qaeda June bugs that vainly attempted to unseat me by pummeling my helmet also targeted my knees nearly shattering each of my kneecaps. Also, wool slacks do not fare well against the heat of exhaust pipes. Oh well, those trousers needed replacing anyway.

Third, birds like to mess with motorcyclist's heads. Several times I had to resist the urge to swerve as a feathered projectile flew within inches of the bike. While cruising at 60, even the smallest bird will look enormous!

Now that I am back in the proverbial saddle, there are some things I feel I must do to prepare myself for the next ride ... like get a really cool leather jacket because people laugh at guys on motorcycles wearing tweed sport coats. I should also get a real pair of boots - perhaps with flaming eagles embossed into the leather - because even small children snicker when they witness the spectacle of a loafer-wearing biker.

I can't wait to get back on that sleek, highly-tuned hog (well, it was a 750cc, so it was more of a piglet really), feel the sun on my back, the June bugs on my face shield and the open road beneath my loafer-shod feet.

Copyright 2009, N.M. Fredrickson, All Rights Reserved.

Nate's new illustrated children's book, "Rachael Buttercup, No Bigger Than a Daisy Flower," is available in stores and at