From the Blog

Winging it

Some days you do just have to “wing it”. It’s been a pretty rugged time in the Hall household of late. My wife continues to struggle with the effects of Graves Disease while she waits for thyroid surgery at the end of the month. As her immune system is down because of all the drugs, etc, she has caught a really bad coughing bug that has been going around and it has laid her even lower. Living in the same house has made it likely that I will become a victim as well and so it turned out to be. So it hasn’t all been gun and fames. Getting out for  a ride has been the furthest thing from my mind so it was a very pleasant surprise when Sunday dawned clear and sunny with the prospect of relatively warm Autumn weather.

I should backtrack just a little, however. Last weekend was a very auspicious one for us for an altogether different reason. Saturday 12th was our 45th wedding anniversary and though we weren’t really in the mood or the condition to celebrate, we did mark the occasion AND the Mothers Day that followed on the next day at home. I don’t know what the percentage is of couples who get to this significant milestone but I’m guessing it would be fairly small so we feel pretty grateful to have done so.

Like any couple it hasn’t always been easy but we grew up in a time where, if something was broken, you didn’t throw it away, you tried to fix it and we have had a much larger proportion of good times compared to the bad ones. I’d never have made it to here without Helena and the thought of life without her has always been too awful to even consider. So Saturday was a very special day.

Sunday, as noted, was Mothers Day but we’re going to keep our dual celebrations to when we both feel on top of things and then we’re going to whoop it up!

After a delightful brunch with our wonderful daughter, Helena said, “Why don’t you go for a ride?” I’d never have suggested that, but I certainly wasn’t going to knock back the offer either. I knew the roads would be wet and covered with leaf litter and debris from the previous night’s wild winds but, hey, a ride is a ride.

As it turned out it was a great afternoon. I rode up Mac Pass to the Pie Shop (I didn’t stop as I knew that there would be no bikes there) and turned left and headed down Jamberoo road to the mountain pass. The roads were deserted, a combination, I guessed, of poor weather and Mothers Day commitments, so I had it all to myself. I stopped at he lookout just before the top of the mountain where I took the above shot. A great combination of dark clouds and sunny patches on the countryside below.

As I expected, Jamberoo Mountain pass was wet and covered with leaf litter and bark blown off the trees, but it WAS deserted so I was able to easily negotiate the downhill run and enjoy it. Turning right I headed towards the township intending to finish the ride with a loop to Kiama and back before heading home. There were NO bikes parked at Jamberoo Pub, yes, you read it right NO BIKES!! so I headed east with the prospect of a clear run through the twisties between there and Kiama. Fat chance. The sky, which had been leaden and threatening since before I left home, suddenly got even darker and I noticed that the few cars coming towards me had their wipers on!

I did a quick u turn and headed back to town ahead of the showers which hit just as I got to the oval. I pulled in, parked the bike up in shelter and waited till they passed.

Pass they did so I decided not to push my luck and I headed home. Not much distance covered and it didn’t take long but it was a great afternoon out in the saddle.

As I was riding home I thought that my little jaunt was at once enjoyable and instructive. Because, you see, sometimes you just have to wing it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you PLAN a ride, it can’t be as enjoyable as the day you say to yourself, just on the spur of the moment, “Hey, I’m going for a ride.”

I was reminded of a guy I met outside my local bike shop some years ago. It was before my accident. I was planning to do an around Australia ride and I mentioned this to him as we stood outside. “Do it,” he said, “I’ve done it 3 times and I loved it every time.” When I questioned him for more detail he told me that, of the 3 times that he had ridden around Australia, the first time was the most enjoyable. I was a little surprised at that but, as he explained, I came to see why.

“I’d been having a bad time at work. The boss was being unreasonable and, on a Friday afternoon after work, I just cracked. I’m not going to take this any more, I’m off.” So, he put on his riding gear, put his licence and his credit card in his pocket, hopped on his GSX-R1000 and rode around Australia. It took him 3 weeks. No packing, no luggage no preparation. When his clothes got too dirty, he ditched them and bought some more. He stayed in country pubs and when none were available he slept under the stars. “It took three weeks and I came back with a whole new attitude on life,” he said, “The job was still the same and the boss was still the same but, somehow, it just didn’t bother me any more.” I was, and still am, awed at his audacity and the thought process behind it. I’m not saying I’d do it, but I admired him like you wouldn’t believe.

Because, in riding, and in life, sometimes you just have to wing it. Sometimes all the preparation and planning in the world won’t bring as much satisfaction as if you have the thought and go ahead and execute it without thinking too much about the consequences.

There is a great deal to be said for winging it.