The bike ride from Brattleboro (Vermont) to Portland (Maine). Although it was my second ride on the trip, I really count it as my first proper ride as the journey from New York to Brattleboro was a drudge trip. Why? The weather forecast and looming heavy grey clouds spelt rain so I decided to take the motorway for the three and a half hour journey in the hope of avoiding a soaking.
As any biker will tell you, taking the motorway is shockingly boring, goes against the whole purpose of having a two wheeled machine where the only plus is getting you there somewhat faster than taking a pleasure cruise. I nearly avoided the rain. In the final 20 minutes I was drenched in one of those heavy unrelenting showers where the cloud just followed me to the door. It took a full two days for my boots to dry out. Anyway, as the rain hammered down for the next 48 hours I used the time to write my NYC blog and do some additional preparation.
Even though this time was productive I can understand how people get cabin fever. Cooped up in a confined space for two days by myself, reading, writing and flicking between the rubbish on the more than 100 TV stations. The only respite was the fleeting visits to the nearby diner and town between showers. So as you can image I prayed that the promised blue skies would arrive so I could hit the road again. And so it did.
As I left the wood cabin in Vermont I set my SatNav to avoid motorways. Taking the 290 to Portland. Within 15 minutes I was smiling to myself again. Fantastic roads. Where I was cruising through dense forestry on undulating hills, leaning deeply left and right through bends, passing over rivers and lakes while recognising the names of small towns (it’s New England after all). And the next three or so hours just reiterated the feeling. That’s what motor biking is about. It was a pleasure journey. No, it was fun.
By the way, taking the secondary roads added no more than 30 minutes to the journey time. And then it got better. Family: please stop reading from here.
Maine is one of those States where it’s not compulsory to wear a helmet. Of course I know the risks and dangers involved but all bikers want to drive without a helmet for some trips. The only thing I can offer in defence is that the experience is comparable to practicing safe sex. You know you should do it but let’s be honest; it’s just not the same as going au naturel. Russian Roulette aside, for the past couple of days I’ve gone without polymer protection (sadly still referring to the bike theme) but only for short journeys. As if that’s any consolation.
An awesome feeling as I drove along the coast and through the town with the wind on my face while only wearing my Ray Bans; for cool effect and to keep the flies out of my eyes. At the risk of understating the experience I felt like Tom Cruise in that Top Gun scene as he bombed past the airfield on his Kawasaki. Did I say awesome already? Well, worth repeating.
28 August 2010.
PS. I will post a blog in a couple of weeks about why I like motorbikes and biking. If any bikers would like to send me their thoughts, experiences or anecdotes I’d be happy to blatantly plagiarism them as my own. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.