2016: Day one, ride one of a new year

ride to Pickerington Ponds

No ice here. Funny how much better 35 degrees and sunny feels compared to 40 degrees and gray and damp.

With the sun shining and temperatures around 35 degrees, there was nothing to stop me from starting off the year with a motorcycle ride on Jan. 1, what many people in these climes call a polar bear ride. Thanks to El Niño and one of the strongest freak storms on record, the North Pole was the same temperature as Chicago this week, so even the real polar bears didn’t face serious winter weather.

I took the camera and the Versys for a short ride to a nearby nature preserve. While I was fiddling around with the camera, a man and his wife in a car arrived. He walked over to strike up a conversation.

Turns out Mike is a BMW rider, and we ended up talking for quite a while about his bike, mine, favored roads and the usual topics of conversation that arise when two riders happen to pull off the road at the same spot and time.

Through circumstance and, to be honest, choice, I spend most of my riding time alone. For some people, motorcycling is appealing mainly because it is a social activity, and they probably can’t imagine the appeal of the riding I do. My work, though, not only gives me more than an average amount of opportunities to talk about motorcycles, it actually requires it. So foregoing the social aspect of riding is not really a hardship for me.

Still, I always find myself cheered up by those chance encounters with strangers who instantly have plenty to talk about with me, just because we’re both part of that minority that rides. Like my habit of taking a polar bear ride the first day of each new year, whenever possible, it’s a small positive that forces its way into my awareness, and I’m a person who’s all too quick to spot the negatives.

All in all, a good way to start the year.

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