Last summer I had a long week of being a real full time biker. Usually, I have to mix up biker fun with lawyer duties and Dad stuff and house chores, etc… The planets simply came into alignment on the biker side of my life and the week was just full of biker activities that just needed to get done. There were a couple of out of town meetings with biker clients and the weather cooperated so I leathered up both weekdays. On Thursday night the old Clermont lounge re opened and we biked down to see some old friends who were likewise riding there in the balmy Atlanta weather of that week. Friday morning was a court hearing for an injured biker client up in the “Mountain Judicial Circuit” so I motored up into the mountains on my old panhead and enjoyed the commute with my briefcase banded to the luggage rack and my tie fluttering behind me.
Neither my girl Mandy nor I had kid duty that weekend as both youngins were out of town at Grandparents and we took the usual Friday night dinner out on the old ’76 Bonneville, the bike that carried us on our first date. Consequently, that 1st date where I got a flat and the old bike stranded me at an abandoned gas station for 2 hours waiting on a fix. Separate story. The weather was just perfect and the weekend was made for 2 wheels, so 2 wheeling we went. After the chores of Saturday morning were done we climbed aboard the Road Glide and headed to the mountains. A BBQ lunch and some great curves consumed our day. We were invited by a motorcycle club to an annual party held at their clubhouse on the South Side of Atlanta. About an hour from my place up in the northern suburbs and several hours from our jaunt in the mountains. So we gassed up and headed south. We hunkered behind the windshield and made miles on the interstate. We probably never were more than 150 miles from home at any given point in the weekend but probably cleared 500 miles in our travels. The party at the clubhouse was a nice respite from all the miles. The band was great and the food was plentiful. We saw many old friends that we hadn’t seen in a while. We even danced like teenagers to 80’s southern rock. I think we smoked several cigars between us and while on the bike and not big drinkers, we fueled the whole think with energy drinks and coffee. Before you knew it I realized that we had said goodbye to most and were ‘that guest’, the last one to leave. I squinted at my watch and it was 3:00 am! We helped clean up and threw a leg over pointing the bike north. It was nice to motor through the city of Atlanta at 4:00 am with virtually no traffic, the city lights shining down, as we roared full speed though the concrete tunnels and underpasses. I recall finally getting sleepy once off the interstate and making my way through the farmland to my little homestead. I could feel Mandy rest her head on my back a clear sing of ‘enough is enough, lets go home’. We passed several deer roadside and slowed realizing it was the end of our day, but really the beginning of theirs. It was 5 hours into Sunday and there wasn’t much dark left.
We finally swept left into the driveway and rounded down the paved course of my front yard. Just as I’ve done a thousand times. I instinctually slow right hand “U-turned” in front of my barn to back the big Road Glide in. At 3 or 4 miles an hour I bobbled the turn and leaned too low. The weight of the big bike dipped and my right foot went down and slapped the ground perhaps overreacting to the shift in weight. Mandy was alarmed by the sudden shift in weight and sensed the bike leaning TOO right. A little sand on the driveway, a little too sharp in the turn, a little too tired… Mandy stuck her leg out to catch her fall but all was too late. The miscalculation ended the evening on a low note. The bike sank right in super slow motion and I failed to save it. At just about stopped, the bike tumbled down right in the driveway just about where I would have been putting the kickstand down. Instead, Mandy and I spilled to the concrete at about the speed of a slow walk. We were half laughing as it occurred so slowly. I was beat. There was no alcohol consumed to blame. There was no inexperience or new terrain to point to. I was simply tired. The bike lay on its side unharmed and still running. After checking my passenger, I clicked off the motor and righted the bike with Mandy’s help. The long biker weekend caught up with me. More ego bruise than injury, we shook our heads and made a pot of tea and watched the sun come up. We slowly drifted into exhaustion and lumbered down the hall of the house to the bedroom where we slept until the sun was noon high in the sky. When we awoke and make coffee Mandy offered eggs and bacon. “Should we ride the bike?” No, I said, lets take the truck down to Waffle house. Sometime too much of a good thing can catch up with you.
Remember, ride hard, ride safe, and in the end make sure you ride home. –Irish