Taking A Minute

I dropped my bike in Bighorn National Forest.

It wasn’t a big deal. My GPS mount fell of when going around a curve so I turned around to retrieve it. I saw where it had landed, but I had to keep riding and turn around again because it was on a steep curve. On the second pass of the runaway piece of plastic I stopped to pick it up. Though, being the curvy narrow roads of Bighorn National Forest, what I actually ended up doing was getting my tire caught off the edge of the busted up shoulder. To avoid running into the steep and narrow ditch – a home to many loose stones and rocks – I purposely layed Little Wing down.

I did this the day before too. Two nights before was my first time camping since I set out on the trip. I was tired and so I just parked with out much fore thought. I parked in a valley. Pointed down. Getting out of the valley was a pain, to say it nicely. The next morning I spent an hour maneuvering Little Wing out of the gravity trap.

Just so we all know, motorcycles don’t have reverse. Motorcycles also don’t have four wheel drive. At least not the small dinky 650’s like I got. 300 lbs, plus gear, going up a muddy incline, that ain’t easy. An hour I spent. Stalling. Driving. Inching.

I also dropped, and picked up, Little Wing four times. My arms were sore before 7:30 rolled around.

My back is sore still.  So when I looked at Little Wing, tipped over on an incline in Bighorn National Forest, leaking a good puddle of gasoline on the crumbled tar, all I could do was groan. I tried lifting the bike, ignoring my complaining back and the gasoline soaking into my Wranglers, but the first try didn’t do it.

As I stood there, contemplating trajectory, a mini-van pulled over. A middleaged woman stepped out and asked if I needed help.

I am not the type to ask for help. I don’t like asking people, I don’t like them asking me. However that is one of those annoying little traits about myself that I am trying to work on. So I said yes.

She asked “What can I do?”

I asked her to stabelize the front tire while I lifted. She did and we got Little Wing off the ground, with my back only giving a little shudder in response.

She told me she had seen me pulling out of the gas station in Buffalo and I realized she did look familiar. As we were standing there another van pulled over and a man got out to ask if I was alright. It was at that point that I realized what it looked like. It looked like a small girl on a big bike who had an accident.

What a scary thought.

After I assured them I was fine, and it was just my newby incompetence rearing its ugly head, they got back into there own seperate vehicles and took off, leaving me to gather my bearings and ponder as I got back on Little Wing.

I dropped my bike in Bighorn National Forest.

When I say it or read it that way it sounds maybe scary.

It’s not.

Well, I don’t know, maybe. I find it exhilarating. In the most beautiful parts of the country I am managing to drop AND pick up my bike. I am making my way as an independent adult making dumb AND wise decisions, on my own. I have no one directing me from the passenger seat. I am figuring it out on my own, and with the kindness of people I’m meeting along the way.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t been an adult for a while. I mean I have been deciding things for myself for years. The difference then was that I was always near someone who could help me out. Someone to vent to and discuss the things that frustrated me, like dropping my bike perhaps. Now it is just me. I have to figure out how to independently work out my own frustrations so that I can get back on and not drop Little Wing again.

The thing about riding (well just like driving, except with fewer tires to rely on) is you have to be in the right mindset.

People who have rode will tell new riders “always look where you want to go.”

If you are going around a curve pick a spot out way ahead and let your eyes move forward at the same rate as the bike. Looking down beside you while riding will put you on the ground. Looking ahead at the road keeps you aware and in a straight line. It is the same with the attitude you take on the bike.

If you focus on the frustrations in your head you will fall into them. You will end up being more frustrated by the end of the ride, whether literally or just figuratively. The way to have a positive ride is to take the time to breath deep.

Take a look around.

Notice the beauty around you.

Appreciate that you can inhale and exhale from the beautiful environment you are riding in.

Allow gratitude to seep through you for the fact that your bike still runs.

And then, only then, turn the key and press the start button.

That’s how you end up with a great day of riding. That’s how you end up with a great five minutes of riding. Riding should always be done while breathing. For me it can feel like a yoga practice. All the moving and breathing, it is as relaxing as a yoga session if done right. The key is to focus. Focus on where you want to go.

I dropped my bike in Bighorn National Forest.

And

I picked up my bike in Bighorn National Forest. I rode all the way through Bighorn National Forest, and now here I am. About to ride through Yellowstone National Forest.

It is gorgeous outside. Warm with very few clouds. I can see the mountains, which appear to be welcoming me. I am thankful for that.

Focus.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Turn the key.

Time to Fly on Little Wing.

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10 thoughts on “Taking A Minute

  1. The Bighorn’s are beautiful! So happy you had a great trip through the Black Hills too. You will pick that bike up many more times before the end of this trip. Learning something each time. 🙂 Continue taking care of yourself!

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  2. To pick up your bike the easiest way, (it still isn’t easy) is to back up to your bike. Now crouch down with your legs out away from the bike, grab a secure hand hold now lifting a little with your arms but mainly using your legs walk the bike up. If your bike was laying on the right side be sure to set your kick stand down , that way you can walk the bike over and onto the stand. If it’s on the left be careful to not over lift and lose it by going over the top and landing it on the other side.
    I enjoy your blog ride safe and enjoy the ride. Try to save the finger for pointing up at the sky and saying thanks for the abundance!!
    There is a nice back dirt road from Anaconda across to 84 south of Missoula. The Lolo PAss road is awesome. If you’ve got the legs climb the “M” in Missoula; check out the merry go round downtown. Maybe you can grab the brass ring, I have!!

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    • Thank you Larry. Advice like that is always welcome. I actually had to do that this very last time I dropped it, my back thanked me.

      That road near Missoula, I will have to try it, thank you. Sounds wonderful.

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