Riding Solo | Megaphone

I don’t know if there’s anything to the Gaia theory—that the world is one living organism with a conscience. But I do know this: The day I rode my Honda VFR home for the first time, the weeds in my garden were doing high-fives. I’m not saying I’ve neglected _everything _since getting my long-awaited bike, but I’m pretty sure my motorcycle has a lot more hours on it than my lawnmower.

Everyone knows that Seattle has a pre-ponderance of rainy, gray days. All true, but the last couple of years have put sunny days at a premium. When the sun finally shines, all those outside chores and activities are vying for your attention. When the sun shines, I have to fight off the urge to jump on my bike and ride off over the mountain. Here is the scenario: It’s a long-awaited sunny day; I open up the garage and side doors, go outside, ignore (try to) the motorcycle in the garage, plop down in the garden and begin thinning my plants. Do you know how tiny onions are when they first come up? I’m thinking about how nice a day it is, how nice it is to be in my garden. I carefully pull out some more onions and weeds. I’m thinking it’s a very nice day... to be riding. Oh hell, it’s futile, I give up. I can get a 50-lb. bag of onions at Costco whenever I want. I’m going riding!

I love to plan rides with other people. My son and I looped around the Olympic Peninsula a few days after we got our bikes. Later, we took a two-week trip to Telluride, Colorado. I charted out the twistiest, most scenic roads and used Pub Crawler to find the best brew pubs and hotels. My brother got a BMW a year after I got my VFR, so now I have another riding partner. We promptly rode over Manning Park Pass in British Columbia and later took a week-long trip up to Jasper and Banff, perhaps the prettiest ride in the world! We caught a ferry and wound our way through the remarkable West Kootenays. I've ridden to California, Crater Lake and Tofinio on Vancouver Island. I even rode to Fort St. James, BC, once for a wedding. I hooked up with some Canadian friends from the VFR owners' forum (_www.vfrdiscussion.com_) last year in Orofino, Idaho. We ate steak that night and rode Lolo Pass the next day. We took three days to arrive at the National VFRD Rally in Dillon, Colorado, where we hooked up with yet more friends and rode through the Rocky Mountains. Riding cross-country with good friends was one of the greatest thrills of my life. But it wasn't until we all said our goodbyes that I really got into my riding nirvana. You see, I've developed a taste for riding solo. I get pretty excited about planning trips, and when others drop out for whatever reason, I just stick with the plan. As I see it, a person has two choices: Abort the trip or go it alone.

That’s a no-brainer.

Chock it up to independence or maybe even selfishness, but riding solo is an absolute gas. You choose the route, the pace, the destination. There are no Decisions by Committee. No waiting for slackers. No looking for lost riders. No being funneled into fast-food restaurants. You can stop to take as many photos as you like. You stop when and where you want and can camp out or grab a hotel as you desire. Besides, you’re never _truly _alone: Cell phones make it easy to keep in touch with your loved ones and you always have your bike.

And if, by chance, you ever get tired of riding, there are always those onions back home.

Our studies show that spending one sunny day alone on your motorcycle riding twisty mountain roads does more for the soul than mowing the lawn every Saturday morning for a decade.