The First Ride of the Year

TN2My first ride of the year was to work today, Jan. 1, and wasn’t a big deal, since we live around five miles away. But the temperature was in the low 50s and it seemed a shame to leave the bike at home.

So I wheeled Terra Nova out front, suited up, shooed Lexi off the saddle, bungeed the laptop case on the back, and took off. I used the time on the road to get reacquainted with the bike and tried to figure out how many days it’s been since I last rode.

First rides of the year. You read about them all the time in motorcycle magazines. Most of them are mini-epics, conducted in the chill of winter, long stretches of roads under snow, tires cutting bands of gray across white.


I can ride on snowy roads as long as the pavement isn’t icy or the snow too deep. But I remember one ride in snow in late December 1995, in Reno, Nevada. I had taken Discovery to work early in the day in good weather and left after dark.

By then it wasn’t particularly cold, but it was snowing, and I hadn’t expected it. It was one of those heavy, wet-flake snowfalls, the stuff that piles up fast, and I rode the bike slowly through snow two or three inches thick. My heart was in my mouth the whole time.

Getting back to the apartment wasn’t too difficult, but getting into the apartment complex was. Snow had piled up in the entryway and I had a devil of a time getting Discovery through it. The tires just couldn’t find a grip. I struggled getting it up the drive and finally succeeded, watched the whole time by a guard who never left his warm guardhouse to offer me a hand.

First rides of the year. Portents, we hope, of better days ahead.

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