Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reefton Spur

I have done two nice rides this week. Both half-days. On Sunday Fee and I went out on the bike. I did not take the camera, but we saw hot rods and a rockabilly band, Hells Angels, bulls fighting in a paddock, and winding quiet roads.

Yesterday I went riding with two friends, Marlon and James. We did a loop through the Black and Reefton Spurs. It was James' first time on the most famous and infamous motorcyling road in Australia - Reefton Spur. The Black Spur is wonderful, despite the fact we got stuck behind incompetent Sunday drivers.

Marlon and I have been discussing and improving our riding techniques of late, and through Reefton we kept up a fast pace, with him leading and me following James. We stayed together as a tight group. James' bike is small, under-powered in these conditions, with very poor suspension (making it hard to ride fast through corners on), and was running badly, back-firing constantly. Yet his fast lines through the corners were excellent and seemed effortless. I, on the other hand, was at times quite cautious. Going fast around blind corners worries me - is there a fallen tree? gravel? a truck? - and I had to constantly remind myself to relax and focus on riding well. It was as though I had a psychological brake on the whole time, which slowed me down and stiffened me up compared to James. I am sure he could beat me through these corners were we to race. Speaking to Marlon later, he felt the same as I. And yet he and I have much more riding experience than James, who is ten years my junior.  We also reflected on how we, ourselves, used to be as fast and effortless and fearless as James is, despite the fact we are now much more experienced and so, one would therefore assume, better riders. The difference is usually described as the younger having a foolish disregard for the dangers, and certainly the converse point - about an increasing sense of the risks with age - is true and was evident on this ride. But its something else, also. Something which is the kind of the same, and yet vitally different and positive. A person in their late teens / early twenties often has this fluid sense of limits, this unlimited feeling for extending their being which makes them capable of taking challenges with ease. A motorcycle seems the perfect tool or bodily extension for this free way of being, and it is beautiful to watch the easy gracefulness with which a young person moves with it.

We found an echidna along the way.

Above Marysville.

In Warburton; Marlon and James being mystical in a post-modern way.

Well (see below), James is mystical, while Marlon is post-modern (what with his duck-contemplation, opening up and questioning the space between, and perceptual access to, the intended object of his attention. Quack!).

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