Wow. What a fantastic, full, busy day.
Wake up, same time as yesterday. No good reason. Read email, chat, make a couple eggs for breakfast.
Aikido. Receive a very, very thorough thrashing, partly at the instructor's direction (there were four of us brown belts in class), and partly from my friend Bob, who pushed me to the limit of the falls I can take. Which are substantial at this point, and not a pace I can sustain, but I'm quite flattered when he says, after one wild throw, "You have such willing ukemi, it just brings it out in me." Relaxation, pliability and lightness are what I'm going for. Class is followed by cleaning the dojo and brunch.
Failed nap attempt, followed by showering and screwing around.
Finally leave to go riding. This involves exchanging my helmet yet again, which saga you can read about in detail. For reference, the initial helmet was $350, and the final helmet was $380. Comfortable protection costs money.
I rode around for a while, out Mountain Home Road in Woodside to Portola Road to Alpine Road, a chill ride with a couple of moderate curves to practice on. I considered taking Arastradero Road, which is a little more curvy, but I came up short on one or two turns, reminding me not to try anything too brave yet.
On Friday, Saturday and today, I've had a terrific sequence of thoughts the first time I get on the bike each day. I swing my leg over, roll out to my starting point (I try not to start up inside the carport), check all my gear, and then think "Okay, gotta fasten the seat belt--oh. There isn't one." Seat belts are drilled into my psyche: when I was little, Dad often wouldn't start the car unless everyone was buckled in. And this is a motor vehicle, so I automatically think it must have seat belts. "I can't go on the highway like this. That'd be insane!" Except it's not insane, it's a set of risks, most of which are manageable, with care. The seat-belt reaction sobers me up before I ride, reminding me how vulnerable I am, of the risks I have to manage, that I have to pay attention, and adding that extra little edge that's part of the fun.
That's really the reason to ride. It's fun. Almost indescribable fun. That's why you see motorcylists going fast, or doing wheelies or whichever else (what the community affectionately calls "hooliganism"). That's why people lose control and ride outside their limits and get hurt. It's fun. After watching Kelly ride for 2500 miles, I now understand (a) all the weird-looking stuff she used to do that made it take so long to get moving when we stopped, and (b) the goofy grin she gets after a ride or when talking about a ride. I have the same grin. Riding is all speed (and 35mph still feels plenty fast to me) and awareness and working in concert with this powerful machine that operates directly according to what you do with your body, like it's an extension of your body. Which, as it happens, is how we train with weapons in aikido.
Kepler's Books to buy copies of Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, then cappucino at Cafe Borrone, then to Greg & Karen's place for Greasy Tacos--apparently an old family recipe. Drink more coffee.
Regretting coffee, stay up writing a journal entry babbling about motorcycling.
But man, what a fantastic day.