I had a dream last night that I was riding again. I didn’t recognize the road, and I don’t recall who I was riding with, but in the strange way of dreams it all felt very familiar. I’m not sure why we dream, or how much meaning we should attach to dreams, but I almost never remember my dreams and so I always feel fortunate when I do. Of course, it could have been the Christmas cookies I ate before going to bed, or it may have been the evening spent at MotoVida talking bikes and watching “Why We Ride.” Whether you ride or not, if you’ve never seen this film you should (and you’ll want to start riding) and if you have seen it already-it’s probably time you watched it again.
I didn’t realize how much I missed riding until I spent an evening around bikes and people who love riding. The hours pass swiftly when you are remembering old rides and planning new ones. The Radian is in the shop now, and, apparently she started fine in there, which only reinforces my belief that she’s mad at me. Nevertheless, seeing her stripped down on the hoist looking forlorn and vulnerable, I came to the conclusion that I can’t get another bike just yet. I think the Radian and I have got some more miles to travel together before our stars lead us down different roads. In fact, I was so full of this conviction that when I got home much later that night I announced my intentions to keep the Radian and proceeded to outline the details of my plan. In hindsight, Lindsay probably didn’t need that information until at least breakfast. Or March.
Nevertheless, the weather has been so mild lately that I can’t help but think about riding and I’m counting the days until riding season really starts again. I’ve seen a few bikes rolling around town and I find myself both envious and inspired in equal measures. And, if you follow MotoVida on Facebook at all, you’ll have seen James strapping on a helmet and going for a Friday afternoon ride on the Enfield. Well played, sir. Well played.
Of course, even when the weather is cold and the ground is frozen and the streets are full of snow my mind still wanders to motorcycles and riding. In fact, when I was walking with my son up the hill to his preschool near the university, we were looking across the valley at the freshly fallen snow over all the hills. It was a rare Kelowna winter morning that was pleasantly crisp with the sunshine scattering the clouds and drenching the world in colour and light. My son pointed across the valley and asked, “Daddy, is that heaven?”
I certainly can’t claim any special knowledge in the afterlife department, but I think that perhaps there are some moments in which a gentle glimpse or faint whisper floats through the thin veil that separates this world from one that might be. For me, this moment wasn’t just about the sunlight, or the clear mid-winter’s day (although those are worthy in themselves); but looking across the valley I could see the smooth lines of the road running through the snow. More importantly, those are the roads where I spent so much time learning to ride this summer. In that moment I remembered the enchanting solitude of rolling through the lonely hills, or leaning into my first proper corners with a growing confidence, or looking down a long straight while twisting the throttle and wondering just how fast the Radian could go.
Is that heaven?
I answered my son as truthfully as I could: it just might be. Indeed, if there is a heaven, perhaps it starts here, in a luminous moment where our bright memories meet our deep hopes. Perhaps it grows from this place, this present moment, this magical intersection of past and future where our dreams meet our reality.
I’ve said before that riding is like a religion and I’m coming to believe that if there is a heaven, you can probably get there on a motorcycle.