was the best day of all. The riding so far had been great fun, and I had at last tasted the savour of riding with a pack. Just like riding in traffic really. Except there is an awareness that everyone around you has a common purpose like salmon heading upstream. Alone, together, separate, supportive, sharing, competing. You feel like an independent part of something.
Today the run was over, time to break up the fellowship. From quite early in the morning riders began leaving in dribs and drabs. ones, twos trios and groups, heading in all directions.
A lot of effort had gone into tidying up the clubrooms and collecting the rubbish around the course. They did a fantastic job. I heard the caretaker was really happy with the way the grounds were left. He was even happier when he saw the donation the group made. They were pretty keen to make a good impression and be sure to have somewhere to come to next year, in case Windy Harbour remained out of bounds.
I heard that we had raised over $6,000.00 on the weekend, for the chosen charity, which was Leukaemia. That was even after we gave a whopping grand to the caretaker of the golf club – an increase on the previously agreed donation because of the young fekwit who did a grassy “burnout” across the ninth just as everyone was preparing to go. He was given a severe bollocking by some of the senior riders, and I heard one of the leaders of the club to which he belonged saying that he would be out next meeting as he had a history of such stupid behaviour. I don’t know if he was one of the hoons who ripped up the main road of Northcliffe the day before.
As Roy and I were leaving, having successfully negotiated the sand again, we came upon him at the gate sitting on his bike and looking dejected. Roy asked him if he was ok, to which his reply was simply a nod, then after a second or so, the digitus impudicus. I do believe he is very lucky that Roy was already riding away, and did not see that.
We were going home but on the way we would explore some new roads. New, at least for me. Roy said he had not ridden this particular road for years. We took the Wheatley Coast Road up through the Warren and Tone State forests, crossing straight over the South-Western Highway and carrying on through the forest past Quininnup to Muirs Highway west of Nyamup.
What a honey of a road! It undulated curvaceously as we rode through the sensuously herbal eucalypt scented air, which was considerably cooler today thanks to an overcast sky and a little drizzling rain. Not enough to require wet weather gear, but just enough to both refresh us, and remind us that the roads had been dry for a long time, and were now a little slick. Nothing good tyres could not handle. Roy has Metzlers too. He swears by them in the wet.
We were joined and left by other travellers who caught up with us, or up with whom we caught, and who shared our path for a time until one intersection or another called them away. Even in these smaller groups, one still got that now somewhat fading sense of being on a ride, and of being part of something still a little greater than the total sum of its parts. And that, I decided, was what the fun in group rides was probably all about. Even so I was happy enough trailing Roy, who with his 145 cu inch motor was mostly just idling along in front. My 80 cu inches (1304cc) kept up. She goes, and as long as Roy was just riding I had no trouble keeping him in sight. Except when some impudent rider passed at a challenging speed, and Roy felt the urge to “reel him in”. Something easily done, with the horsepower he had at his disposal, except -I noticed – on the sharper curves. Those that had an advisory of 80 or less. Even my bike handled those curves better than Roy’s, though I still scrape the plates occasionally. I could lean much further on the Honda and other previous rides. I still have to get the new lean angles of the larger cruiser encoded into my autonomous nervous system.
After the last chase I finally caught up with Roy at Rocky Gully. He was chatting with some other riders who had also stopped for a break. One of them was the last rider Roy had “reeled in”. They were gruffly conceding that one had the greater speed and the other the better handling.
I was now back on familiar roads once more. Next stop Mt Barker for fuel and a soft drink, and on up past Cranbrook to home. We parted from the last of the co-riders at the Cranbrook turnoff and from then it was just Roy and me, riding home in what would have been companionable (comparitive) silence were it not for the fact that his exhaust sounds just like what it is; the noisy, barely baffled outlet for a whole lot of energy. Classic Harley.
My girl just purrs.