By February 23, 2010

Ninja Wingman

It’s been an unseasonably snowy winter out here in Virginia. While there have been a few days colder than my riding comfort threshold (25°F ambient), there has been snow and/or ice on the ground for the majority of the month. When the snow melts there is sand on the streets, so that makes motorcycling a bit more challenging. When the conditions are right, I jump on the bike and make a run for it.

I don’t see many other riders this time of year, but as I entered the freeway on the trip home I saw a single bright headlight in my side mirror. I got up to freeway speed, and he followed respectfully close behind.

This guy had jeans on, armored gloves, a big puffy down jacket, full face helmet, and white sport-style protective boots. He was a total mish-mash of gear, and this may have been the first time he was ever out in the cold. His coat inflated like a giant black down-stuffed Death Star. He crouched down as low as he could so that his tiny ass sportbike windscreen would offer as much protection as possible. His beat-up, late 90s Ninja 500 smelled and sounded grossly out of tune.

As I made my way to the right-most lane, my wingman reminded me of one of the reasons we ride in the first place. Here he was, only partially protected, in somewhat cold riding conditions (especially given his loadout), and uncomfortable. He seemed nervous making his way through freeway traffic and followed behind me as I made gentle transitions between cars.

Despite all that, Ninja Wingman was out on the slab today. He knew that he didn’t have the right gear, or really the right bike, but he rode anyway. He could have left his bike and drove a nice comfy car wherever he was headed. Instead he loved riding so much that took his bike out instead.

So from within the comfortable, highly protective top-dollar gear and aboard my special purpose long distance sport commuter, I salute you. I salute you, Ninja Wingman, for reminding me that the joy of riding conquers mild discomfort and shaky confidence. Keep the shiny side up, buddy, and I hope to see you more often on the ride home.

Posted in: motorcycling

1 Comment on "Ninja Wingman"

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  1. Cap'n says: