2009-06-19 / Columnists

On The Road Again

An Empty Backseat
Commentary By Ed 'Shevy' Shevlin

Ed 'Shevy' Shevlin Ed 'Shevy' Shevlin There was no argument, no cursing or insults, no anger whatsoever, but there was sadness at the end of our relationship. The woman who I had been dating for the last six months called an end to our relationship just a short while ago.

I am still absorbing the impact of this reality, its meaning is weighing upon heavily on my person. Her name is Jill and she is beautiful, intelligent and altogether a great catch for someone, just not for me. The fact is that she beat me to it. It had become obvious to me that we were not destined for a future together, there were just too many areas in which we differed.

It was the most civilized break-up that I have ever been a part of. I would liken it to ripping off a band-aid, do it quickly and the pain is sharp but of short duration, do it slowly and the pain will linger longer. As two reasonably intelligent people we both loathe drama so a protracted, drawn out break-up was never in the cards, it is done.

Her actions in initiating our split were precipitated by the fact that we were about to embark on one of my favorite motorcycle adventures together, the Americade Rally in Lake George. Known as the world's largest touring rally, Americade regularly plays host to more than 50,000 bikers over the course of a week beginning on the first of June and ending on the 7.

Jill's timing could not have been better, because as any biker knows once you throw your leg over that iron horse and blast out onto the highway all of your troubles are left behind you in a cloud of dust. As the distance between you and the source of your setback increases the importance of your problems decreases and at least for a while they seem non-existent. The 240 mile ride up to Lake George is always a gas; it is long enough to make you feel as though you have accomplished something and short enough to complete with only one gas stop. Motorcycle riding is therapeutic, as the old saying goes . . ."you will never see a motorcycle parked in front of a psychiatrist's office." Bearing in mind the truth of that old adage tomorrow morning I am going to engage in some good old fashioned motorcycle therapy, albeit with an empty back seat.

The Next Day: The traffic loosened up just past the two Yankee Stadiums and I was able to settle in to a nice easy gait on my northbound escape. With 103 ft. pounds of torque and 90 horsepower at my disposal it is impossible to feel sorry for myself.

The highway is mine and the big Harley is mine to command. As I peer ahead into the distance I notice that the road is blocked by a phalanx of cagers (car drivers), the passing lane is being used as the slow lane by a telephonically impaired idiot and the traffic is really getting backed up. Finally, he moves to the right and things begin to move again.

In an effort to make up for lost time I run 5th gear up to 5,000 rpm's and shift into 6th which propels me up to 90 miles per hour in the blink of an eye. It feels good but it is also a surefire way to get banged with a ticket so I resume a more leisurely pace of 74 mph. As I continue my northward trek I find myself alone on the thruway. Passing exit 22 near Selkirk the road seems to offer itself to me.

My bike is running flawlessly, the declining light is easy on my vision and the throttle in my right hand enjoys being stroked, so I oblige. Twisting my right hand downward I watch the speedometer needle climb upward. A downhill slope causes the needle to rise more quickly as my hand continues to work the throttle. My speed increases 80 . . .90 . . .95 . . 96 . . .97 and then it happened, I had done the ton! 100 mph! It was a blur, the more I gave it the more it wanted, the bike kept running all the way to 106 mph. I am not in the habit of riding at such speeds, it just sort of happened and I would caution my readers not to try this at home! But it was therapeutic, exhilarating and just a little illegal. The remainder of my ride was fantastic.

Soon I was joined by fellow bikers making their way to this motorized Mecca, all of us getting the necessary therapy along the way.

The Adirondacks are fantastic for motorcycling and when combined with the Americade rally the result is magnificent. I was sure that I would enjoy the rally again this year, I just didn't know that it would be with an empty back seat.

Happy Trails, Shevy

Shevy's Biker Tip of the Week: When riding your motorcycle through the parking lot of the local Waldbaums be sure to avoid the countless potholes. There are more craters in that parking lot than there are on the surface of the moon! One false move and you might be badly injured. ARE YOU LISTENING WALDBAUMS ?

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