The Far Island Fox Hunt: On being away on an adventure
An elite few of you out there who read these mildly manic manifests may have noticed I’ve been MIA for a little over a month. A few others, who might at least look at the pictures, will have noted my choice of rides as being what is today known as an ‘adventure bike’. Put two and two together and you will come to the conclusion I’ve been off on some awesome adventure. And you’d be right. Mostly.
Some adventures you choose. Some you are thrown into. Neither are you ever truly, fully prepared for. If you were, well, where’s the adventure in that?
Right now, as it happens, I’m writing you this dispatch from the depths of an almighty adventure indeed. I’ll spare you the detail, but offer you some insight.
The big BMW was only recently fully rebuilt, the new engine still being tuned in to a new way of life. As you know I’ve been playing with the carb tuning trying to find a suitable measure of performance; neither too rich or too lean. It’s a work in progress.
The point is, before heading out on a planned adventure most of us will set out to ensure any little (or big) maintenance issues are resolved (except for those guys on the Scrapheap Adventure Ride, but they’re really nuts).
You might recall also that I’d been right in the middle of a bit of self maintenance of my own. Indeed that new tuning, my adjusted fuel mixture and corresponding attitude, had not yet bedded in when one of those ‘unexpected adventures’ came knocking. Actually, they don’t knock do they? Indeed, when life came barging in my front door I was running way too rich and went barreling right up to it with the full intent to ride it like a goddam rodeo bull.
The problem with that is of course not every part of your everyday is a “goddam rodeo”. Now, I’d like to be proud to say I rode that the legs of that bull, because I did. But when I climbed off and looked around I didn’t recognise the arena, and the crowd was thin, and quiet.
That’s when the adventure really starts. That’s when you realise you can spend a lifetime tuning for one kind of condition and then life drops you wheels down and rolling almost any damn place it pleases and you’re going to have to find traction.
I run an off-road tyre on the back of the big BMW. Not because I’m a gung-ho rally raid man but because I know that on gravel I need that extra confidence. Correspondingly, I know that on a wet road I have to take precautions. Anyway, I can tell you this current “adventure ride” is happening right now on a hard terrain knobby over black ice.
In any one day I’m sliding from one side of the road to the other. I haven’t slid off yet but I’m painfully aware of the edge. Oddly, when I’m riding through the day and my mind’s on the road, as difficult as it may be, the concentration is distracting of the underlying issues. It’s when I stop, exhausted, that the thoughts come flooding in. Why did I miss that turn? How long can I keep this up?
Funny, even though I haven’t yet called on it, I do take comfort in knowing that help is out there. A bit like knowing you have 24/7 roadside assist before you take that journey you’re a little apprehensive about. You don’t plan on using it, but should something unanticipated happen there’s someone out there who isn’t going to question your action, just help you get back on the road.