Nice ride, shame about the hot pants

It’s really about how we choose to react.

A couple of Sundays ago the sun was shining. It was a beautiful, late summer day. The kind of day two-wheel enthusiasts lap up, and, being one of those two-wheel types (self-propelled or motorized) I decided that being out on my Ducati would be a great way for to relax. However, I didn’t get the ride I expected.

Rather than settle for a local coffee shop ride I thought I’d go for lunch in Port Townsend, Washington, a 340 Km return trip. As the forecast was good I didn’t pack rain gear, however, I did add a fleece, a lower base layer and warmer gloves as I wasn’t sure what time I’d be returning. It was a good decision.

Port Townsend lies on the north-eastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and I’d previously visited this gorgeous artsy community a couple of years ago. Rather than ride down past Seattle and back up the peninsula, I could head to Whidbey Island and take a short ferry to my destination. The ride was everything I hoped for, light traffic and effortless cruising. I arrived in Port Townsend and headed to the wonderful Better Living Through Coffee, a local, organic, fair trade coffee-house. Highly recommended.

This is where my self-coaching began.

Feeling rather at one with myself I headed back to the Ducati. Horror. When removing the ignition key I’d not noticed that I’d taken the lock to the rear parking light position. The lamp was glowing dimly. My old battery was likely too flat to start the bike, and that was the case; not even a click or whir. I was south of the border at 4pm with a non-starter of a Ducati.

First learning. Forward planning. Although I can be more of a ‘spur of the moment’ person, a little forward planning certainly helps. I had BCAA membership and within an hour was back on the road. How many times have you been too spontaneous and been tripped up?

Second learning. Don’t ignore the obvious signs. I knew my battery was old and the bike had failed to start a few weeks prior. The battery needed replacing and I didn’t do it. How often do you ignore clear warning signs and continue without considering the consequences of your actions?

Third and most significant learning. I couldn’t take the Port Townsend to Whidbey Island ferry back as the battery needed to be charged enough to start the bike again, and that meant riding for around thirty minutes. I had to head south and think about rounding the Puget Sound, coming back through via Tacoma. As I hit the road I considered my state of mind and realised that even though I couldn’t change the circumstances I found myself in, I could choose how to react. My choices were feeling hard done by, being a victim or rising to the challenge and enjoying the ride. I chose the latter. My head cleared and I planned on the fly, taking the Bainbridge ferry to Seattle and reducing my ride time significantly. When faced with difficult circumstances, you can still choose how to react and your choice will shape your response.

Rather than being relaxing my ride turned in to more of a challenge, even more so when I ended up with overflowing petrol drenching my lap whilst refuelling. Leaping off the bike hoping the fuel wasn’t running down a very hot engine and realizing that, well, let’s say that my ‘lap’ area was stinging, one of those moments that, being a Brit, I could only laugh at. I must have looked very odd waddling back to the bike after I’d washed down and stuffed copious amounts of toilet roll between me and the base layer as well as the base layer and my jeans. Quite the posing pouch!

I finally arrived home some thirteen hours after leaving, having ridden around 550Km. Despite everything, I enjoyed the ride, and I learned a little more about me. Never too old to learn.

How have you risen to the challenge and enjoyed the ride that is life?

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