Random Thoughts on Riding My Ninja 650...

The oppressive heat of the day began to subside as the sun set heavily in the haze and dropped behind the western hills.  I sat with the dogs and the cat, on the driveway looking north over the fields as a slight breeze developed.  There have been some spectacular displays recently, with multiple thunder storms, towering columns of cloud, and the sun and moon at opposite ends of the stage, but this looked to be a grey and uneventful evening.  Slowly but surely, the shapeless mist-like clouds that lingered in the murky sky began to catch the rays of an unseen sun beyond the horizon.

I marveled at the progression of pastel colors that migrated across the evening sky from right to left, east to west.  I have recently instigated a jogging routine around sunset but today I was nursing a sore tendon in an effort to avoid injury.  What better place for recovery and contemplation than this pastoral setting, surrounded by my four legged friends and a soothing light show.

Realizing that next month brings yet another birthday, I began reviewing the events of my fifty-sixth year.  Most notable was perhaps the purchase of the Ninja 650r and the nearly thirteen thousand kilometers I have put on it, to date.  Most of that milage was acquired during the first six months or so, as I rode with a friend learning how to deal with the beast and exploring my own connection to the road and the bike.  Riding a motorbike is a very personal thing though most people probably fall into one or another of the notable subgroups of riders.  I have only recently discovered where I fit in.

My riding partner clearly headed down a different path from me, buying a much bigger and faster sport-bike, with an emphasis on how far, how fast and an almost obsessive need to ride daily.  I on the other hand have taken to riding my Ninja more like a touring bike.  The bike is merely the form of transport I use to get where I want to go.  Riding at a relaxed and comfortable pace, exploring side roads, stopping to take pictures and usually with some scenic destination in mind.  More often than not, that means I am better off riding on my own and at my own pace.

As the weather has turned intermittently hot or rainy, I have found myself busy doing other things.  Riding for pleasure as I do, the weather has a lot to do with my enjoyment and thus the amount of riding I do.  Distance is another issue for me as I prefer day-rides with my longest ride being roughly 500 kilometers to Chiang Mai and back, for servicing at Kawasaki.  I have already explored most of the paved roads in my area and find myself, as yet, unwilling to take on multi-day rides.  When there is so much to see, so close to where I live, traveling long distances to see something not that much different from what is in my back yard, seems questionable at best.  Perhaps that will change next winter but for now I seem to prefer sticking close to home.

Though I was first drawn to Kawasaki by their Vulcan 900, I was won over to the Ninja 650 by price and the relatively comfortable upright riding position.  At first, however, I found the strain on my wrists and subsequent numbness in my hands unpleasant on longish rides.  With greater experience and improved riding style I no longer put much weight on my hands.  The saddle modification has added to my comfort as well.  So who knows, there may yet be some long distance rides in my future.

Though I chose to write mainly about riding today, my mind danced about erratically touching on many themes, until darkness enveloped, the bugs began to annoy and the sounds of nature overwhelmed.  At that point we ventured back up to the house and I left my thoughts lingering out there in the darkness, to be revisited another day.