|A `glute` of British monkey bums (and one Dutch) en route to Hanksville, Utah, 2003|
I think the relaxation comes from focussing on something that I strive to do well and then finding myself achieving that for a prolonged period. It feels slick, you are going with the flow and working well, riding to `the system`. Physically and mentally, riding a motorcycle is more tiring than sitting in a car yet my old back injury is less troubled from sitting on my motorcycle than in a tin box. But there comes a time when the zone moves away from me and I start to struggle to stay with it. That moment is usually because of physical elements interfering with my part in the journey; feeling cold, hungry or experiencing the annoying pain in the arse that all bikers get and refer to by a variety of euphemisms including `monkey bum`.
|Not my actual bum|
I'm still breaking in my body to the new bike and currently my monkey bum starts at around the 100 mile mark. If I choose not to stop I can alleviate it by an number of exercises I have developed over my years in the saddle. Taking the weight off a little by pressing up with my legs, not enough to be clear of the seat but enough to ease the circulation, works for a while as does clenching and relaxing my `glutes`. Eventually, one has to stop because physical discomfort eventually reaches a point where your concentration leaves the road and dwells on the pain. That is dangerous. I think I want an Airhawk for Christmas.
Last Sunday I set off on a 200 mile ride to visit my daughter, son and grandchildren. The 100 mile mark was coming up, as indicated by my backside. I was on a motorway and so reluctantly chose a service area for some tea and a bum rest (Mrs HD had provided my doughnuts!). I walked about, stretched and then waded into the cafeteria, crowded with Sunday travellers. It was the last weekend before the schools re-open and I suspected that, for many, this was the end of the final summer outing because there was a large proportion of children scooting about. I got my mug of tea, sat in a soft comfy chair and tucked in to my Pump Street doughnuts.
But this was not relaxation. The babble of the masses, squabbling and shouting at their naughty children was getting to me after only half a jam doughnut. Adding additional pain to my senses was the bloody `lift muzak` and a really naff version of "The Girl from Ipanima" wailing away somewhere above my head. It was quite nasty, but being a biker I rode through the pain, reached into my jacket pocket and re-fitted my earplugs. It was wonderful hearing the irritating assault on my aural senses start to fade away as the foam slowly expanded in my ear canals. Bliss.
It was good to get back in the saddle, get back into the zone - and relax.
|"This is not my beautiful wife, this is not my beautiful bike, how did I get here" (with apologies to `Talking Heads`)|