Polar Bear Ride - 2010

 

Polar Bear Ride - 2010

Polar Bear Ride



polar bear ride



Polar Bear Ride:  When crazy motorcycle riders put on layer after layer of clothing, thick winter gloves, scarves, balaclavas, wool socks, winter boots, insulated overalls or leathers and pray they can swing their leg over the saddle to ride with their buds and extended family to a restaurant for a meal… in the winter.  Crazy you say?  I have to agree with you, but I wouldn’t miss our Polar Bear Ride for anything other than an extreme family emergency… or snow and freezing rain.
 
My riding club holds our ride on January 1st, every year.  In GA, the first of the year is generally mild, considering what Polar Bears have to live in.  This year was no different.  We woke up to temperatures in the low 30s but by the time we were ready for “kickstands up”, it was in the mid 30s and the wind was beginning to kick up some.  I had gone with some friends a couple weeks before, for the shake down ride and it was bitter cold, foggy and wet.  Needless to say, I was thrilled with the cloudless sky, higher temps.  I could deal with the wind.  After all, riding a motorcycle at 50 mph has a way of lowering the temperature a good deal.  The only problem with dressing for winter riding is you get so bundled up if feels like your muscles are beginning to atrophy.  You can’t move much accept for fingers to brake and clutch… and feet and legs to shift and hold the bike up at a stop.  Getting on and off the bike requires great skill and balance.  Of course, if you fall while dismounting, I guess you’d just bounce back up.  I won’t even mention the need to empty full bladders thanks to all the hot coffee consumed before the ride.  Winter riding isn’t my favorite thing to do.  Not even close to the top.
 
2010 arrived and it promised to be a beautiful day.  As I was riding to our staging area, I saw several other riders heading to their Polar Bear Rides.  Some were with one of the local Motorcycle Clubs, riding in their well choreographed formation, some were just a bunch of friends getting together to celebrate the first day of the new year.  It was really good to see so many people on their bikes on January 1, 2010.  When I arrived at the staging area there were already a good number of folks there.  The excitement could be felt even though the smiles were covered up with scarves.  It was good to be with “family” on this day.  It’s worth all the uncomfortable cloths and the frigid wind, just to be with these people.
 
We rode through the country on back roads, on our way to a country cookin’ buffet for collards and blackeyed peas.  On the way, we passed by pastures full of cows who looked at us like we were crazy.  Kids heard the rumble of twenty five bikes coming and ran to watch us pass by.  Little arms waving and they were jumping for joy.  That’s what I felt like at that moment.  I was thrilled to be on that ride… on January 1, 2010.  I was forth from the front, so when I looked in my mirror all I could see were bikes behind me.  I knew every single rider on that ride and we were together on the first day of the year.  How awesome is that?  That ride was my favorite thing to be doing on that day.  When we got to the restaurant, we had a back room to ourselves and it was like a bunch of kids getting together to laugh and play jokes on each other.  The food was great and we, of course, stuffed ourselves as we talked about the upcoming year.  Luckily, no politics came to the table so it was just pure fun and hopeful wishes.
 
The couple hours we were all together flew by and it was time to head back home.  Even though I knew I’d see most of these people again in just a few days, it was sad to be leaving them.  People were walking around shaking hands and hugging each other as if it would be another year before we sat down to share a meal.  One thing about riding these therapeutic machines is that… people in ‘cages’ tend to not see us quite often and when a bike meets one of those huge chunks of metal, the outcome for the rider is generally not good.  We all know this and we value the time we spend together.  So, even though winter riding isn’t on my favorite things to do list… our Polar Bear Ride is right up there on top.  I get to spend a very special day with ‘family’ that I put great value on.  THAT’S what it’s all about.


polar bear ride

polar bear ride


Elaine Morris
Dacula, GA
January 2010