Pedalling Backwards…..

May 2006

Friends in Ohio wrote and asked us to visit. So we booked a flight to New York, traveled overnight on a Greyhound bus (now there´s an experience!) and finally got to see our friends after a gap of about 3 years.

Pete and Barb had been in the Caribbean for the last 20 years, living on their tiny, but beautiful little boat, Misty. In 2005, tired of the sailing life – especially following a hurricane that almost destroyed their boat – they decided to return to the USA, take the anchor as far inland as possible and BURY IT DEEP!

Now, back on the hard and dry, Pete was able to return to his first love – motorbikes. Not having a lot of money but a lot of practical abilities, he bought an old Harley Davidson; it was a `basket case´ ie, a bike in bits and rusted badly. He spent the first winter restoring the bike and by the time we arrived, that `basket case´was a beautiful, gleaming machine.

Pete decided to take me for a ride. I was very nervous – never having liked bikes and belonging firmly to the sworn `death trap´ mindset. The first few miles on his bike were terrifying! I gripped his waist so tightly he had to pull over and ask me to `Quit squeezing the fk outta me can ya?´ He persevered and gradually I began to relax. We rode on and on, for miles – through the breadbasket cornfields of middle America. The sun began to drop to the horizon – a big red ball that gave the crops a wonderful glow. The wind blew my hair around my face and whistled in my ears, despite wearing a helmet. This was such a feeling of freedom – of being at one with the elements; just like being on a sailboat. I was hooked.

Back at the house, mgm asked, ‘ Well?´

Grinning from ear to ear I said, `We´ve got to get a bike and go riding!´

So we did. We scoured the local papers for a second-hand bike. Nothing nearby, but a couple of hours ride away was a `1980 Honda CX500, hard bags, windshield, 16,000 miles, original owner: $1,000´ .

Pet and mg took off to take a look – and, lo and behold, returned with the bike tied into the back of Pete´s pick-up.

Two new tyres, a new exhaust, registration and insurance sorted, a few trial rides to test things and become familiar ….. and off we went. Ohio to Wyoming and back; 5,000 miles of wonderful memories.

As a footnote – we sold the Honda for $950 the day before we returned to New York on the Greyhound bus.

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