Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Rider and his Left Pinky

The streets were dark and quiet, with a slight sheen to them when the rider would ride under the yellow glow of the street lights as he motored to his destination.

As the rider left his home base, the streets became more and more crowded with automobiles, their single occupants frowning in the darkness, eyes focused solely on their halogen beams and unwary of their surrounding, and probably uncaring.

The rider noted the temperature as 30°F, and was gratified to feel the heat coursing through the heated grips on his selected mission vehicle of the day, a 1987 BMW R80 Airhead.  Its Boxer engine purred underneath him and the rider constantly had to resist the temptation to wick the throttle wide open and speed ahead of the cage clusters he sometimes found himself in.

City intersection after city intersection came and went, mile upon mile was traversed and the rider continued his ride to headquarters.  The rider's head was constantly on a swivel, noting his surroundings and nearby cars with care, ever ready for evasive action or perhaps just a tap on the horn to wake up an unwary driver.  He could feel the cold and wind chill, surrounding him and trying to penetrate his riding gear and failing.  The cold made him feel alive and alert, he felt nothing but pity as he passed the drivers in the cars...warmly ensconced in their cages, driving drearily to their daily occupations, isolated from the world.

As he saw the city's skyscrapers begin to glow in the light of the dawn, the rider now also felt the pain of the freezing cold on his left hand's pinky.  A victim of near-frostbite from previous missions in the cold fields of Germany during the Cold War, the rider's finger tips always were the first to yield to cold riding conditions.

His trusty steed's heated grips helped immensely but where the rider's left pinky rested normally on the left grip, it was left in the wind and the heat tended to migrate to the top of the grip.  The driver continued his riding, shifting his grip to place his left pinky on the top of the grip, as he neared his destination.

The city streets near headquarters were even wetter looking than during the first part of his ride, and thoughts of black ice danced in the rider's mind as he slowed appropriately.  The BMW Airhead's tires never lost their grip though and it was mostly a wet appearance; not actual moisture that was evident as the dawn's light became stronger with the beginning of the sunrise.

The rider reached the parking area near headquarters with no incidents.  As he parked his motorcycle in the still empty motorcycle-only section, the rider reflected on recent mission briefings by other riders.  He'd have to soon retrieve the hand guards for the R80 he thought, ugly as they were, as his hands needed to be pain free to do their job.  The rider felt the weight of the accumulating years, a lot of miles and perhaps too many missions he thought.

Still, as he walked towards current headquarters, he felt the remnants of the ride's exhilaration.  The slight adrenaline flush and smile on his face made nearby pedestrians wonder what could possibly make the strange man in riding gear and bearing a helmet in his hand smile so widely so early in the morning.

By the time he cleared security, his pinky was once again fine, the rider prepared mentally for the day's work.  His mind however, was already looking forward to the ride home....which should be in balmy 47°F weather if the weather-guessers had done their job correctly.


Unknown said...


I never knew you had frostbite on your left pinky. Better for you to have heated grips with heater wires in every finger. Heated grips only warm up the insides of your hands

I know you must look intimidating as you walk over to your office building,
like a LEO

Riding the Wet Coast

SonjaM said...

I am shivering as I read this. I can however relate to the rider's desire to get back on the road after work.

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, it was really close but no frostbite...as to looking intimidating, it keeps the downtown vagrants away. :)

SonjaM....I imagine its just as cold over there in Germany?

Steve Williams said...

I feel your pain. Cold hands are just awful. I've had frostbite on the end pads of all fingers. Thumbs ok. Now they get cold and painful quickly.

Like your story of the ride, the body movements, thought process. Quick accurate and familiar account of my own rides though without heated grips or a sidecar....

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Steve, glad you liked it.