Monday, May 25, 2009

Song of the Rolling Sirens

Song of the Rolling Sirens

It was a dark spring morning and a blanket of ominous clouds hovered low in the sky making the air thick with humidity. I started the V-Star and her 1063 cc’s of v-twin power roared to life as I hit the garage door opener button to close the garage. It was 6:00 am and I was hoping my neighbors did not hate me and my Cobra exhaust as I turned out of the driveway and started on my commute to work.

Passing the local Waffle house on my way to the freeway the odors of waffles, eggs, sausage, and bacon, beckoned me to stop and eat. I sighed at what was not to be as I approached the light downshifting twice to turn onto the access road to get on the on-ramp to the two lane freeway. Three quarters of the way up the on-ramp my left turn signal was on as I shifted into third. I have decided that this was the most fun part of any ride, the acceleration to get up to speed, after all, there are no laws that limit how fast you can get up to the speed limit.

In no time I’m at the end of this stretch of highway as it makes a graceful right hand turn and merges with another section this time three lanes wide. Tending to run faster than the other traffic I again apply my left turn signal and change lanes twice double checking the lane next to me each time before changing lanes. In the fast lane I pulled in right behind another motorcyclist traveling slightly faster than me possibly on a Harley-Davidson by the sound of the engine.

I sped up a little to keep up with the other motorcyclist. Traffic is usually not too bad this time of the morning as long as you do not get stuck behind a row of vehicles all traveling the same speed so that you cannot get by in the fast lane. Some people will just not change lanes even though slower traffic is supposed keep right. Just about then is when I started to hear the Song.

An eighteen wheeler was in the middle lane and I was passing on the left tracking in the left hand side of my lane. As I drew closer the sound of their Song got louder. I glanced at all those wheels, each one almost half as tall as me. These Sirens are calling to me, luring me to look at them. I try to look away. Mistress, my bike, says, “Watch where we are going.” We were approaching a left hand curve on the highway.

I move lane position to the right side of my lane in preparation of the curve doing the outside, inside, outside track thing like I don’t really know how tight the curve is. This places me right next to the leviathans’ rear trailer wheels. I glance over and the Sirens Song is sweeter, louder, calling me closer as I strain to look away. “Look away, don’t stare at the beast,” I say to myself, probably out loud.

I’m slightly behind the rigs two sets of double tires now and nearing the apex of the curve. The muscles in my legs and arms tighten up and get stiff as the sirens voices start screaming louder at me as I fight to avert my eyes and turn my bike away from our deadly track. All I need to do is pull back slightly on the right handlebar and Mistress will respond leaning left and turning left out of that outer track but I find myself fighting the Sirens hypnotic Song. The Sirens Song is a screaming crescendo now pulling at Mistress and trying to make us crash against the mighty Leviathan.

My pulse has quickened and my breathing has almost stopped as I try to force her to turn left fighting against the handle bars that feel like hard taffy. She does not respond to manhandling and awaits the gentle counter steer command. The bike is at the apex of the curve now and we are sliding slowly closer into the mouth of the deadly Leviathan.

We are being drawn in, pulled by the voices of the alluring Sirens. Then, Mistress’s soothingly soft sultry voice cut through the panic brought about by the Song of the Sirens telling me, “Look away from the beast and look to where you want to go.” This was said not as an order, but in a matter of fact, common sense kind of way.

Nodding in agreement I hear her and obeyed, ignoring the Sirens command I forced my eyes to look away and into the far left track of the lane I’m traveling in. I relax my arms and gently push the left handle bar forward while pulling slightly back on the right. Mistress responds with a purr and immediately leaned left and headed into the left track out of the deadly path of the stampeding Leviathan. I blocked out the compelling Song of the Sirens and speed by the eighteen wheeled monster right as the corner ends.

Breathing once again my pulse starts to slow as I take the exit to get to work. Once at work and calmed down, I had time to reflect on what had just transpired on my normal boring commute. Call it what you want, Target Fixation or the Song of the Siren, your bike will go, maybe subconsciously, where you look. Is Target Fixation just an excuse, a Myth, or an Urban Legend? Having first hand battled it and won, I think not. So, glance at obstacles just long enough to recognize them for what they are and then look back where you want to go. If you don’t, you may succumb to the call of the Sirens, and smash into the very obstacle you are staring at, and trying desperately to avoid.

Ride on,

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