Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ryan's Bike Bitch For a Day

A hot econoline van steams the summer roads to Rocky Mountain campgrounds, Family Vacation, British Columbia. My sister and I, two red-faced blond girls, sit in reverse to stare through tinted rear windows with our noses resting on brown foam seat cushions. The mountain walls are as dusty peach as the dull paint on our van. Faceless men on motorcycles curve the road behind. I point my index finger at them and my thumb to heaven before I shoot "Bang! Bang! Bang!" One man lifts one of his black-gloved hands from the handles and returns the gesture. I continue to shoot, ducking and dodging his retaliations until the men bend to the right and reappear in front of my tired father who is driving and eating black licorice simultaneously. I solemly wait for another motorcyclist to snake the Rockies behind us. I solemly hope for the day when I am riding a motorcycle with nothing but wind between me and the jagged walls of the mountains I love.
I must have been six years old then. I am 23 now so that means it took 17 years before I finally hopped onto a motorbike thanks to Ryan. He invited me out to Harrison - taking the backroads through Mission and Fort Langley - on a gorgeous Sunday. He took me for a spin around Burnaby before heading on the highway to see if I could get the rhythm down - lean when he leans, squeeze his hips with my thighs when we slow to a stop. He said I made a pretty good bike bitch before we took off for the number 1 highway heading East. On the highway, the wind hit my throat and chest so violently, rapid like an aroused heartbeat, I gleefully thought I would loose my breath or that my heart would be beatened into stopping. My body seemed to feel small and aerodynamic. We didn't stay on the highway very long because it was the beauty of the ride that Ryan and I were after. We wanted to fly through the small roads bordered with lush greens trees and open meadows. I wanted to polaroid every abandoned bungalow that charmingly leaned towards collapse. I'll have to ride again sometime with Ryan.
Harrison didn't even mean much when we arrived. We tried to linger on the beach, wade in the water - but really we wanted to be back on the roads coiling through thick BC landscape where roads twisted like a wriggling serpentine in a lime lagoon. I first toyed with and then feared the idea of reaching my gloved hand out and scraping my fingers against the rough cement every time we leaned around a bend. After one turn we saw a dark brown bear disappear into the forest - leaving me with dreams of sasquatches roaming my mind.
I was sad to return. From the highway I watched the big yellow IKEA sign sail by on our way to Ryan's apartment in Burnaby. We stopped by the Safeway to grab some food. I recollected the bushy green and blue mountain imagery in my mind while leaning against Ryan's bike - the pale blue sky marbled into navy above me. Ryan was inside getting the groceries. I was glad to be in Ryan's apparment - it feels homely and chic at the same time. We hung out until late when Ryan drove me to Briana and Will's appartment that I was still happily housesitting. Even though we took the car, I still felt like I was rumbling on the back of his motorbike. One week later I gave him an artsy vase - just to say thanks. All my friends agree, a vase is a weird gift for a guy. Oh well.

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