Brisk

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“Do we have any ice cream?”

This just might be the single sweetest question in the universe.

Or at least the single sweetest question in my universe, if you’ve been stuck under a headset and in front of a screen or a couple a screens for the last ten hours or so.

“Just that bing cherry you think tastes like furniture polish.”

Long pause.

“Market’s open, though.”

“OK.”

Traditional, printed page on quality paper kind of literature has no typographic method for expressing what is known online as a ‘Smiley’.

But if it did, you’d put one right here.

***

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah.

All the gear all the time yeah yeah.

The Jefferson Market is about 2/3 of a mile from my house, if one goes the most direct way.

Which one never does.

It was about 60 degrees f. outside.

Just cool enough to let you know its not summer anymore, but not cold enough to rip your face off or make you do some manly-man act of stoicism in the face of extreme discomfort.

Did your tears freeze on your last ride?

This ain’t that.

Did I mention I have a really sweet Bell 500?

bell 500

 

I grabbed a canvas bike jacket, strapped on my 500 and some elkskin gauntlets, and rolled the R90 backwards out of the garage.

In the relative cool of the evening — it was bell clear and dry out — the engine did its time honored “Don’t Really Want To Idle Thank You Very Much” Routine, which is completely understandable if one considers the kinda oversize carb diameters and the long metal venturi intake manifolds that really need to have some heat in them to allow fuel to atomize cleanly.

I took the long way out of my neighborhood, to check out my neighbors and let the engine slowly warm.

The cool air was refreshing. In 30 seconds I was more awake than I’d been all day.

As I made the left onto Maryland Route 180, the bike was taking throttle as it should. The whole frame rose and fell as I picked up second gear, and then third.

The air leaking around my glasses had me tearing up pretty heavily. I worried briefly I might not be able to acclimate to the newly cooler air.

I needn’t have worried.

Maryland 180 connects the entrance to my neighborhood directly to the Jefferson Market, which is why I made a right before that at Horine Road.

Horine has a great deal of topography, and as I hit the low spots — the little valleys in the road — the temperature would drop noticeably. With my face out in the wind, I was picking up the sharp temperature changes in my whiskers.

For a classic bike guy, this was a peak experience.

The engine was in full song, with the echos coming back off the hillsides on either side of the road. The bike was handling sweetly, rolling in and out of corners effortlessly, and making the most of the easy thrust available on the exits. The newly installed saddle unit gave the bike a solidity and precision of body communication that hadn’t been there previously.

There were no bugs.

Making the left onto Maryland 464 gave some chances for throttle and for sound.

Rising, falling. Second, Third, Fourth. Thock. Thock. Thock.

Up in fourth, just under 4000 rpm, really underneath the power but a smooth cruising speed.

It was a sweet place, with a few sweeping corners and hills before making the turn back up Lander Road back towards Jefferson.

Lander is a ribbon of a road, with not a straight or flat spot anywhere.

All the work, and all the care taken with this machine, was on full display here.

The left at our light, and blast back down 180, and I was in the lot at the Market.

Some single servings of Cotton Candy, a half gallon of French Vanilla, and I was back on the stands in the garage.

***

“Thanks for the sweets, Baby.”

Cotton Candy ice cream may be sweet.

But even a short cool ride with a trumped up excuse, perfect roads and a bike that one really loves can be far sweeter.

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