Group Riding

When I first began riding a motorcycle, I discovered the Southern Cruisers Riding Club (aka SCRC).  SCRC is actually an international organization with chapters throughout the US, Canada and the rest of the world.  I began getting involved in the local chapter in Kitchener- Waterloo – SCRC 270.

Amongst the many activities of the club are the group rides.  I had the pleasure of being involved in one today, called the Jelly Bean Ride.  This ride is also a fund raiser involving colours, prizes and jelly beans.

During the ride, there is a lot of time to think and reflect and I spent a lot of time thinking about why I enjoyed riding with a group.    This is what I concluded:

  • There are many times during the ride that you really have no idea where you are.  However, that really does not matter.  The group is led by a “road captain” assisted by his “wing man” (or woman) and “tail gunner”.  As a member of the group, you do not have to know where you are going.  All you have to do is to enjoy the ride and follow the person in front of you.
  • Even though you are often by yourself on your bike, you are not alone.  Many riders in the group communicate with each other using a CB radio.  There is often a lot of good natured chatter along the way.
  • The group ride is a unique experience.  As a member of the group, you are a part of much larger entity.  The entire group is not unlike a living being.  Each part looking out for the other parts ensuring that everyone is safe and having fun.  Hand signals are a large part of this experience.  As the group rides along, each member communicates with the rest through hand signals which, for example: warn of upcoming road hazards, inform of approaching slowdowns, and help each member know when the group is stopping or turning.   Each person is assigned a spot in the staggered formation and together the group rides along like a snake down the road.  My most impressive experience of this phenomena was in June as a member of the Motorcycle Ride For Dad which paraded through Kitchener and Waterloo.  Over 800 bikes were involved in the first portion of that ride – an experience I will never forget

I do not know if this is true of all riding clubs but one of the things that impresses me most about my involvement in the SCRC is the openness they share.  It does not matter what type of motorcycle you are riding – whether a scooter, sports bike, Harley or japanese cruiser – everyone is welcome and treated with the same respect.  What unites us is our love of riding.

And as I get older, there is nothing I am enjoying more than feeling the wind on my face as I ride …

FTW, Harry

Sometimes it is not about the destination …

This summer it has been a great opportunity to get away from the desk.   So far it has been wonderful.  Even though it is still early in Aug (still 4 weeks to go I think), I am amazed at how much I have accomplished:

– attended ISTE 2010 (my initial posts were about this conference in Denver)

– drove, hiked and immersed myself in the wonders of the world north of Lake Superior.

– served as a member of the staff team at CCJ ’10 where almost 400 Wolf Cubs and 175 Cub Leaders camped for a week.

– ripped apart and rebuilt our shed (just need to shingle the roof)

This week, I am preparing to leave home again and co-lead CATC By The Water 2010.  Irreverently called ‘Computer Camp’, this is an awesome PD opportunity for teachers within our school board to work on broadening the use of computers and technology within their classes.

Compared to many summers, it would appear that I have been able to get a lot of things done.  But what I have been continually amazed by is how much more I have enjoying doing the work than getting it done.  I used to be a person that looked forward to checking off the things that I have done.  I always thought of myself as being very task oriented.

The week my wife and I spent north of Lake Superior is a great example of the changes I am seeing in my perspective.  The hi-light of the week was the drive.  The scenery along the hi-way from Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa Ont. is indescribable.  One post card moment after another.  In contrast, the arrival at Wawa and visiting the infamous goose was anti-climatic.

I guess this summer is simply serving to remind me that we need to pay more attention to the journey rather than simply look forward to the destination.  If we simply focus upon the destination, there is so much along the journey that might be missed.

FTW, Harry

It is time for me to jump in …

Well I finally decided it was time to start publishing a real blog. I may even surprise myself if I am able to keep it going. But I am currently attending ISTE 2010 and if this environment does not inspire me nothing will.

ISTE 2010 is an international conference where educators come to learn, to be inspire, to be encouraged, to be overwhelmed …you get the idea. Over 15000 are attending the conference this year in Denver CO. The opening keynote starts in an hour. The conference will hopefully help me to kickstart this endeavor.   So let the fun begin.

The real start of this blog is to explain its title.  I recently discovered the joys of riding a motorcycle.  For those who are, I own and ride a Honda Shadow Spirit 750.  I love to ride and I love the feeling of having the wind in your face as I ride.  I once read something about the difference between riding a bike and driving a car.  I really did not understand the difference until I began riding a year ago.

When you drive in a car, you can look out the window and and enjoy the scenery as you drive down the highway.  The driver is a spectator. But as a biker riding down the highway, there are no windows.  You are a part of the scenery.

There are many stretches of highway through southern Ontario (where I live) that I have driven many times.  Now when I ride those same roads, it is like I am riding them for the first time.

And so, this really is the reference I am making in the title of this blog.  When I ride – with the wind in my face – I am not only on my way to get somewhere, I am also enjoying the journey.

This blog will be my journal reflecting both on the places I am going and on the journey along the way.

So I look forward to sharing and I welcome all those who would like to ride with me – even just for a section of the trip.

May the wind in your face remind you that you are moving forward.

Harry