When I saw New Back Doc on Thursday evening, he did my 8-week exam (more on that in a future post) and said I should be good to try riding twice a week. I asked if I could ride to work the following day and he said sure.
So, yesterday morning, I geared up, put the laptop in its padded case and tucked it into the Givi bag, and rode to work for the first time in two years.
My back muscles were a bit sore even when I fidgeted, which was a bit annoying but not entirely unexpected: the interstates are a lot harder on the muscles than just puttering around town. Again, it mostly feels the way my back used to after 400+ miles in a day; maybe a little more “pointedly sore” than that, but it’s definitely muscular as opposed to SI or nerve. So I really don’t care.
I remember thinking that it’s been a long time since I was on a motorcycle at 8:15am. I’ve always loved riding in the morning and after some time off, even a commute will do!
I was only the second bike to the VG6 lot, but when I came out at lunch, the Ninjette had plenty of friends. I know who owns the orange V-Rod and the Ninja 650 that’s hiding behind the gray scooter, but the rest are a mystery to me. Any VG6 peeps reading this know whose they are?
At lunchtime, I had a special bike-related treat: I was meeting Tadej and Lejla at the Apple cafeteria. They’re bikers from Slovenia who are riding around the western USA for a month on a borrowed V-Strom.
Rashmi had put them up in Seattle and asked if I could show them around Apple when they came through. She’d borrowed Lejla’s F650CS for her amazing ride around Europe last summer and it was neat to put a rider’s face to the black Beemer I’d seen so many pictures of.
I felt badly because Apple isn’t the best place for scenic tours — you can’t go into any buildings other than the lobby, you can’t even take pictures inside of the lobby, and there aren’t any Apple logos or anything anywhere that would impress friends back home. But we had a nice lunch at the cafeteria and they told me about their trip. I was suitably jealous.
We did find this sign for them:
We walked back to VG6, where I proudly showed off the Ninjette, then they headed back to their bike and pointed east-ish towards the Sierras, Lake Tahoe, and eventually Zion. Did I mention being jealous?
The rest of the workday was uneventful. My back was a bit sore, but the combination of walking at lunch, using my sit-stand desk, and icing a bit was keeping it under control. It wasn’t hurting badly enough to need ibuprofen, just enough to be a little blip on my consciousness over the course of the day.
I had one more special stop for the day on my ride home: it was Growler Fill night at Devil’s Canyon Brewery! Because it’s right off of Highway 101, I took that home instead of my much-preferred Highway 280, but fortunately I left work just barely early enough (~4:45) that traffic wasn’t an utter nightmare.
When I arrived at Devil’s Canyon I realized I had made one of the worst mistakes a motorcyclist could make — I’d removed my bungee net from the bike. What was I thinking?? I have no idea why on earth I’d done that; it takes up no space at all and it’s absolutely essential for important things like strapping growlers of beer onto the back seat.
I knew I’d be able to fit one growler (1/2 gallon) in the Givi bag even with my other crap, so I stood in line in my gear in the 90F sun to buy the growler.
The guy next in line was also a motorcyclist (and, obviously, a man with good taste in beer), so we got to chitchatting a bit. He was impressed that fitting beer onto the motorcycle was of great importance in my life.
When I brought the growler back to the Ninjette, I realized that by using my mad Tetris skillz, I could shuffle things around so that I could actually fit a second growler in the Givi bag. Hooray! Back to the line I went.
If the bartender and my line buddy were impressed that I was fitting ONE growler onto the bike, my coming back for a SECOND one elevated me in their minds to near goddess status. Well, OK, probably not, but they did have a good laugh and said that I had my priorities straight.
In case anyone was wondering, the Givi case can hold a first aid kit, a back brace, my purse, a Timbuktu laptop case with MacBook Air, and 2 half-gallon bottles of beer.
Also in case anyone was wondering, a gallon of beer weighs a lot when put into one side of a Givi bag attached above the back of someone’s motorcycle. It was probably not my smartest move but, hey, now I have a 128 oz of beer. So it was worth it in the end.