ATGATT... Me? Naahh!

Happyfeet's picture

Points: 4

Once you get into riding, ATGATT means everything. ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME! Slogans like "Be Safe, Not Sorry", or "Rather sweat to death than bleed to death" keep most on the straight and narrow. As I say, most...

After a tiring week I put my phone off to sleep-in this morning, something I never do - that is, phone off or sleeping late. Just after 8am I hear my dad knocking and walking in (I was up at 6 to open up for the dogs, but went back to bed). My mom, dad and sister wanted to know if I wanted to join them for a ride.

To make a very long drama short: It was almost 10 by the time we had sorted helmets for the oldies, organised all the dogs, as mine broke out, prevented Bambi from eating my (bike!) seat and Bumper from pushing the other bikes over (the tame cattle). By then it looked as if I had just got out the shower. My hair and shirt was drenched - did I mention it was hitting 32'C in the Karoo today? Next, Mom, Dad and my sister declare they will not be wearing any protective gear. I was aghast, as I already felt quite naked not wearing my neck brace. Since we were going 50kms up the road and with the small scrambler in front, probably not much faster than 60 or 70km/h, I decided I could leave the neck brace for once. Strangely, with sweat burning my eyes, I didn't seem to take too long making a similar decision regarding my jacket.

Which I came to regret before even going out the farm gate. And for the next 30 kms, I wanted to turn around and get my jacket, as the boots, kneepads, gloves and helmet could not give me the sense of safety I needed. Although the wind on my arms was a wonderful feeling, the amount of adrenaline rushing through me was more than the time I did the sand-fairy course in the dunes or blew my knee with a fall!

You know that feeling of coming into a corner too fast and then you manage to make it without breaking your neck? Or doing something a bit more technical than you should, and you get through, breathing hard on the other side, not because you are so tired, but you realized it's a miracle you are still breathing? Well try going without protective gear after ALWAYS having it on. My nerves were shot!

My sore back, stiff knees, hunched shoulders and cramping fingers let me realize I need a serious mind change if I was going to enjoy this trip at all. I was so stressed out they could take me straight to Groen Dakkies. I tried to relax a bit and started noticing things. I noticed the fruit trees, how green the mountains were after last week's rain and I noticed how quiet the road was. I noticed the refreshing cool air against my arms and my T-shirt was bellowing at my back.

I LOVED the sensation! Freeeeedom! The sky was blue and I was happy. No wonder those Harley guys never wore gear!! I was still marvelling in my newfound freedom when a bunch of bikers approached us from behind.  Harleys! AND they were geared to the teeth?! I suddenly felt like a dam-duiker plaasjapie (which of course I was, but manage to hide it from most). No gear on a small Scrambler is still one thing, but on my Beeemer?! Fortunately, the feeling of embarrassment did not last too long and I enjoyed the rest of the ride to Barrydale.

After a nice breakfast and wonderful visit with my family, we headed back home. By now it was midday and the sun had to make up for the last few days of cooler weather. Fortunately, there was a nice breeze from the front and I enjoyed the wind lifting my sleeves onto my shoulders. At least I can lessen that T-shirt tan this year! My shirt was also lifting at my back and as long as I didn't see anyone in the rear mirror, I made use of the Vitamin D.

Just to give you an idea of my state of mind regarding this next part: My hubby passed away earlier this year and I seemed to have found myself in a dark hole I just could not get out. Not prone to negative thoughts, depression or wallowing in self-pity, this time I somehow cannot get over the loss of my soul mate. So...

Going very slow, I hung back a bit, as I loved twisties and wanted to do the Op De Tradow pass slightly faster than what we were travelling. My daydreaming had me hang back a bit further than I intended, giving me the opportunity to really get into the twisties. Probably a little faster than one should without your gear, Brutus swallowed the turns as if we were made for it. The faster speed lifted my shirt till under my chin, exposing all kinds of X-rated unmentionables. Short of standing up (and slowing down), there was nothing I could do about it. The twisties, the wind, the speed, the exposed skin, the danger and the thrill of not giving a damn put me in a mindset I have never been in on a bike before. It was awesome! Some kind of freedom you cannot explain unless you've been on a bike jacket-less, (almost) shirtless and feeling guilty and pleasure all at the same time. Boy, I have missed feeling so alive?!

Got home in one piece and live to ride another day.

Will I go without ATGATT again? I don't know? To bring things into perspective: I do enjoy adventurous stuff and have sometimes tested the limits a bit. I have travelled through the country on my own (before it became so popular), I have gone over the 4x4 route Antoniesberg pass in the rain (yeah, and fell 3 times), did a Transkei trip with no experience and today believe Geoff should have locked me up and threw the key away! I rode parts of the Baviaanskloof at night in the pouring rain, did large parts of Namibia on sandy roads I couldn't handle, got lost in the mountains - more than once, and guess riding without a GPS ain't so smart? And all of that on a bike where my toes barely touch the ground.

HOWEVER, somehow, riding without proper gear tops the most stupid things I have done in the name of adventure. I'm (almost) a big girl now and way less reckless. I had a blast today. But I guess... This thrill should only be repeated in my mind again?

Charles Oertel's picture
Joined: 2007/04/14

Hey Jinx

Lovely report.  Sorry I missed the sight of your unmentionables in the wind laugh.  And my condolences on the loss of your soul mate - you have every right to be devastated about it.  Be kind to yourself and ride more (with or without ATGATT wink)

Committee: Webmaster / Ride Captain

Zanie's picture
Joined: 2013/11/21

I love your writing style - many laughs! The best of course being the "X-rated unmentionables".

I find it difficult to ride without ATGATT. I even ride to work in full battle gear (including motocross boots) and then change.

My sincere condolences on the loss of your hubby. I cannot even begin to wrap my brain around what that must be like. I felt ill enough when Lance went AWOL on the last ride.

Mwendo's picture
Joined: 2011/04/13

Hi Jinx,

Heartfelt condolences on your loss!

Many thanks for a very enjoyable read. We must occasionally "go mad" to preserve our sanity - well done!

The only problem with hindsight, is you don't see it coming!

Joined: 2007/06/25

Jinx it's good to see you on the forum again. Our sincere condolences on the loss of that special friend.

Think before you ink.

Trust is the most valuable asset.

I have the rest of my life to get old.

Happyfeet's picture
Joined: 2010/02/12

Thanks for all the nice comments, really appreciate it. blush

Holidays are almost here.Too hot for me in the Karoo, but what are your plans regarding a trip these holidays? Riding somewhere interesting?

Jinx Louw

I don't suffer from insanity, I love every minute of it!

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