August 9, 2013

Beemer Memories Pt. 7 ~ the last run

1972 BMW R60/5 motorcycle
photo by Styrous®
(click on any image to see larger size)

It was one year ago today, on August 9, 2012, that I went on my last bike run. It was with Bob and John, both members of the Oakland Motorcycle Club.

The month before, in July, I'd helped a little on the club's Three Bridges Run (something about that later). I didn't have the stamina to do the 3 Bridges that time, thus, I did a "Geezer Run" with them. Did I hear you ask, "What in the world is a 'Geezer Run'?" Very well, I'll tell you. It's a short-distance motorcycle run for mature (ok, old) guys, or gals for that matter, who can't or don't want to do the longer runs which require endurance. But in reality, it's for anyone who wants a short bike run, ergo the two kids who rode with me.

So, on that glorious day in August, I started out early and met up with the guys in the OMC's parking lot around noon. It was a blistering hot day! Perfect for riding!

 that's my Beemer on the left
photo by Styrous®

well . . .

We spent a while trying to figure out where we'd go while I goofed around taking silly photos of ourselves.

Tres Amigos
John on the left, Bob on the right
(helmet hair in the middle) 
photo by Styrous®

We took off and rode up to the ridge-top road along the hills overlooking Oakland, the views from which are spectacular. It's an incredible ride smack in the middle of a major metropolitan area. It was a beautifully clear and sunny day with air that had been scowered by the overnight fog; crystal clear as it can only be in the San Francisco Bay Area. We followed the tree-lined road into the hills overlooking Berkeley and rode a bit through Tilden Park. In the park, we stopped for lunch at the posh Tilden Park Golf Course.

photo by Styrous®

We had a "functional" lunch in the golf course restaurant but what made it special was the camaraderie the three of us had in the baking-hot shade (it was like sitting in an oven) of the restaurant's veranda as we lingered over lunch and talked.

After lunch we hopped on our bikes and took off. I rode for a couple of minutes then realized I didn't have my motorcycle gloves on (it was a zillion degrees and they were easily missed). I signaled to the guys I was turning back. I traced the way we'd come several times but couldn't find the gloves. I could have bought another pair later but these gloves had special significance to me. They were gauntlet-type, full leather, motocycle gloves. The gauntlet part of most of the gloves being made now are vinyl; full-leather ones are hard to find. Also, I'd bought them when I bought my Beemer in 1972 so they had sentimental value for me.

motorcycle gauntlet
photo by Styrous®
I was about to give up when Bob rode up to me and handed my gloves to me. He'd found them on the side of the road. Thanks, Bob, and Saint Anthony.

When we finally got back on the road again, we back-tracked in the direction we'd come. This time we were on the view side of the road so we stopped to check out the view.

my Beemer and the view
photo by Styrous®

Bob and John checking out the view
photo by Styrous®

what they were looking at . . . 

The Golden Gate Bridge in the fog,
Alcatraz, on the left
photo by Styrous®

I got this amazing shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island (immortalized in numerous movies and novels) and the beautiful San Francisco bay but I was bone-tired and completely exhausted by that time.

I got on my bike and was riding along a sharply curved, very steep part of the road when I lost control of the bike. I missed the turn, veered off to the left into the on-coming traffic lane then on to a shoulder turn-out on the opposite side of the road. I had been extremely lucky as most of the road had NO shoulder turn-outs; also, I had narrowly avoided running head-on into a car during the maneuver. Needless to say, the whole incident scared the $#!‡ out of me.


When I got home from the run (with an enormous sigh of relief I might add) I realized that for over forty years I had been driving without an accident and that I had been lucky beyond all statistics imaginable.

I put my helmet and motorcycle gloves (the ones I'd bought in 1972) away with the realization I didn't have the strength and agility of my younger years for riding anymore. I also understood the events of the day were signaling me that it was time to quit pushing my luck; it was time to hang up the keys. This would be the last run.

helmet & 1972 BMW motorcycle ignition key
photo by Styrous®


I do not regret my decision to give up riding for one second. I have 40 years of fantastic biking memories and I have had adventures galore; not many people can say that. And I could not possibly have had a better "Last Run" than the one I had that day.

Thanks, Bob and John, you and my last run were terrific and in spite (or maybe because) of the scary moments, one I'll always treasure!

Safe, sane and good riding to all you bikers out there.

Styrous© ~ August 9, 2013


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