My ass is sore. On my ride down from San Francisco to Santa Cruz to meet up with my riding partner, Guillermo Payet, I discovered a few new things about my Honda CM400c. One is that the throttle vibrates and makes my hand a little numb. The other is that my bike is not a cruiser.
It is not ass friendly.
I spent some time, just north of Davenport, debating whether or not I can use words like “ass” in this blog. I’d decided yes, primarily because there’s no more satisfying way to express it. My ass is sore. And, I don’t think California farmers and our good friends (our intended audience) will mind such language. Guillermo has just agreed. “If they don’t like it, fuck 'em. It’s our blog”
Ok. So I guess “ass” is not a problem after all
I’ve just completed my first leg of this inaugural “Bike to Barn” motorcycle trip on my trusty M-Bike, which I began riding only last year. I now find myself in the home of Guillermo Payet, founder of LocalHarvest (www.LocalHarvest.org), and my riding companion for the next four days.
Guillermo will probably think I’m nuts. While he’s been geeking out, loading farm information into his new GPS and building the blog for this trip, I’ve been battling some pre-trip anxiety. I keep in mind, our collective goal is to get out and have an amazing journey, tell stories from the farm and meet the people Guillermo has been connecting with on LocalHarvest since 1999. However, I cannot lie, I have a personal agenda on this trip. It’s to complete it alive and functioning, with four limbs - much the way I was as I was bungying my sleeping bag to my bike in Sausalito this morning.
Guillermo shouldn’t have any pre-trip anxiety. He was riding bikes up mountains and along dirt roads in Lima, Peru when he was just 18. I asked him when he started riding bikes in his motherland, and he answered confidently, “As soon as my mom didn’t have any power to stop me.” Guillermo also has 700 more cc’s than I do with his ’95 BMW R11GS.
Now my mechanics, Jefferson and Charlie at Charlie’s Place in San Francisco, have assured me I’ll be ok on the coastal roads with my little engine. Just this morning, I was parked at a light on Gough, when a long dirty white 1970’s-ish car pulled alongside me. It was Jefferson, looking quite hungover with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. “Tomorrow, this bike will be in LA!” I gave him a thumbs up. He looked M-bike up and down and still with his cigarette in his mouth muttered, “I think you’ll be ok.”
I really screwed myself by renting a 750 nighthawk in Maui last week – discovering how much a few extra Ccs can help stabilize a bike around curves and against wind.
Thank goodness I’m used to the gusts across Golden Gate Bridge, and have experienced the gut wrenching sideways pushing of my bike already. When I saw 50 foot trees bowing down to the coastal winds today, I gave myself over to the elements and drove without fear.
Guillermo has decided we’ll start heading south tonight, and will camp near Big Sur. We’re hoping to keep a lunch date tomorrow at the Coleman family farm in Carpenteria. Guillermo is running around packing and I’ve asked him if he ever gets pre-trip anxiety. Without pause, he answered. “Everytime I go somewhere, I think about my mortality. Because if you become too complacent, that’s when you plghhhhfp.”
My mom will be glad to hear that.
I think about my mortality. Last night on my houseboat, I almost choked on a piece of melon and I thought, would I rather die on my kitchen floor with a piece of unidentifiable melon in my throat, or on a 4 day motorcycle trip visiting family farms in coastal California?
Clearly, I’ve made that decision. And I want to keep in mind what incredible personal and professional opportunities are at hand here. One of the projects I have to complete for my job as Outreach Coordinator at Nextcourse, (http://www.nextcourse.org) is to help write our outreach program mission statement. We run programs teaching courses on cooking, nutrition and sustainable food systems for women in the SF County Jail and child-care givers in Visitacion Valley, and will be starting new programs with high school kids in San Francisco this fall.
I’ve been a little stuck, trying to concisely articulate the myriad things we do at Nextcourse, and what impact we have on the people we work with, as well as the greater food system. I had a realization this week, while attending the Food Alliance Roundtable at City Hall, that while refining our focus and educational offerings at Nextcourse, I need to also understand what needs exist - both the needs of the various entities of the food system community, and those of the populations we're trying to reach. Hopefully, this visit to the farms will help me see an even bigger piece of this intricate puzzle. It's the puzzle all of us who toil for food justice and sustainable food systems know must soon be put together.