Community Commentary Lieback's Lounge: This Will All Pass

Lieback's Lounge: This Will All Pass [Thoughts on Simic and Motorcycles]

There is a menace in the air

Of tragedies in the making.

These lines are from “Late September,” written by the American minimalist poet Charles Simic. The Harvard Review calls Simic, “Perhaps our most disquieting muse.”

It’s late September as I type this, and Simic’s words do prompt anxiety.

Around this time, I’m typically boasting about some unique story from my latest trip, whether the trip was a rip around the local mountains, a launch at a European MotoGP circuit, or a solo motorcycle trek a few states away while contemplating the world.

But this September – always a favorite month due to cooler fall weather here in Pennsylvania – prevented any of those rants from happening.

First, there is my tennis elbow, which I wrote about last month. The only enjoyment from the article was the use of a Van Damme picture. I finally watched the Cobra Kai series on Netflix over a few nights. Van Damme is lucky I didn’t see that sooner, or his image would have been replaced with Johnny’s.

Johnny from Cobra Kai

Tennis elbow sucks. I’m about 96 percent healed – a number I invented, and one that is super optimistic. Why couldn’t this alignment arrive in January when the world goes mostly gray, and ice covers my favorite roads?

Nope, the injury surfaced mid-July and escalated during a motorcycle trip up north with some of my favorite riding friends (they don’t ride slow).

Then this homeschooling thing due to COVID began, pausing more of September’s riding beauty. My son Enzo had to start his kindergarten year from home. Besides the duties of my position at Ultimate Motorcycling and running my digital marketing agency, my wife and I also had to teach. I enjoy every second because I know this will all pass, and it is impressive observing his education growing in real-time.

But still, it’s tough. September and October are my favorite ‘lunch ride’ months. Every day, I typically ride for an hour or so and just pin the throttle to clear the head, whether on the Ducati 1198 in full leathers, or the KTM 1190 Adventure R in ADV gear. For me, those small rides do more for energy levels and clarity than any drug or pastime on this planet.

As Simic’s poem says, there is a certain menace in the air, a sentiment especially true for September 2020.

As for those tragedies in the making, well, that’s where I call BS from this reader’s perspective.

Due to my past experiences, from crashes that led to metal body parts, cracked skulls, and a persistent numb thumb, I also believe in the positives from everything.

The big one for me this month was the release of my debut book, 365 to Vision: Modern Writer’s Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

First, COVID-19 times provided much downtime. I didn’t sulk; instead, I finished my book in six weeks (read: finished, not edited). I spent more quality time with my family and reorganized many thoughts about just why I’m not doing something I love every minute of the day.

Second, the tennis elbow and lack of riding provided some added hours for figuring out the publishing game and marketing my book through advertising and other channels.

Third, the incentive to ride soon prompted revisiting my collection of riding books and notes from the riding/racing schools I’ve participated in throughout the past 10 years.

I’ve only ridden twice since August 1 – once a week ago for 180 miles aboard my classic Ducati Monster 900 S i.e., and earlier this week aboard the Multistrada while taking the ‘long’ route for a haircut.

Both rides felt beyond amazing, but due to not riding for such an extended period. I had never missed riding for more than a week-long stretch in over a decade, and I felt sloppy.

As I said, I’m 96 percent now and plan on full riding ability by October 1. That means racetracks and serious ADV riding. I’m not going to miss my second-favorite month of the year. And I better return with some serious riding stories for my next column slated for the November issue.

For September, I’m concurring with Simic that there was a particular menace in the air. I’m not too sure about tragedies in the making, though, because all those menaces turned positive in some ways.

October better be different. And my motorcycles will help tell the stories.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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