Sometimes when you go on a moped ride it's just a ride. You're going from point A to point B and your mind just kind of fades out to the drone of the engine. But once in a while you have one of those transcendental moped rides.
you know what i mean. Or if you don't know, you'll know the second you get it. You're riding, and suddenly you're having this kind of slow-motion euphoric experience and you can't think about anything except how sublimely perfect this moment is, and something in that moment changes your perception of mopeds so fundamentally that you're never the same again.
The first time you ride in a pack and that feeling of being part of the swarm, that sensation of controlled chaos as stop lights are blocked and the whole mass moves through the city as one unit.
The first time you ride a fast moped, and you feel it just keep pulling and pulling and puulllinnnng... and you realize you're holding your breath because you're not sure when it's going to stop speeding up.
Night rides through the city. Barreling through tunnels and darting under street lamps that seem to strobe with your speed. I remember with such lucidity my first city night ride; swerving to slalom through concrete pylons, along the banks of an aqueduct, looking over at Mark Ryan and feeling like he's Kaneda and I'm Tetsuo and we're both such fucking badasses.
but tonight... _a challenger appears_
I'm at work when i hear thunder, go outside and see a crazy looking shelf cloud like something out of Independence Day with glowing lightning inside it. I wrap up my cell phone in plastic, whisper determinedly to myself "you can beat this thing home" and take off on a mostly stock 2-speed Puch. I get about 8 blocks before the cold front hits me in the back at 40mph.
Rain dumps on me. I don't have a front fender and water starts flying into my face and fogging up my glasses. As I approach the corner the wind suddenly shifts direction and gets a lot more intense, suddenly the air is full of leaves and garbage. I hear a massive groaning sound and all the lights go out around me. The stoplight goes black and two cars barely evade crashing into each other.
_and at this moment, i transcended._
I'm not hurrying home anymore. I'm having a riding experience. i weave through the chaos of the blacked out intersection, and immediately see half of a tree has landed in the street, and knocked down power lines into the street. doesn't phase me. the rain is moving sideways in front of me, i cant see anything as my tire throws greasy water on my glasses. at the last second i see a leafy tree branch the size of a VW Bug right in front of me. No time to stop i tuck down and ride through it.
I ride past a graveyard, over the railroad tracks and over the bridge into the countryside and as the horizon opens up I can finally see that there's a 30-foot wide path of destruction cutting diagonally across the zig-zag route i take to get home.
Yet all I feel is that serenity of being in a moped moment. Police and fire trucks speed past me in the opposite direction, i dont care, its a moped ride. I ride through a puddle deep enough to submerge my exhaust, I see cars pulling over because the weather is too crazy. But I keep riding. I keep riding and loving it and all i can hear is that Band of Horses song playing in my head.
as i round the last corner before the 3-mile stretch of open country riding that eventually comes back into town and right to my front door i realize that my seemingly indomitable spirit has inspired a line of a dozen or so cars to carefully follow me through the chaos and out of town. including a police car. I turn the corner and suddenly the wind is at my back and it's pushing me. its pushing the water away from my face too, which means i can start to see whats going on. lightning is striking the ground all around me. suddenly i realize the wind has stopped blowing. and then a lobster-sized piece of wet tree bark falls from the sky and hits me in the visor. the wind is back, but it's swirling, buffeting me from all directions and pushing me across the lanes. 20 yards away in a field i see a tree bending to touch the ground and watch as a branch rips loose and floats slowly, almost magically right up to me and hit me square across the chest.
i just smile, too immersed in the moment to care about the personally dangerous implications of watching the landscape around me is being dismantled. Its just me and my moped, riding in a kind of surreal dreamland and i'm humming _"doo doo da doo... I'll be ready for the funeral..."_
about a mile from home the wind suddenly hits me so hard that i am phisically lifted from the Puch, and i fly into a ditch. My first thought is "look at that, the bike is still idling. that new condensor did the trick."
By the time I arrive at my house, there are sirens and flashing lights on darkened street corners all over town. tree limbs and garbage cans litter the streets. I walk through my front door soaked from head to toe, one leg covered in mud and grass, and find Power Animal Michael on my living room floor watching the weather report on tv.
"You'll never guess what I just did!" I say. "WOOOOOAAAAH!" he replies, "...WAS IT CRAAAZY???"
"yeah" i say. "it was perfect."