Harley Davidson

I finished my first {motorcycle knitting} project and lived to tell about it.

imageIt’s just a little cotton dishcloth, but it’s the first knitting project that I’ve completed while riding as a passenger on the motorcycle.  This is what I learned:

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1.  Use circular needles.  I started out using straight needles but my motorcycle knitting mentor quickly reminded me to use circular ones.  If I drop a needle from one hand, my work won’t go anywhere, like down the highway.   Genius.  Thank you, Judy Theuerkauf.  For this project, I used 16″ 5 US/3.75 mm circular needles.  Perfect.

2.  Pick a small project.  Cotton dishcloths are the perfect size to keep behind and low.  “Flappage” is a major issue.  Keep your project size small to control flappage.  I’m not sure that flappage is a word, but you get what I mean.  At 70 miles an hour, you gotta control the flappage.

3.  Use a yarn with tooth.  I love Sugar ‘n Cream and this color is called Blue Jeans.  One-hundred percent cotton yarn has some grip to it and with that wind whipping by, you need all the grip you can get.  Save the alpaca for another day.

4.  Pick a pattern with an easy repeat.  There’s no room in your lap for a book or instruction sheet.  The pattern almost needs to be one that you can memorize.  Sometimes I cheat and write an abbreviated pattern on a post-it note and stick it inside my pack (see #7 below for pack info).  I love this little pattern book by Leisure Arts that has tons of nifty patterns that keep me amused and are quick learns.

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5.  Pull the skein from the inside so that there’s no tangling or a lot of excess live yarn.  If you pull too much, it will fly toward the front of the motorcycle and you don’t want to give your driver any distractions.  Chief can put up with an occasional needle point in the back, but yarn flying past his helmet is a no-no.

6.  Cast on and begin a couple of rows before you get on the bike.  You’ll have a firm start as you begin knitting on the road.

7.  Use something to contain and control your yarn.  Thank goodness I saved all of our 80’s fanny packs because they are perfect for this purpose.  I know you’re thinking, “thank goodness,” too.  I double-loop the strap around Chief’s backrest and it sits perfectly in front of me.  My hank of yarn is in the big zippered pouch and it’s zipped so that there’s only just enough room for the yarn to easily pull through.  So handy.  What to do if your bike doesn’t have a back rest?  I think you could strap the fanny pack to your thigh or put it on loosely around your waist, or Judy suggests pulling the yarn from a small day pack worn by the driver.   Another great idea!  Bonus points for the fanny pack >>>> the handy front pocket is a great keeper for my cell phone.

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See, I’ve already started my next project.

8.  Don’t give up easily.

Okay.  I probably need to answer this question for you…exactly WHY IN THE WORLD are you knitting on a motorcycle?  Well, I love to knit AND I love to ride a motorcycle.

Because, this happens

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riding on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

and thisimagesunset rides across Southern Indiana,

and this

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these are my people.

And sometimes, we take the interstate to make time, which isn’t particularly interesting and is sometimes, monotonous.  Knitting helps to pass the time on those long stretches of road and I really enjoy it.  It does, however, take a little practice and adjustment to conquer the wind and the bumps and the flappage.  DON’T GIVE UP.   You can do this.  Just like learning a new stitch or series of stitches, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be cruising along before you know it.

Are you a knitter?  Do you knit anywhere unusual? Tell me all about it…

I’m casting on my next project and we’re hitting the road!

#harleydavidson #riderforlife #everydayworkdate

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{Summer}

You know it’s a good summer when….

You have tan lines on your feet.

You’ve gone through one or more big jars of mayonnaise this season.

Your planters of annuals are still alive in August.

Your swimsuit is always hanging up to dry.

You buy vinegar, sugar, and canning lids at the grocery store every week.

You run out of bug repellant and sunscreen.

You have freshly sliced, homegrown tomatoes at every meal.

You occasionally wake up with your hair smelling like wood smoke.

You have a summer theme song. This year it’s “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.

Your kitchen floor is sticky (from too much canning, or ice cream making, or popsicles….take your pick).

You have selfies like this.

moto

 

Hope you’ve had one or more of these…

 

 

This is what you say to a motorcycle rider

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One of the best things I ever did was buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  It was a gift for my husband’s 50th birthday, and boy was he surprised.

He loves it.  I love it.  We’ve been riding together for six years and it’s a blast.

We now have two.

And our son just completed the ABATE of Indiana basic riding course.  He’s hooked.  Maybe that’s why his latest Instagrams look like this #riderforlife

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You may ride.

You may want to ride.

Or, you may never want to get on a motorcycle, to sit or otherwise.

But please say this when you talk to a rider, especially if you don’t ride or ever plan to ride yourself.

 

“I know that you enjoy motorcycle riding.  Tell me more.”

 

At least, that’s what Eric says people MEAN when they say things like

“You’ll never find me on one of those things.  They’re just too dangerous.”

or

“I trust myself.  It’s all the other crazy people out there driving that I don’t trust.”

or my personal favorite and the most frequent

“Let me tell you all about a bad motorcycle accident I saw/heard about/read about/thought about, and that’s why I’ll never ride a bike.”

Eric reminds me that people saying these things are just trying to keep the conversation going and are doing their best to contribute in a helpful manner.

He’s so nice.

I understand that many consider motorcycle riding to be a high risk activity.  I also understand that many are not interested in motorcycle riding as a matter of personal preference.  I get that.  I love roller coasters but am terrified by rides that go way-up-high and then drop.  Don’t like those. one. little. bit.  My palms are sweating just thinking about it.  But when I meet someone who likes those kinds of attractions, I don’t recite a list of all of the amusement park accidents and fatalities that I can recall.  That would be a joy breaker.  Literally Downer Deb.

As an alternative, acknowledging a rider’s love for the road and asking about their experiences encourages conversation, learning, and new perspectives for everybody.  And that’s so much better.  Trust me on this one.

You just might learn that most riders have taken at least one motorcycle safety training course and intentionally practice and refine those skills for their riding lifetime.

You just might learn that they are acutely aware of the health of their bikes’ engines, brakes, and tires, and meticulously clean and monitor all bike systems for wear and performance.  One of Eric’s favorite things to do after a day of riding is to polish his bike, putting his hands over every square inch of that motorcycle, and then he sits there at looks at it.  For hours.

You just might learn that riders are focused and serious while on the bike.  And that they can do this while fully enjoying every part of the ride experience too.  Eric compares his mindset on the bike to that of his private pilot training.  Know your bike.  Know your skills.  Know your road.  Search.  Evaluate.  Execute.

And as an aside, you just might learn that we all have a greater probability of demise as a car occupant, or by falling, or as a pedestrian, or by unintentional poisoning than as a motorcycle rider, as reported by the National Safety Council.  Probably also a Debbie Downer, but heck, I had to throw that in there.

Hey, we know that you love us.  And that you care.  And that you’re looking out for our best interests.

Just try it.  No horror stories.  No graphic details.

Your next biker buddy will love you for it.  Guaranteed.