Thursday, May 01, 2014

Bad Attitudes, Good Burgers, Great Riding

After nearly six month of hibernation, I was a little worried about whether or not the Triumph would wake up in a good mood or not. I may have uttered a little, “Yes!” when she came to life with her characteristic “Woo hoo!”

"Finally! Where are we going? Are there curves?"
"Yes, Triumph. I think you'll like it."
I don’t know if all Speed Four motorcycles cheer when they start, but I like to think that they do.

As eager as we both were to get out there and tear up the roads, it seemed prudent to take it easy at first, to make sure everything was in order before trying to scrape the foot-pegs on the pavement. So the ride to lunch was rather leisurely, but a leisurely ride is better than no ride at all so I won’t complain.

Sometimes, along the byways and back ways, you might see a bar/restaurant with a sign out front that says, “Bikers Welcome!” The Lion’s Tap, notably, does not have a sign like that. They’re an establishment in their area, having existed in one form or another since around the 1930’s. You might expect a place that has won awards for their burgers, a place that brews their own beer, a place that is right along a pretty pleasant ride, to have a line of motorcycles outside.

Turns out you have to wrestle that lion before he'll
give you a burger and a beer.
The Triumph was the only bike in the parking lot. I should have taken the hint.

The bar is wood-paneled – like any good bar ought to be – and there was a decent crowd taking up stools at the bar, as well as filling most of the booths around the bar. None of the servers said hello, or so much as made eye-contact as I walked in.

I hung up my jacket on the back of a bar-stool and I guess I must have sat in the “No Talking Allowed” section. The bartender gave what I would call Bare-Minimum-Service, but I guess that's OK, since bartenders are there to pull beers, not make friends with random bikers. None of the patrons cared to talk either.

Don't worry, though. The lion is a wuss.
I ordered a cheeseburger and a 1919 root beer. 1919 is a treat, if you haven’t had it. It’s only available on tap, so by and large, it’s only available in bars. And it is good. If you get the chance, get it.

The burger was totally decent. I’d recommend them as long as you don’t arrive geared up on a motorcycle. Lunch passed quietly, and since I’d given up on making friends at the bar, I paid my tab and split as soon as I could manage.

I asked Triumph if she wanted to purify herself in
the waters of Lake Minnetonka
.  She told me to get bent.
To be honest, I was in a funk by the time I got out of the bar. I hadn't been expecting small-town cliquishness 5 minutes outside of a rather large town, and it got to me more than it should have. As I was getting geared up, I heard an enthusiastic kid, somewhere in my immediate vicinity. I turned and saw a toddler and his dad, checking out the Triumph. I smiled and said, “Hi!”

Nothing in reply. It didn't do much to lift my funk.

"What are we doing here, Lucky?"
"Check out the water tower, Triumph."
What did lift my funk was a fifty mile jaunt around Lake Minnetonka. The road curves and swoops its way around the west side of the lake, threading through neighborhoods, past a few spectacular homes, and affording quite a few nice views of the water.  I stopped at one point just to stare out at the lake, stretch, and shake off my bad mood. It worked.

"Oh.  Well, that's nice."
After that, I rode back to my place, but I didn’t really feel ready to park the bike yet, so I rode to a nearby parking lot to practice emergency braking and some tight circles. My skills have gotten a little rusty over the winter, but they weren’t too bad. A little more practice and I’ll be good to go.

The weather this week has been cold with rain and more rain, and I don’t have the gear to deal with this chilly weather yet (all of my gear is desert-ready), so the Triumph is staying parked. There’s a chance of decent weather this weekend though, so with any luck I’ll be able to get out riding again then. Fingers crossed!


mq01 said...

hmm :/ peeps with bad attitudes towards others really get under my skin, too. i'm sorry that you experienced that, Lucky. on the other hand, i'm happy to see that you turned that around with the smiley tower though, that's awesome!

i hope this weekends weather gives you a chance to get in a better, longer, funner ride!!!

Lucky said...

Thanks MQ! I guess the key is remembering that their bad attitudes are their problems. Easier said than done, but I can try. ;)

Fingers crossed for some good riding this weekend! I hope you get out for a long, fun ride too!

Canajun said...

Too bad you had such a downer experience at the bar. Fortunately it doesn't happen often, but when it does it's just hard to deal with.

But like you said, that's THEIR problem.

Weather is crappy here too. The snow and ice have finally gone, to be replaced by cold and rain. The bike is ready to go, but I'm not. The burn to get out on the road is just not there this year and I blame it on the weather. :(

Hope it improves soon - for both of us.

Richard M said...

I won't ruin your day by telling you about our weather but the social environment that you describe is more common than not and, I suspect, one of the reasons some choose to always ride with others. Personally, it wouldn't bother me much and overly talkative staff may be more annoying.

But nice that you are finally able to ride again!

Chris Cope said...

Had you been to Lions Tap before? In my experience they are always like that. They were like that in the early 90s, which is why I may have once deliberately emptied two bottles of ketchup onto the floor.

Lucky said...

Canajun - It's remarkable what a season of not-riding can do. I know where you're coming from on not having the burn to get out there. The good news is: the burn comes back fast once you're able to actually get the bike out.

RichardM - Maybe I was expecting too much, but I'd have thought the other patrons sitting at the bar would have been chatty. In most places, that's the whole reason for sitting at the bar. Oh well, it's just more reason to keep exploring.

Chris - I have to be honest, I've been laughing on and off since reading your comment. Two bottles? Nice.