Solstice Ride and Saying Farewell to Trudy

This year’s Summer Solstice marked a farewell ride on Trudy, my Triumph Tiger motorcycle. The day was gorgeous and sunny, perfect for a ride through the countryside. Only a short section of highway was necessary to get me to Sturgess Cycle, my local awesome Triumph dealer. There she was checked to confirm her fitness in preparation for a new home.

solstice ride
Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Solstice marks the time of year when there is greatest light. Symbolically, it’s an opportunity for insight and contemplation. We can envision what serves us and where we need to make space for new growth.

Change has been in the air for a few years. I once thought I thought I’d ride a motorcycle until I was in my nineties. This year it became clear that wouldn’t be the case.

Perhaps it was this knowledge that that heightened my senses during a backroad Appalachian tour to visit friends in May. Spring riding is enervating as it is. Lush deciduous forests burst with green energy. Mountain streams tumble over ancient rocks, the freshwater splashes and cavorts downhill on its way to the ocean as it has for millions of years. Vibrant energy surrounds me, obscuring even the derelict roadside shacks once filled with hope. Soon nature would reclaim them, leaving not a trace. I wanted to close my eyes and experience all the sensations, but of course I didn’t dare.

The reasons for leaving riding are many. My 3,000km/2,000-mile spring jaunt proved I have the skill. But I don’t have the same energy I once did to hop on and ride long distances. Odd as it sounds, I also don’t have the desire to ride, especially considering how much I’ve enjoyed riding and how central it’s been to my work.

As much as I could sense nature all around, I craved getting off. Riding is an almost total sensory and spiritual experience but you do have to pay attention. It doesn’t compare with slowing down, getting off, and feeling the earth beneath my feet. Only then can I close my eyes and take in the forest, hear the birdsong, and wade in the stream.

Mostly, my intuition and heart tell me it’s time. Riding has been a big part of my life for more than fifty years. Now it’s time to let that go and make room for new experiences. A groundswell of exciting opportunities and support call me in a new direction. I can’t do it all. Keeping skills sharp and muscle memory honed requires regular and frequent use, otherwise they get rusty and it becomes a safety concern.

While at Sturgess on my solstice ride, I picked up a memorial T-shirt for Chris Ellis, icon in the motorcycle industry as a Dealer Principal, racer, and Canadian General Manager of Triumph Motorcycles for twenty-five years. He provided tremendous support to me and countless others throughout his career. Chris was diagnosed with an advanced form of brain cancer and passed in March, 2021. Proceeds from the shirt sales go to the Department of Surgery Trust in support of the Division of Neurosurgery at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. Scripted on the back, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

My intent is to use my gifts and skills in highest service for my greatest good and the greatest good of all, in whatever format that is. We can hang on too long to something because it’s comfortable or because we’re afraid of change. Yet by not listening to our heart, we prevent ourselves from experiencing all that life has to offer. We have gifts we’re not using.

My solstice ride and saying farewell filled me with mixed emotions. Change always triggers grief but in this case is overshadowed by gratitude and anticipation. I may not be riding but the deep friendships, community, wisdom, and zest for life that have come with those years are with me forever. The adventures and life’s road continue, only the vehicle has changed.


Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

26 Comments on “Solstice Ride and Saying Farewell to Trudy

  1. Hi Liz,
    First of all I have to thank you for all the wisdom you have given us over the years. You are a caring, giving, generous woman with an inspirationally strong spirit. I’m sure you will tackle your new adventure as you have motorcycling. Full speed ahead!

    I too have been thinking a lot about my riding. Like you I don’t seem to have the same energy, desire or motivation to continue riding. I recently had my left knee collapse while getting off my parked V-Strom. (it appears that motorcycles can be dangerous even when parked.) While my knee continues to improve daily, my mental strength is another matter.

    In any event, I want to wish you success with your new adventure. You will always be in our hearts. Stay well.

    • Thanks Doug. You’re very welcome. I kept waiting for something to tell me my intuition was wrong but nothing came :). It’s time.
      You stay well also.

      • Thank you Liz for sharing your life and experience with so many of us. I am sure you will succeed in your future challenges. There is likely to be tears and heartache facing the present our ancestors created for us but who better than you to meet that challenge! Take care! Stay in touch!

        • Thanks Mary. Our ancestors also gave us the wisdom to deal with those challenges. Uncovering and sharing that will be my challenge. You bet I’ll stay in touch and you too!

  2. A big change indeed, Liz! But only you know your heart. Wisdom says to follow it. I know we will stay in touch. Enjoy your new adventures, my friend.

  3. As Doug has already stated I admire you so very much for tackling this and actually doing something about it. Since 1970 my motorcycles have been important. Now it is hard to find the desire to do all the GATT routine. especially if it is hot. The passion seems to be flickering. I just lost my partner in life Derek on April 20th and there is absolutely no mental capacity left for the concentration needed for safe riding. I feel my feet are in concrete….same feeling I had after my Saskatchewan going to sleep accident riding the BMW F650GS back in ’08. I took the first step and removed the insurance on 2 of the 650cc bikes; leaving the 290 lb Honda NX250.
    Your decision takes one heap of a lot of guts!!
    Good for you Liz!!

    All the best,

    • Dear Sue – My deepest condolences on your loss. I can’t imagine that grief. You are saying it’s taking all your mental (and dare I say emotional) capacity. Don’t fight that to try and ride. There’s too much at stake. It sounds like you are listening to that, one step at a time.

      Sue, did we not have a conversation at an HU meeting years ago about this very thing???

      You say my decision takes guts but I don’t see it like that. It wasn’t hard to do, but harder to believe it was happening. Yet it was. I accepted and allowed it. As it was happening, other things, like my studies, were also coming together. All the best to you Sue.

  4. Liz – heartfelt as usual, well done. I finally let the last bit of my motorcycle days pass with the decision to not renew the motorcycle classification on my drivers license renewal. I cherish (with delight) my motorcycle days but, like you, knew somewhere deep inside that those days were meant to be over. New horizons await! Best to you and all those who choose to comment. In spirit – Penny

    • Hi Penny, Thank you! Well said. There is no point hanging on to what is meant to be over. Best as always to you as well. Liz

  5. This speaks to me! There is not enough time or energy to pursue all there is to enjoy and as we get older we must choose wisely. Hugs! You will always be inspiring no matter what you’re doing or writing about. -Diane

    • Oh thank you Diane! That’s just it. So much to enjoy and we can’t do it all. Nor are we meant to. We must choose wisely. Thanks for your words of wisdom. Liz

  6. It is bittersweet time when one decides that “all good things must come to an end”. My moment is happening right now, told family and friends my adventure days on my big adventure bike are now over, their reply invariably “ we heard that before” . But I am on my last adventure, celebrated the summer solstice on top of midnight dome in Dawson City, Yukon. When I get home the bike will be displayed where I can revisit the memories of many great adventures. I have not given up riding but have purchased a small used bike with which to explore the local neighbourhood. The very best to you in your new endeavours without Trudy. I hope that you will not miss her too much.

    • Powerful solstice Dieter! Awesome that you spent it on the Midnight Dome. That’s celebrating in style!!! Love your story and your perspective Dieter. Thank hyou for sharing it and all the best to you as well.

  7. Liz, I heard an inkling of this when you visited recently, and we sat at my kitchen table talking about the future and what comes next. I anxiously await stories of your journey. In the meantime, the guest room is always available to you, and Lin and I anticipate your next visit, whether by motorcycle or car.

    • Brent, It’s always wonderful visiting with you and Lin. Thank you for your open welcome, wisdom, and riding me out of town! 🙂

  8. Thanks for a great story about change and insight. Yes there is a time to move on and it takes strength to recognize these changes. There are so many opportunities out there to discover, now you are on that journey of discovery. Enjoy finding that new passion. It is out there waiting to be discovered.

  9. Loved reading your words that cross all of our minds. I’m looking forward to seeing what is next for you. Hugs, my friend.

  10. Beautiful article, Liz. It is so refreshing to have the feelings I am sure many riders experience at some point so eloquently expressed. Thank you for sharing.

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