Hey There, my good motorcycle riding buddies!
I hope ya all are livin the dream!
If you aren’t, try to figure out how to make it happen. Because, I’m tellin ya, you only get one shot at this, and if you don’t do what needs doin, you will regret it. If you find yourself in a situation where’s you have a whole lotta crap and money, but not many memories, friends, or happiness … well, time to bust a move!
For this post, I want to share with you a bit about my passion for motorcycles, and how it’s changed my life. How I went from having a lotta crap and money, and wondering “What’s this all about?” to “Hell to the YEAH! Let’s git er ON!”.
Like most people, I was plodding along, doing the corporate thing, making some good money, buying some useless stuff ( Where’s My STUFF?! ), watching some crappy television, playing video games. You get my drift. It dawned on me that there has to be more to life than this.
I’m not sure what triggered it. Maybe it was getting back in touch with childhood friends, and hearing about their riding adventures.
Or, more likely, since I grew up riding dirt bikes, the thought of getting back on two wheels had always been lurking in the recesses of my noggin.
A few years back, I finally busted a move, and bought my beloved Yamaha FJ-09. ( Now called the MT-09 Tracer ).
Man alive. Sometimes I ask myself “Why didn’t I bust a move years earlier?”. But, truth be told, I’m just thrilled that I did it at all. And, more importantly, I did it before it was too late!
Like many people who are thinking of busting a move, I was getting the usual “Don’t do it” from some friends and family.
“Oh, you don’t want to ride a motorcycle. Too dangerous. You’ll injure, or kill, yourself.”. I thought to myself “Sure, I might kill myself, but I’d rather die while riding, than die how most people die. That is, of a nasty disease.”. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have some sort of death wish. I can just think of worse ways to die, than while riding.
Ok, enough of that morbid death crap, let’s talk about the Passion of The Motorcycle!
The first thing you will discover is, riding is freegen fun, man! FREEGEN FUN!
Even if you’re just puttering down the straights, you will enjoy being out in the open, like a naked babe in the wind. Being able to feel the elements, smell the smells, and see the sights all around you. It’s a wondrous feeling. If you’re like me, and you like carving the hills, then this I can tell you … There is only one, or perhaps two things, that I can think of, that might be more enjoyable.
One of them is, for me, what I did much of, during my younger years, and that’s rock climbing.
The other is … well, I’ll let you decide on what that might be.
Perhaps, it’s vacuuming the carpet, or something else. Hell, I don’t know! But, whatever it is, I can tell you, riding a motorcycle is right up there with it, and don’t let your significant other tell you otherwise!
Very soon, after busting a move, you will discover that you are now an official member of a small, tight knit community.
Congratulations! If you didn’t have many friends before, you now have a boatload, whether you like it, or not.
Yes. Your eyes don’t deceive. That is the actor Katee Sackhoff, who played the character Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, in the Battlestar Galactica television series. Starbuck was the character that kicked everybodies ass. Fortunately, for me, because she was riding that day, and hence, was in a good mood, I did not get my ass kicked. Ha. Actually, like most motorcycle riders, she is a very nice, down-to-earth person.
Katee happens to ride, and I happened to run into her, that day, while out riding.
As I said, it’s a small community and many a well-known person rides.
The actor, Keanu Reeves, rides. The drummer of the band Rush, Neal Peart, rides. And, many others ride. Don’t be surprised if you run into one of them. Especially, if you ride in California. Just don’t ask them about acting. Most of them prefer to talk about … yup, motorcycles and riding! And, don’t be surprised if the chats get heated and passionate. More about that, coming up.
Here in Bend, Oregon, the motorcycle community is lucky to have places to hang out, like Spoken Moto.
These are places where it’s easy to get to know your local riding buds.
You can read more about Spoken Moto here: A Word on Spoken Moto
In addition to regular hangouts, there are often motorcycle gatherings and events going on. Especially during riding season.
Group rides are a great way to meet riding buds.
The site, Meetup.com, will most likely have a riding group in your area. Just sign up, show up, be cool ( Don’t stare at your phone all day, like an anti-social dork. ), and have fun. There you go. You now have some new friends.
I’ve been talking about the riding community, and meeting new friends, but one of the other equally great pleasures I get from being a member of the motorcycle club is … the joy of working on my magnificent machine!
Otherwise, known as “wrenching”.
I often tell people, “I enjoy wrenching on my bike, as much as I do riding it”.
These are beautifully engineered machines, and if you have even the slightest curiosity as to how they work, there is no better way to find out, than by taking them apart, and then trying to figure out how to fit the pieces back together.
Also, there is something about being by oneself, in the garage … or the kitchen, or living room, or master bedroom, as the case may be. Just you and your machine. Perhaps a bit of music playing in the background. It is so peaceful and serene. All the craziness going on in the world is out of sight and out of mind. The only thing spinning in your head is, admiring the elegance and beauty of the parts, and wondering how the parts work together, to enable you to sit atop your machine, and discover the world.
If you lack self-confidence in working with tools, and fixing things … well, working on a machine on which your life depends, will help to overcome that.
Granted, many people do not wrench on their own bikes, but if you can learn to do even just the simplest of bike maintenance tasks … For instance, change the oil … This, my riding buddies, can be a great start towards instilling the confidence to take on bigger jobs.
At the least, it will not only give you confidence in knowing that you can work with tools, but don’t be surprised if you gain confidence in other areas of your life. For instance, negotiating a job salary, planning a trip, starting a business, or hosting a dinner party.
Yes, my friends, as I’ve said, the Passion of The Motorcycle can change your life in many wonderful ways.
In addition to actually wrenching, chatting with riding buds about wrenching, often over a pint, can be just as joyous.
I’ve had many a long, and enjoyable, conversation having to do with how tight the chain should be, or, do you really need to install a new oil filter with every oil change.
If you thought conversations having to do with politics can get heated … ha ha … let me just say, the riding community can get very, very passionate on particular topics.
Probably the biggest change in my life, once I discovered motorcycles, was an increase in focus and distraction.
Whoa! Say what?! Focus AND distraction? Both? How does that work?
When I’m on the road and enjoying yet another wonderful riding adventure, for purposes of safety and survivability, I tend to be very focused on every little thing that is going on around me. As I’ve logged more and more miles, during the past few years, I’ve gotten so focused, I can often see, from several hundred yards away, things that seem, lets just say, “not right”.
The head of the car driver, looking down ever so slightly, as the car is about to pull out.
Or, a small bit of a pine cone on the road, as I’m leaning into a blind corner.
On the flip side, I’m also distracted.
When I’m carving a corner, with a steep drop-off on one side, and a big pickup truck on the other, my mind is certainly not on the latest crazy news headline.
Even when I’m just cruising through a beautiful wooded forest, my mind is only on the ride, and the beauty of the trees. I’m thinking about what a great day it is to be alive, and how wonderful that pint of beer is going to taste, when I finally get to where ever the day’s riding is taking me.
And, this my friends, is the essence of The Passion of The Motorcycle.
As Hans and Fran used to say, “Hear me now and believe me later, when I tell you … it will change your life!”.
I just want to end this post with a plug.
Like I said, the motorcycle community is small, and we all try to help each other out. If you listen to podcasts, do take a listen on this one, from a group in Santa Cruz, that goes by the name “Motorcycles and Misfits”. As I said, conversations about motorcycles can be heated and very passionate. This podcast will prove that out.
Until next time! … As always! … Ride HARD! Ride GOOD! Ride like you know you SHOULD!