Warm Memories to Chase Away the Winter Chill
Sometimes the journeys with no particular destination in mind are the best runs of all. The Rambling Man ruminates on his most memorable rides of '07 and waxes philosophically about the zen of motorcycling.
As is always the case with early winter in the Northeast, the meat of the season has all but faded to memory while the ambition to tackle bike modifications and long overdue bits of maintenance is awakening; a sort of reverse hibernation. It is in this period of reflection that some of the more memorable rides of the season begin to resurface amidst the fumes of lubrication sprays and the steady dripping of well-used oil into the catch-pan below.
I often find myself alone in the workshop late at night adrift in memory of those rides without a destination from the previous season, the moments of life where we are not in a race against any clock. What is it about the rides in which we are granted the opportunity to get completely lost in the moment that make them remain so clear in our memories? Perhaps it is then, when our attention isn't being tugged on by deadlines, timetables, or someone else's schedule, that we are allowed to slip off into the true oneness of man and machine that exists on every ride; epic or otherwise. The more in tune with that harmony we become, the more attention we are able to devote to the wind rippling across our leather sleeves, the sound of asphalt rushing past our tires and the color of the leaves on the maples blurring past. The feedback through the bars and the rumble of the piston bouncing in its cylinder bore wrap around our senses, saturating the moment with an odd peace amidst cacophony.
There is a lot to be said for those rare occasions when we break the commonly assumed flow of modern society in a deliberate effort to fall off the pace. When a destination simply represents a route that's laced with scenery, an abundance of curves to be negotiated, and seclusion from the very hand of civilization itself. In this odd world there is no such thing as being late or early, we arrive exactly when we arrive and so long as there is still fuel to burn, the ride continues. As is so often the case, these are the rides I regret not being able to have partaken in more often while the weather was good enough to allow it. And while fondness for the days I was able to ride to work or to meet up with friends for dinner is inevitable, somehow it pales in comparison to the carefree sense of adventure nestled within those destination-less jaunts and tours.
It is here that the juvenile rivalry between bike brands, riding positions, and performance numbers take the back seat to the memories unfolding in the moment - that rare opportunity where we look into the future knowing this very moment in time will be replayed again and remembered fondly long after the summer's sun is lost behind the purple clouds of winter.
While trying to locate a mysterious water leak on my GSX the other day, such reasoning had me convinced I could
So why do some people embrace motorcycling while others turn the other cheek? There is a romantic notion of freedom, of individuality, of a sense of purpose and place that you experience while behind the controls of a motorcycle that cannot be duplicated by anything else.
construct a pretty solid answer to the age-old question of why we ride. In its purest form, perhaps the promise to fall out of sync from the rest of society that comes invisibly packaged with each and every motorcycle that motivates some to ride and others to shy away. Over time, the very appearance of certain bikes manages to conjure imagery rich with romance and intrigue: Cruisers of gleaming chrome parked outside some dusty saloon or sportbikes hovering inches from the pavement in a tight switchback on some eternally sunny track day.
I paused, tightening a hose clamp with a small Phillips head. On the other hand, if a person is so out of touch with why we ride motorcycles that they have to ask in the first place, perhaps there are no words capable of convincing them otherwise. Is it possible that only a certain type of person has the ability to sense the true inspiration surrounding every bike like a bubble? Maybe not, and the manufacturers must surely realize this as well. Just pick up a sales brochure from your local dealership and thumb through it. How those photographers manage to capture the perfect sense of adventure for each and every model on the line is truly amazing and clearly helps to reiterate my point. They provide the images for those who lack the imagination to conjure up their own. Once the bike's home in our collective garages, the rest of the story is ours to write ... and to reflect upon during frigid nights in the workshop