Why Do I Ride?
Why do I ride? This is something I never really gave a lot of thought to. I just ride. Today I sat back and started to take a look at some reasons I started to ride and why I ride now.
Years ago the bottom line was it was just plain cool and I loved it. Getting on a mini bike and or dirt bike was just plain cool. How do you beat the feeling of being able to go faster than you can pedal with a simple twist of the wrist? Whenever the choice came up as to whether to ride my bicycle or mini/dirt bike, it was the dirt/mini bike hands down. When I was growing up, Evil Knievel was the big thing. Oops, did I just give my age away?…lol. Getting on a dirt bike and jumping anything was downright exhilarating.
You Just Threw Caution To The Wind
Living on Long Island, way back then we had lots of woods to ride in. My favorite spot was a wooded area right down the road from my house. It had a wide-open area with different size dirt hills for jumps and one area that was completely tree-covered with some great trails. You just threw caution to the wind and started to ride. When you are young, you feel like you are invincible. It was just a freeing feeling. I remember spending many hours in those woods. It was just cool and I loved it. Now these days, the great big wooded and jump area is long gone. They are now condos, a CVS, and residential housing.
Had To Go On The Back Burner
Over the years, I got married and had kids. Motorcycle riding was put on the back burner for a little while. But then it started happening, over time, I would see a motorcycle go by and it started to pry open that yearning to start riding again. I would try and bring it up to my wife at the time how great it would be to start riding again. No good!!! I would just get shot down!!!!
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As you can imagine, I always got the same responses, things like it’s dangerous, it’s a waste of money and anything else she could throw at me for not getting a bike. The problem was that I just couldn’t stop the feelings from coming. I had to stop my thoughts. They were driving me nuts. But how? You got it. Came home with an old Yamaha RD400 that someone was selling for dirt cheap at work. It sounded like a chainsaw when it was running and smoked like hell. So why did I do it? Well, because it’s cool and I just love riding. As you can imagine it did not go over well at the home front….At first. There were some very quiet dinners…lol.
Something Amazing Happened
Then an amazing thing happened. One day, as my pregnant wife and I were sitting and relaxing, out of nowhere she comes out with a statement that blew my mind. She said that bike is falling apart. That was definitely true. The exhaust pipe fell off about 2 miles down the road after leaving the DMV road test…lol. Why don’t you get a new one? Wait…what? Was I dreaming? Did I just hear that? Off to the dealer. She actually sat on the bikes I was looking at to make sure she would be comfortable on the back. This was too good to be true!!! After looking around the showroom floor for a while, a bike was bought. A nice new shiny Kawasaki Vulcan!!!!
I picked it up in March and rode it all over the place showing it off. I wound up at my in-law’s house. While I sat there eating a snack with my ear to ear smile, someone just had to kill the moment. Hey, Dennis, you might want to get that bike home, it’s snowing!!!
Sidelined Again By Cancer
As the years passed there was a ton of riding both by myself, and with my wife (when we could get babysitters), and with friends. Even had a bout with cancer in my 30’s that couldn’t keep me off that bike. When my chemo treatments were completed, I used to ride to my follow up appts!!! Why? because it was cool and I loved it!!!
But then the marriage dissolved, and financial problems sidelined me for a while( divorces are expensive!!!) Unfortunately under the circumstances the motorcycle had to be sold but the thoughts and memories always made me smile. I had to put the pieces of my life back together. The one thing that was a constant was whenever I got in a funk and was feeling crappy, I just thought of riding and it would cheer me up.
The Bug Was Back!!!
It didn’t take very long before the bug was coming back. I think it was only a couple of years later and that motorcycle yearning started in my blood flow again. Time to buy another bike!!! That ear to ear smile was back. Back to riding everywhere. Time to head to dealerships. Hell yeah!!!! Hello, Honda Shadow!!!! This was the point that I decided I would never be without a bike again and I never was. I changed bikes a few times but never went without. If there was no snow or ice, I rode. Why? Because it was cool and I love it!!!
Thank You, Shawn!!!
One day at work, we had called an outside vendor to replace a windshield on one of the University vehicles as our shop did not do that type of work. While he replaced the windshield we started talking about motorcycles. He was also a rider. He told me about a thing called Meet Up groups. It is a bunch of people from all walks of life that come together for 1 reason. To ride. He said he belonged to a couple and that I should try it. That was about 10 years ago. Even though I have moved to another state, we still remain friends and even rode down here in Florida when he came to visit his parents!!!
I wound up joining a group and before long I was in 3 of them. What a great experience. How do you beat it? A bunch of people coming together on any given day for one purpose, to ride. Awesome. I even went on to take over one of those groups with the help of a friend of mine (yup, someone I met through Meet-Up.)
Naysayers Will Always Be There
Of course over the years and still up to this day, there are the naysayers. I still constantly hear things like it’s too dangerous, I would never ride a donor cycle, you will get wet if it rains, your chances of serious injury or death in an accident is much higher on a motorcycle and things like that. The worst part is they are all right. Even though I consider myself a safe rider and always wear the proper riding gear, stuff happens. Motorcycle riding is extremely dangerous and your life can change in a matter of seconds. Everyone knows someone or of someone that has been hurt or killed while riding a motorcycle.
So Why Do I Ride?
So why do I ride? Right or wrong, I do not want to live my life worrying about what might happen. I refuse to be that prisoner. Motorcycle riding is one of the only things that will pull me out of a bad mood or funk every single time I get on and ride. Even if I just go a few miles up the road. There is absolutely no feeling in the world that tops riding down a scenic road, up through the mountains, or around some curves. You would have to be or have been a motorcycle rider to understand those feelings.
Even though I am now remarried and living and traveling full time in an RV, I can assure you of one thing. As long as I am physically able to ride a motorcycle, I will. Why? Because it’s cool and I love it!!!!!
Why Do You Ride?