Why is it when you happen to mention to anyone that you ride a motorcycle, they immediately feel the need to mention a friend, family member, or acquaintance who has been severely hurt in a crash? Why is it that non-riders look at you like you have a death wish just because you choose to ride on two wheels instead of four? We as riders do not have a death wish, instead we choose to LIVE life rather than run scared while looking from the outside inward. After having my first kid, a lot of people asked if I was going to give up motorcycles. Give up? Should I give up breathing too? Does it mean I’ll think twice a little more and ride with a little more caution than before? Absolutely. But there is no way I could give up doing that which is a part of me.
I spent a brief amount of time at a car magazine and loved every single minute of it. It was a genre of cars that I had always admired from afar, but could honestly say was not part of the scene. Because of the magazine connections, I was thrown into probably one of the most respected positions in that industry from the first day. The problem was I didn’t earn it or make my way up the proper channels to reach and truly deserve that position. I didn’t know the basics and it became apparent pretty quick when talking with people. I always chose to admit my shortcomings and ask basic questions instead of being a fake know-it-all, which would become apparent quickly anyway. Having left that magazine, I think now I have more respect for and interest for that genre of cars than ever before. I took a step back to learn the basics, history, and culture as a pure enthusiast. I have since started at the bottom and have been working my way back up.
The one thing I know and can say with pride is that I am and always will be a biker. And it’s not just because I’ve ridden a motorcycle for the last 18 years. Anyone can appreciate and own a motorcycle — there is a difference between a rider and biker. What separates a non-biker from a true biker is the indescribable feeling you get when it’s you and your machine on the road. That old saying holds true that if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand. I knew the first time I sat on a bike and rode around the block (and nearly killed myself) that something had awakened inside me. I would take my bike out and ride every night just because. That same feeling is still with me today each and every time I ride.
I’ve reached an age where all my friends are now converting over from sportbikes to V-twins or getting their first bike altogether. I try to think about what would happen if one of them were thrust into my current position, how they would react. I’d be willing to bet they would be influenced pretty heavily by whomever they were talking to and be swayed one way or another without having a chance to formulate an opinion on their own. Try and keep that in mind when you meet that first-time rider. Try and show them what it means to be a biker and not just a rider. Open up our world to the next generation and show them what a great life we live. Start at the basics and help them grow and earn their way up to the title of biker. Explain the benefits of starting with a more basic bike at first, rather than jumping in with both feet first into something that takes time and experience to appreciate and control, even if you can afford it. Riding a motorcycle isn’t that hard, to be honest. It’s living the life of a biker that takes years of experience to take a potential bad situation and turn it into a near-miss rather than a tragedy.
Our time on this Earth is short and each day should be lived to its fullest, and that’s something every biker can understand. To borrow a rap quote, “I swear this shit is as fun as it looks, man. I’m really trying make it more than what it is, because everybody dies but not everybody lives!”
“We as riders do not have a death wish, instead we choose to LIVE life rather than run scared while looking from the outside inward.”