Sunday, November 13, 2005

Confessions of an Old Juvenile Motorcyclist: Part 1

This is a series of posts relating new discoveries. Remember everything in life is relative to the individual. Yes, all our individual realities overlap, influencing others’ realities and now we are only several degrees of separation from dolphins* (why are we all linked to Kevin Bacon?). Regardless, our lives are a journey of discoveries, of our selves, other selves, other living beings, and inanimate objects. As a creature of curiosity more than habit sometimes even the smallest discovery is personal and exciting for me. Perhaps the child inside that refused to wither away influences my reality too strongly. And like any child, I like toys and adventures!

My recent endeavor is riding a motorcycle. Exploring the back roads of Maine as a passenger decades ago, the attraction and thrill never left me. Then Life got in the way while obtaining college degrees, building houses and raising an offspring. Raising and training horses, raising sheep and child and working full-time tends to exhaust the mind and body, leaving those older aspirations behind like arthritis in a finger on a cold day.

Little by little and much later, the advent of riding a motorcycle crept up on me. One morning a few years ago, a client of mine (when I worked part-time personal training) announced at the beginning of her appointment that it was her 45th birthday and she just bought a new shiny Harley Davidson. Partly shocked and mostly jealous, I applauded her adventure. A friend and well-seasoned rider served as her mentor after she took the motorcycle safety training course.

When a self-important male (notice I did not type ‘man’) whom I was seeing at the time arrogantly ridiculed several older couples riding by on their touring bikes, I defended them strongly, commending them for their adventures. They were actively enjoying their lives which can be said more than he would ever chance. I also added that if I was younger and had a better paying job, I would be out there on a bike, too. Silence occupied the space in the car the rest of the way home.

Later I was seduced to the Bright Side by my VSSO (Very Special Significant Other), first as a passenger riding behind him, then as a rider myself. I also met a growing group of people whom all share not just a passion for the road on a bike, but also a parallel appreciation of life.

Of course, along this path of exploration I should also mention the parallel roads of my family:
My daughter is currently enrolled as a motorcycle technician at the country’s most respected institute for motorcycle repair and service.
My sister is involved with a motorcycle veteran who has been active in local and regional motorcycle activities, including teaching the MSF courses, coordinating charitable rides as well as recreational group rides.

Posts in this thread are my own observations, confessions, rants and reflections of riding motorcycles as a neophyte. And once again demonstrating that not all scientists are boring as Hell.

* David Lusseau, from the University of Aberdeen, UK, researches the social world of dolphins, to find out who knows whom and how often they meet. For the 130-member community living off the east coast of Scotland, he found it takes an average of just 3.9 steps to link any two dolphins by the shortest possible route through mutual friends.


  1. Embracing the two-wheeled life is a step on a very, very righteous path to higher enlightenment. Or ya know... something like that.

  2. Man, look at this. You post a link to this blog on ActualRiders, and there goes the neighborhood! :-)

    I didn't realize there was an institute like the one your daughter is attending.

    Your story about the male who put down the motorcyclists reminds me of a guy a friend of mine was dating. They were walking down Center street here in Provo, past a pet shop with an apartment upstairs, and she mused about what it would be like to live over the store. He said "You think too much!" She mentally scratched him off her list as he congratulated himself on his wit.

  3. I'm accused of 'overthinking too much' all the time. But that's my job!!!
    I can't help it; I was drawn that way.

    Yes, MMI is in Phoenix. My daughter had the top grades; she puts all the guys to shame :)