Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why You Ride Is More Important Than What You Ride

I was on my motorcycle for the first time in about five month yesterday and today. If you live in a northern climate then you might be wondering what the big deal is. Some northern regions have had snow storms in this very month of April of this year.

In the south Florida there are only two weather related situations that keep me off of the bike. One is torrential summer rain. The other is tropical storms and hurricanes.

I’ve been off of the bike for at least five months due to a knee injury, surgery and re-injury before the surgery healed.  Winter is best season to ride in south Florida because rain showers are minimal and it is much cooler. I’ve missed it all this year.

Yesterday, I had to recharge the battery because the bike had been sitting for so long. With that done I took a short ride to return a library book. All went well. I had enough strength and range of motion back in my knee to drive without difficulty.

Today, I threw a leg over the bike again to get to my appointment with the physician’s assistant at the orthopedics office. It was a little bit of heaven to be twisting a throttle rather than stepping on one. I squeezed the hand-operated clutch and popped through the gears with the foot at the end of my weak leg without issue.

It was great to stick out my left had to wave as I passed other bikers. I drive a Harley Davidson now. Back in the olden days I had Yamahas and Hondas. In the seventies, we used to call the Harley’s exercise machines because the riders were either kicking them to get them started or pushing them because they wouldn’t start.

I wave to all riders. I don’t care if they are riding Japanese, European or American made bikes. I don’t care if they’re riding a cruiser, a crotch rocket or scooter. I’m going wave at them. Anybody that is out there on two wheels knows feeling of the independence, freedom and excitement of being on two wheels. They have my respect.

Bikes are great conversation starters. Most riders always want to admire other bikes. The x-ray technician, at the orthopedics office, asked what I was riding when he saw my helmet. That started some conversation. He was a California boy who had grown up on dirt bikes. It was the same with the physician’s assistant. He has a Harley, too.

Occasionally, I’ll meet a metric bike owner who almost apologizes that he isn’t riding a Harley. My reply is always the same.

“More important than what you ride is why you ride. There are bikes out there better than contemporary Harley-Davidsons. I almost bought another metric when I moved to Florida but I rented a few Harleys before I decided. When my butt hit the saddle of a Heritage Classic Softail, I was done looking. It fit me perfectly and I loved the nostalgic look of chrome and leather."

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