Spring has sprung here in the mountains. The air is warm, the sun is shining, and I can smell the pine trees. I thought about sitting down at the computer and dashing off a blog, but I heard a familiar voice calling me from the garage. It was my Triumph motorcycle. After a long winter of inactivity, my hungry bike begged me to feed it some pavement. How could I resist?
You have to grow old, but you don’t have to grow up. I’ve said that before. I dread the day that I begin to think like an old man, but I certainly don’t ride the same way I did fifty years ago. I now realize how stupid and careless I was in my youth. After knowing guys who were killed on motorcycles, I’m much more careful now.
When I was younger and “dumber” I had typical bumps, blood, bruises, and the customary cast on my leg, but that was mostly the result of dirt riding and hill climbing. Close calls on the road, including the German autobahn, where the slow lane is 100 mph, are worse and I was very lucky. Those reckless days are long gone.
Gone too are the days of looking “cool.” After a certain age, you don’t worry about that stuff. While riding my ’69 Triumph, a friend said I looked like a circus bear riding a toy bicycle. What a pathetic image. I couldn’t do much about the bear thing, so bought a bigger motorcycle. Now I look like a circus bear riding a slightly larger bicycle.
I’ve always been a Triumph guy. I’ve had several and still have two, including a “duplicate” of the classic 1969 model I bought in
Denmark. One reason I prefer Triumphs is the fact that
there aren’t many on the road. They’re
somewhat unique. I have several friends
who read this blog and are Harley guys. With
all due respect, Harley’s are great, but too common and stereotypical for
me. But Triumphs are accepted by the
Harley crowd for some reason, where a “rice rocket” may not be. Back in the fifties Marlon Brando, Steve
McQueen, and James Dean all rode Triumphs.
These bikes must have left an impression on me when I was a kid.
Yesterday I answered the call of my bike and rode through the beauty of the Sierras. Forget city or freeway riding - sucking exhaust fumes and fearing for your life isn’t much fun. Riding through the mountains allows the smell of pine trees, the visual beauty of the terrain, the warm wind, and the total ambience of nature to permeate your being through osmosis. It’s a pleasantly refreshing catharsis.
Don’t get the impression that I sit in a lotus position, breathing incense, and chanting a mantra. I haven’t been able to sit like that since I was 12 years old. I just don’t know how else to describe the riding experience, but that’s why I chose a motorcycle for travel through
back in the ‘60s. I wanted to absorb the
total environment. I know that sounds
weird, but fellow riders understand.
There is camaraderie on the road with bikers - the extended hand or wave when passing another rider and the tap on the helmet warning that a highway patrol car is lurking ahead. It’s all in the game. I’ll quit riding when I get so old that I need training wheels on my Triumph, but until then, I’ll keep feeding my two-wheel monsters as much road as I have left. Uh oh…I hear that hungry growl coming from the garage. Gotta go.