As I look at my son’s Harley Davidson 883 Sportster slumbering peacefully in my garage, patiently waiting to ‘road trip it’ from Massachusetts to Utah, I have to wonder, “What is it about a motorcycle that soothes a young man’s soul?” Is it the power, the speed, the freedom? Yes, yes, and a resounding yes…and so much more.
Whether you’re male or female, young or old – when the mystical allure of the almighty motorcycle begs for your attention, you pay attention! Its desire for its rider is simple; to share the love of the open road.
Its nature is synonymous with the biblical definition of love: “…does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:6-7. (1) Its expectations of its rider is clear: “Take good care of me and I’ll take good care of you.”
It started with a Suzuki GS 650; a real fixer upper, that inducted my son into the world of motorized bikes. He was in his early twenties, out of college, and living in the vast wide open terrain of Utah.
He did not take this new endeavor lightly; he prepared himself to be a responsible rider – keying into what was expected of him as he set out on this new way of life.
He bought the book, “Let’s Ride – Guide to Motorcycling – How to ride the right way- for life,” by Sonny Barger, an American legend, who started the Oakland Chapter of the Hells Angels in 1957.
Although the Hells Angels are often depicted as a violent criminal gang, their softer side invokes an iconic, free-spirited group bound by brotherhood and loyalty. It is that sense of commitment that Sonny Barger, author of five books in total, brings to this book; encouraging responsible riders to be properly trained. He offers valuable tips gleaned from his own experiences and “explains how a careful rider pays attention and remains alert to dangers while enjoying the thrill and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle.” (2)
“Sonny has always been a careful rider and safety advocate who understands that any unsafe bike or rider is a hazard to all others in the pack.”(2)
Taking a spin on a motorcycle encompasses so much more than just going fast; it’s an inexplicable freedom that takes over a rider’s spirit. The biker feels the intricacies of the road beneath him. He feels a direct connection to the natural world; becoming one with the infinite sky and the majestic hills and low valleys. He calmly anticipates the new experience the distant horizon promises. He sees and feels all, and yet, is beyond distraction.
Whether you buy a motorcycle in the U.S.A. or in one of the other 40 plus countries where they are made, your choices are plentiful. The list of motorcycle brands seems endless; Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW, Honda, or the well-known Harley Davidson represent just a spec of what is available.
Should you buy a brand synonymous with outdoor adventure and claims ‘It is a way of life’, like Harley Davidson, or one specializing in high-performance fun like Kawasaki? Should you buy an older bike, revamp it; appeal to your inner creative side and make it your own?
Which bike truly rules? Just ask a serious rider and you will get a plethora of opinions. In the end, it comes down to the heart and soul of the individual rider; what fits his/her lifestyle, desires, and dreams.
As the power and sound of this mechanical wonder reverberates across back roads and highways alike, the biker sits back comfortably, and with a firm grip on the handlebars, sets off on his journey. “It is like flying,” I am told; the open air, the wind, the mastery of the bike in your hands. It is freedom and responsibility rolled into one – it is Motorcycle.
One thought on “It’s a way of life!”
I’ve ridden since I was nine. My dad bought me that 1971 Honda 50. It’s a passion that never leaves you. My son now rides and we enjoy our Harley’s and the bond they create. Someday perhaps his kids will ride too. As you reference, Sonny Barger is an American legend.