A rich past is constructed of great stories. Listen to any long time motorcyclist, be they racer, long distance pavement hauler or dirt enthusiast and they've got tales to tell. It's a lifestyle that is vivid with harrowing moments, triumphant successes, camaraderie, solitude, joy and pain. As long as the wheels are turning, new narratives are being written. Motorcycles are exceptional vehicles. They possess the power to transport not only body and mind, but also spirit.
I ran into someone from my not too ancient past recently. After exchanging semi-awkward pleasantries and the socially mandated questions, the other person asked me, 'You used to race motorcycles, right?'.
When I answered, "Still do.", my standard reply, I got the standard reaction, which is a moment of disbelief mixed with anger, shock and maybe just a hint of realization. More brazen people will make a comment about killing myself or needing to grow up, while others just utterly fail to understand. They assume, that like them, we all settle down, procreate, go into debt and get fat on freedom fries. They expect, feebly demand even, that we choose a book from the shelf already written, instead of crafting our own story.
As this former acquaintance and I parted ways for probably the last time, I realized I was looking at someone for whom the wheels had stopped turning, whose narrative was finished except for the final punctuation, a person who, by choosing to risk nothing had taken the biggest gamble of all. It made me sad. It also scared me.
It made me want to go for a ride. So I did.