Friday, May 25, 2018

Simple Honesty

"I never trust a bike I can't see through." - Jay Leno

We live in a world of bewildering complication.  Everyday held in our hands are machines capable of amazing tasks, yet all but a very few would be at a loss to explain how they actually work.  The same goes for the vast majority of devices that make our modern life so...comfortable.  Flick a switch and there is instant entertainment, instant coffee, instant transportation, instant gratification.  And when these things cease the ability to do so, instant refuse.

I am still too young to have lived in a time where people owned things for very long.  In the late 1980s my grandmother had an International Harvester refrigerator from the '40s.  That heavy bastard had been lugged around for more moves than you could count and worked perfectly after nearly half a century. She couldn't understand the need to buy a new one.  I'm hard pressed to think of anything I've owned for twenty...scratch that...ten years, let alone forty.  It just doesn't happen.

So what does this have to do with motorcycles, and the quote at the top of the page?  Frankly, everything.  As technology becomes increasingly complex, and disposable, so too do motorcycles, hence not being able to 'trust a bike you can't see through'.  More than merely a statement regarding the plastic wrapping so many of today's two wheeled offerings are presented in, it refers to the obfuscation of the machine's soul, the engine, the inner workings, via computers, ride-by-wire, sensors, ABS, etc..  When a man can "see" how a thing works, understand the movings and meshings, he can know it, fix it, feel what it is doing.  It becomes an extension of the body, a part of the one whose labors keep it rolling down the road.  Sometimes the best answer is the least complicated one.

I'm no Neo-Luddite, or fool to think that technology won't continue it's march until even humanity becomes obsolete, but one can't help but wonder what it was like to hold on to a thing.

Because it worked.




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