The Season of the Bike 

Description The Season of the Bike
Author Matthew Date Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:56 am Type Type 1
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Category Documents
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Thought this was worth sharing. Enjoy Rod
From: "Rod Fleming" <rod-virago@cox.net>

The Season of the Bike by Dave Karlotski

There is cold, and there is cold on a motorcycle. Cold on a motorcycle is
like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a
bone bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of bone fallen from the skies of Hell to pock my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that's just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.

Despite this, it's hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to
get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are
common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you're changed forever. The letters "MC" are stamped on your driver's license right next to your sex and height as if "motorcycle" was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.

But when warm weather finally does come around all those cold snaps and
rainstorms are paid in full because a motorcycle summer is worth any price. A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us languidly from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.

On a motorcycle I know I'm alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems
strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sunlight that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than PanaVision and higher than IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard.

Sometimes I even hear music. It's like hearing phantom telephones in the
shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind's roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock 'n roll, dark orchestras, women's voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed.

At 30 miles an hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the
individual tree-smells and flower-smells and grass-smells flit by like
chemical notes in a great plant symphony. Sometimes the smells evoke
memories so strongly that it's as though the past hangs invisible in the air
around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it.

A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane. Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It's a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It's light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it's a conduit of grace, it's a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy.

I still think of myself as a motorcycle amateur, but by now I've had a
handful of bikes over a half dozen years and slept under my share of
bridges. I wouldn't trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride was one of the best things I've done.

Cars lie to us and tell us we're safe, powerful, and in control. The
air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, "Sleep, sleep." Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that's no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.

User comments 
mark75 Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:42 am    Post subject

Man that says it all. I like the line about being small, exposed and going too fast. Ain't it the truth!
yamaguzzi Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject

thats it, cold: becoming small,,identifying each point at which the icey spike invades, presses and otherwise touches the uninsulated parts of your form,,moving, adjusting to cover that part for a moment,,the muscle tension from the abnormal positions you assume to maintain your focus on the destination, how many miles, how fast, how much time,what time you will arrive, how many more times you must stop for fuel, how many hours,,how cold you are , how do you feel, can you afford a coffee break, do you need to warm up,,oh what the heck (nice word substitution) get back out there and get it over with,,,,,,,,,,,,,,oh yes i remember yg
verboten1 Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject

he puts his bike away in the winter? Monday night I rode 35 miles to get the stink off....

loved every minute of it...I knew there was a reason i spent so much money on stay warm gear

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