I feel the Need…the need for Speed!

About five or six years ago, I took up motorcycle riding.  I had a buddy of mine who had purchased not one but two older motorcycles which he intended on fixing up.  Neither of them were truly working at that point so I decided that I would take one of the local safety/training classes offered by the state…and then eventually go out and purchase a motorcycle of my own.

imageI ended up buying a 2005 Honda Rebel 250hp (fire engine red, of course).  It seemed to be right choice at the time.  Nice starter bike, not  too heavy so I could get a feel for balancing the bike, great gas mileage (up to 70 mpg), and honestly was just planning on using it for short trips / back and forth, to and from work.

As I started riding more and more on my own, I started getting a sense of deja vu.  This feeling became apparent when I had a dream one night about some childhood memories.   When I was 9, I got my very first bicycle (1979 Raleigh Rampar, hot orange).  Oh, I used to ride that bicycle everywhere around town.  I would ride down the sidewalks, along the street, along some “off-the-beat” bike paths.  I remember at times, I used to pretend it was a motorcycle…and that’s when I made the connection. That freedom…the freedom we all experience as kids after we got our first bike and took off on our own.  I didn’t know how much I missed it until I started riding again.

So one day, I decided I needed to grab a little cash so I jumped on the bike and stopped off at the local ATM in town. I went through, did my business and then stopped nearby in the parking lot (for some reason I can’t remember at the moment).   A few moments later, another motorcycle rider pulled up next to me.  He was an older gentleman in his sixties…possibly even early 70s.  He was all suited up in leather riding a BMW cruiser.  We chatted leisurely making small talk about the weather and riding conditions. As we talked, I told him about how I was new to motorcycle riding and getting used to the experience.  Then he said something to me that has still resonated to this day:

“I was a fighter pilot back in Vietnam. I have to tell you that riding a motorcycle is the closest thing to flying on the ground.  Between wearing a helmet, maneuvering the bike, or the thrill of the speed, there’s nothing else that’s made me feel like I did back then.”

Being a former pilot (as well as a fighter aircraft enthusiast), I completely understood what he meant.  There is a feeling, a freedom that you don’t get when driving in a car.  It’s hard to describe myself.  But I will never forget his words…and I can say that our conversation fueled my love for motorcycle even more.  I’m proud to say I’m on my 2nd motorcycle now (Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom) and loving it.  A special thanks to my bud for getting me started and helping me recapture some of my youth….and a thanks to the unknown gentleman who rekindled my love of “flying on the ground”.

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