The Reason I Ride

sturgis100_4434To look back over the forty years I’ve been riding motorcycles is easy. I like thinking about all the experiences I’ve had and even looking at the photographs I’ve got stored away in an old envelope on the shelf. Notice I said “shelf” not “memory stick” or “hard drive”. That’s back in the day when someone had to take your picture and then a conscious effort was needed to get the film developed all the while hoping at least one of the pictures wouldn’t be blurry. If nothing else the old photos prove that at some point in my life I have been in shape and I have had a full head of hair.

So as I look back I often wonder why the motorcycle impacted my life instead of football or any other type of sports or recreation. Simple explanations for gravity or inertia I can give, but an explanation of why I ride might be difficult. But I ride when those friends of mine don’t. They’ll watch football or basketball and I’ll watch Supercross or Moto GP racing. The funny thing is the majority of my friends don’t ride motorcycles. I know what you’re thinking. A guy like Jeff must be surrounded by the latest and greatest machinery out there. He must ride a million miles a year and his house is filled with trophies of championships and with friends who ride and do nothing but talk about two-wheeled adventures. The reality is I do ride a lot and I rarely hang out with my motorcycle friends. My close friends all watch the games on TV and come Monday I’m at a loss for what to say when everyone is talking about the weekend in sports.

Going through my formative years at school in White City, I just didn’t play much football or basketball. In a community where team sports are the talk of the town, I was riding my motorcycle out to the trails to practice, eventually racing motocross until I broke my leg in 1987. Was I any good? From the side of the track I probably appeared to be somewhat awkward and squidish. From inside my helmet looking out I was awesome! Fast and smooth and wheeling away from the pack! But average is more like it, although I finished my best year ranked third in the state.

I think the real reason I ride runs a little deeper than just individual sports versus team sports. I missed my chance to play team sports and if I could do it over I would have played more in school. This is something I’ve come to realize as I have gotten older. Again, from the sidelines at the game I’m sure I would have appeared awkward and squidish, but I would have been there all the same. I wouldn’t necessarily change things as they turned out, but it would have been a life experience to add to the many I already have. So back to the reason… 

Just like those folks that like football or NASCAR, I like motorcycles. It really doesn’t need to be explained at all. We are individuals that have our likes and dislikes and I like the two-wheeled kind. I think most people associate me with motorcycles by now and that’s no surprise. They sure don’t mistake me for a guy in shape with a full head of hair!

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