The Statistics of Fun

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Who would have thought. Who would have thought that an inanimate object could be such an emotional thing? Certain bikers get caught up on fuel economy, horsepower, quarter-mile times and the like but what about the statistics of fun? Sure, horsepower can be good fun. Good gas mileage can be a kick in the pants when you know deep down you are “sticking it to the man” at the pump. But just for a moment, stop and think about the fun you have in between gas stops and those few times when you aren’t twisting the throttle to its stops. Feel that? That, simply put, is fun. You can’t really measure it on a pie graph, and you sure can’t measure it by sitting on the couch. It mostly happens when you can feel the wind in your face and the road beneath your tires. Sometimes it happens when you walk out to the garage and just – stare at your ride.

We often forget “fun” when talking about our bikes. We talk about customization, where we’ve been, how much we have invested in our bikes but rarely say “and I have a lot of fun riding it.” Maybe it’s implied, I don’t know, but you would think it would come up in conversation. I’ve seen motorcycles that just scream for someone to rip it down the quarter-mile. I’ve seen custom bikes that raise the question if it can be ridden at all. I’ve seen a smoky burnout in a cheering crowd that looked like a lot of fun (not on my bike please) but was it any fun riding it there? I guess after a few beers who cares, right?

Could it possible that saying we are having fun riding our motorcycle takes something away from the image we are trying to put forth? I bet those “nice” people on Honda’s are having fun, (you know – the ones you used to meet?) but what about the rest of us. I’ve had a few rides where it wasn’t a lot of fun during the ride do to the weather or something like that, but when I look back on that ride I don’t have much to complain about. And overall I think we all ride for the fun of it –  at least I do. Where are the patches sewn on leather jackets proclaiming “If You Can Read This – I’m Having Fun” or “Loud Pipes – Having Fun.” If you’ve seen one, let me know.

It appears that the culture of riding is based around the lifestyle and attitude of it all. We ride to have fun for sure and I know it goes beyond saying it out-loud, but to measure it like torque, horsepower or gas-mileage isn’t as easy as hooking your bike to a machine. I think, and this is just me, that it all boils down to perception. Fun isn’t built into our bikes, it’s built into us. We determine the fun we’re going to have in anything we do, and its up to me to decide if what I’m riding or where I’m riding to, is fun or not. And it’s revealed in what my perception of fun is compared to yours. It’s no different from our jobs, chores, or life in general, we can either make it enjoyable or make it suck. You decide. Can you measure suck on a pie graph?

 

 

The Mechanics of Emotion

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Take a step back. Look. It’s motor in plain site-the oil lines expose and its polished cases reflecting a fun-house image of yourself. The air cleaner is prominent and the cables that run from the hand controls to the power plant are waiting for your every command. The suspension is visible as are the disc brakes-a conflict in horsepower and stopping power, when all it wants to do is go, and go fast. Gears, pistons, bearings and oil. Precision cut with an idea of what is truly possible from internal combustion. Adding to this, a couple of gallons of gasoline sitting between your legs, and you fire it up. The sound, the smell and the vibration of a machine as it runs, brought to life by the push of a button or a kick of a lever.We feel it. Emotion.

We talk of motorcycles as a mechanical object-which they are. but when the inventors of two-wheel motion started assembling the early versions, they were in fact changing how we would feel about transportation that “moves” us. There is a lot of parts and pieces that are required to turn a machine into emotion but it happens with a single spark. It happens every time the motor fires up. A spark can transform peace and quiet-to gears turning, pistons pumping and exhaust throwing out the sound of life. This directly affects our physical and mental state, far beyond what was originally intended by those Harley and Davidson boys. 

The mechanical side of motorcycles is something amazing in itself. But the emotional side can be even more complicated to understand. It moves us in a three-dimensional way; physically, socially and emotionally. For over one hundred years, mechanics have never had to replace the emotional part of a motorcycle.