Sometimes you have to just jump right in and do it. When I think of planning a birthday party I usually think of finding a restaurant and having myself a nice meal with family and friends, opening a few humorous birthday cards or a gag gift or two. If I were to set some birthday goals, I would probably think of taking the day off and do something for myself. I know when I turned 50 years old there was little more than a reminder given to me that my father’s birthday was coming up in two days. Oh, and the 4th of July falls in between the two of ours. Who could forget that?
Somewhere within social media I stumbled upon Dave Berman and his life-long friends Adrian and Andy, who are planning a celebratory birthday trip to the United States from their homes in the United Kingdom to ride highway 50 in the U.S. for their 50th birthdays. An epic journey in another country riding Indian motorcycles picked from the fleet at Eaglerider Motorcycle and Tours in Washington D.C. sounds pretty good to me. Hell, even the plane ride to get here and back would be a pretty special birthday present, but they are taking it a step further. Air travel is fine, but the real meat and potatoes is hopping on motorcycles and immersing themselves into this landscape we call America. What better way to see this country than from the seat of an iconic brand and mingling with the locals every chance you get? I can’t think of any better way. And mingling is one of my favorite things to do.
Now I’ve taken a week-long ride on my motorcycle before and I know the importance of packing light. Along with the daily necessities and toiletries you must also carry a wide range of gear to counter inclement weather should you run into it. I also prefer to save a small portion of storage for anything else you find along the way that you just can’t live without. We bikers are Master Packers.
We are just a few weeks away from the beginning of the 3 Amigo’s trip. I’m to meet up with this band of birthday brothers around the 8th of May in Kansas City to ride along to Council Grove Kansas where they hope to spend the night. After all, I’m somewhat of a local. The next day, with their permission, I will tag along for a few miles and re-acquaint myself with western Kansas. I know this trip will be a memorable one for you guys and I appreciate you letting me be a small part of it . Who am I kidding? Hold on tight, it’s going to be quite a ride.
It’s funny how we mark moments in our lives. Memories are made in the most random of ways and are usually referenced by a certain month or year in which it happened, or triggered when the friends we choose to surround ourselves will remind us of how it really was. Certain birthdays, a time of day, a street address, a highway sign and the list can go on and on. Numbers can make us do crazy things, and those lifelong friends poking and prodding each other along the way don’t help much either. Those same lifelong friends that have been through it all with you are the same ones that will be down for anything. Anything? Why not?
If you’re fortunate to have friends like this – friends that have always been there – count your lucky stars. Usually time erodes bonds and distance will put us in places where our closest friends aren’t. But when the opportunity comes, we can make up lost time as if it were the 80’s once more. Friends are always friends no matter the length of time or the distance we are apart. These guys seem to have had the luxury of keeping distance to a minimum, wouldn’t you say? You only live once, but friends are forever.
I recently found three guys who fit this description. Friends since they were 14 years old, they have hit the milestone of age; that magical age of 50. These three friends who live in the U.K. are planning a trip to the United States to ride US Highway 50 across this great land on Indian Motorcycles. Credit for this inspiration might have a little to do with Charley Boorman, who is known for taking life by the handlebars and living it to the fullest. This isn’t their first trip to the U.S. for sure, but this time it will be different. They will be riding highway 50 at the tender young age of 50 years old. Traveling coast to coast with your best mates sounds like something I would love to cross off my bucket list. Mid-life crisis? Probably, but who cares? Of course timing is important, as they are due to set off on their journey in May 2016. As luck would have it, highway 50 runs just south of where I live and I’m hoping to take a day and ride with them through a part of Kansas. I’m 53 and that’s close enough for me. Anyway, mom always told me to act my age, not my shoe size. She also said if all my friends jumped off a bridge would you? Hmm.
So please follow the 3 Amigos on twitter @ Ride50at50 to see how their #route50 adventure is going. Send them a message and wish them luck, but more importantly, if you see three friends on motorcycles acting their shoe size instead of their age, let me know!
We all come from different walks of life, and to the naked eye it’s just the surface we see. A doctor, carpenter or factory worker on the surface, but behind the scenes we are so much more when the rubber hits the road. Even though the differences of passions and possibilities between us and of those that surround us can be great, we can often find fellowship in what makes the ground we stand upon common between us. Motorcycles are a great way to bring people together and it’s been a common thread since the invention of this two-wheeled transportation. There are those that are involved, those that want to be involved and there are those that are involved indirectly because of us.
For a small town Kansas boy I’m a world away from the United Kingdom, but for many of you who have a passion for motorcycles, distance is only a minor thing. I recently heard of the 69 Motorcycle Club and started to understand how this big world can often seem a little smaller. No matter where we are, what we ride or how people perceive us as bikers, we still have many layers of who we actually are. This is a universal thing and it transcends gender, age and location. We are united by passion and it becomes a universal language that we all speak and understand. Who we are on our motorcycles is exactly the same person we are when we’re not riding, and the motorcycle is just another vehicle used to spread the fellowship.
Father Colin Johnson, the Parish Priest at St. Peter and St. Paul – The Parish Charlton Church and Tower Hamlets in Dover has close ties with Kent’s 69 Motorcycle Club. The 69 M.C. is actively involved in raising money for charities and putting on events within the area to bring people together. Father Colin and I have never met but I understand him and can relate to his passion and his desire to share his energy with others. To be the Parish Priest of a community can have its own rewards but to have the ability to mix his enthusiasm of motorcycling with the fellowship of the church can only bring excitement to the congregation. Bikers by nature are very giving and the 69 M.C.C. would be no different. The fellowship of the biker community working in unison with local churches and groups can only make each organization stronger. After all, looking at the faces sitting in the church pews are the faces of the community, and each and every one of us has our own interests outside of what we wear on the surface. For Father Colin to don the collar of a Priest and a leather jacket, speaks to me. Fellowship in the truest sense.
Whatever we choose to do in our lives we should do it out of passion and for love. Others will see the excitement and enthusiasm in us but more importantly they can feel it. Thank you Father Colin for spreading the Word and the fellowship and I know we’ll meet someday!