Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Motorcycles on TV

Watching the Discovery/TLC/Speed/Travel/Whatever-Channel-Wants-A-Piece-Of-The-Motorcycle-Fad-Before-It's-Too-Late channel, you'd think that everyone on a bike is in a state of near-religious bliss all the time.

Where do they find these people? I swear they spend so much time talking about their feeling of "freedom" and waxing philosophical about "just me and the road" that they can't have much time left over for actually, you know, being on the road and enjoying their freedom.

Riding, especially on longer trips on interesting roads or in rush hour traffic, does require an intense level of concentration and focus. It is possible to enter a frame of mind where there isn't room for anything besides you, your bike, and the next curve. By the time you get off the bike, the combination of adrenaline and focus can make you feel superhuman.

That makes it a good idea to go for a fast ride in the twisties before working on your taxes. Depending on how that goes, it could be a good idea to go for a ride afterwards too.

For me, the actual experience is intensely personal, and I try not to blather on to others about "freedom" and all that kind of crap. I'll leave that to the guys who trailer their bikes to rallies and keep an eye out for guys with cameras. I know that there's no way to explain the unexplainable, so I'll leave it be after "It was a good ride today." Or, perhaps I'll just smile quietly in the corner.

Although I'd almost always rather ride my bike than drive a cage (the exception is when I have to go pick up something heavy), I'm willing to admit that every now and then I can't wait to get off my bike for the day and stay out of traffic for the rest of the night. Sometimes, riding is a drag. Some days, I hit red light after red light, and I start to wonder when my clutch hand is going to give out. Some days, I have a brutal headache and every bump is a special delivery from hell.

Motorcycling is a real experience. It can be wonderful, it can be painful, it can be hot, cold, wet, dry, frustrating, euphoric, bumpy, smooth, fast, slow, smelly, buzzy, dirty, really dirty or really really dirty. But you can't get any of that from TV.

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