Saturday 12 April 2008

Once a biker...

Well, spring has officially sprung, and even though there’s still snow on the ground and ice on the lake, the oh-so-familiar stirrings of desire to get back on two wheels are surfacing.

After more than 30 years of riding, I got rid of my last street motorcycle – this gorgeous ‘74 Norton Commando – about 7 years ago. Work pressures and some physical problems at the time kept me from riding, so it just sat in the garage. But like any thoroughbred it needed to be ridden hard, and on a regular basis, so, sadly, off it went to a deserving home (actually, we delivered it to a downtown bank, after hours, rolling it into a back room where it was to stay until the proud new owner could figure out how to explain it to his wife – but that’s another story). While I haven’t seen it personally since then, I’m told that it’s still in the area and being thoroughly enjoyed, so I guess he finally got whatever approvals he needed.

But I digress. Where was I? ... Oh, yes. Spring. The time of year when the biking magazines find their way into my shopping cart with more frequency and the stack of back issues of Bike Trader reaches epic proportions and threatens to topple off the side table. The time of year when conversations with the spousal unit lapse into 3-word exchanges – “Dreaming again?”, “Yep.” And the time of year when the most remarkable aspect of any trip into the city is how many bikes I saw on the highway.

Spring also triggers the requisite visits to the local dealerships, just to “have a look”. The new bikes, all shiny and proud, sit out front, and the “previously enjoyed” models hide in the back, seemingly embarrassed by their flashy counterparts with their hefty price tags and “DO NOT SIT” warnings. Yet it’s to the back I go, looking for that one-in-a-million find – a pristine, slightly used, and most importantly, cheap, ride – and secretly hoping I don’t find it because then I’ll have a REAL decision to make (and explain).

And then, to top it all off, my brother sends pictures of his H-D Road King, all tuned up and ready to go, along with the link to the Sturgis web site, “in case you’d like to come along”. Sigh....

So yeah, once biking gets into your blood it never, ever leaves. Other pastimes, hobbies, sports, etc. come and go over the years, but once bitten by the motorcycling bug you are hooked for life. There will be times you change your riding interests from cruising to touring to sports riding to dirt or any of the other dozen ways in which one can have a blast on two wheels. And there will be periods when you don’t ride for a whole variety of reasons. But inevitably you will come back at some point and either buy that dream machine you can finally afford (or have finally figured out how to rationalise) or pick up an older model more appropriate to your budget and riding style. Whatever the choice, you will be back on two wheels, and I’ll be seeing you on the road.

(Cross-posted from Views From The Lake - Eh?)