One of the great things about riding a motorcycle is the tie that all motorcyclist enjoy. Yeah, I am one of those guys that waves, to every motorcycle rider I see, even if it is a guy on a scooter. Why, because I love the fact that a perfect stranger and I have something so close in common. Riding a motorcycle in modern times is not a necessity like it was in post war Europe or Japan, or as the cheapest means of transport like it was here in America. Instead you ride a motorcycle now, because you love it. You like to live life just a little bit different. I am not saying all people who ride are hard core bad ass people. I mean I am an elementary school teacher, but rather we live life by a different set of rules, and that unites us. You can almost always count on a fellow motorcyclist stoping to help you out if you are stuck, you can always count on another rider giving you parts or gear, for free, just because you need it and they got it. You can always count on at least one good story every time you stop and talk to someone.
I bring this up because just the other day I was getting on the IMS Triumph Tiger 800XC when a old man walks up to me and starts talking. I needed to get home, it had been a long day and my wife had to deal with a 4 year old and a 2 year old for the last 12 hours alone, so you can see my hurry. Well this particular old man had started the conversation by asking about the bike, saying he had seen me on the freeway and really wanted to talk to me about the bike and was glad that we ended up in the same place at the same time. When I explained to him the bike, the engine, and all the add ons, his smile just kept getting bigger. You see back when he was in college, one summer he bought a brand new, Triumph 650 Bonneville Twin Carb, and rode it from Pittsburgh up into Canada, along the Trans-Canadian Highway, down to LA in California. Seeing me on this Triumph really brought back those memories, it was almost as if he had just gotten of the bike in LA all over again. It was really something else to see this bond between the two of us. We had never meet before, and probably never will meet again, but I had found in this old man, and he in I, an instant friendship that you just don’t get with other people. Now, I have never done a ride like he mentioned, and it will probably never happen for me, but each time I swing a leg over that bike, each time I fire up that 800cc Triple and hear the purr of that exhaust, I am making memories that I will hold onto for a lifetime. And one day I will be that old man, telling some young kid about how I used to have this hopped up Triumph and how I rode it everywhere, off road and on. It will be at that point that I connect with a person in a way that I just wont be able to connect with someone who doesn’t ride. And that kid will do the same thing one day himself.
This kind of experience is something else, it is something that few understand, and it is something that I hope to pass on to generations to come.
So today, take the time and wave at a fellow rider, stop and talk for a minute, help them out on the side of the road, you never know when you will make a life long friend that you never had before. So go make a friend and get out and ride.
After what has happened in Boston and in West Texas it is always good to look back on your own family and rejoice in the good times and learn from the bad times. I had the privilege of spending the day with my wife and daughter in Palm Desert at the Shops at El Paso. Now I am a male and yes shopping and looking at a purse that cost more then my first dirtbike is not my idea of the best way to spend my time (especially with the day a beautiful as today was) but in the end I need to remember what really matters the most in life, it is not the trophies you win or the epic rides that you do, but the people you influence and touch. My wife is now 3 days over due with our second daughter and our first daughter is almost 2 years and 5 months old and a fireball of energy, she only has two speeds, sleep and warp. But I can not think of a better way to spend this day especially when you think of all the people that wont get to after what happened this week.
I know that lots of you feel that there is plenty of time left to spend time with your family, and that riding or wrenching on your bike/quad relaxes you and is your only “fun” activity you get to do. I can totally understand where you are coming from, I felt the same way for so long, I would get up early on my days off and go ride, either mountain bike or dirt bike, and then come home after the wife and baby had gotten up, sometimes missing them completely as they had already started their day and left to go do what they do. After months of doing this something clicked in my heart, I only get so much time with these people, I only have so many moments to influence for good (hopefully) my daughter, I only have so many chances to build up and encourage my wife, to love her and appreciate her, and I was wasting so many of them doing things that, in the end, don’t really matter. I am not a pro racer, my lively hood is not dependent on if I can be 3 second faster a lap then last time. Now yes, bikes and off road is a major part of my job, but on my days off, my family is what matters, and when I am off the clock my family is what matters. Instead of thinking I will have plenty of time with my family later, I realized that I will have plenty of time with my bikes later. I encourage you to take a second look at your life and reevaluate what really matters, what is really deserving of the majority of your time out side of work, and (if you have them) go home, kiss your spouse, hug your kids, tell them all you love them, because for many people it is to late. Enjoy this time because in the end you wont want one more lap or one more hour of riding, you will want one more moment with the ones you love. Make those moments now.