​Motorcycles Are Dangerous, so Why the Hell Do I Keep Riding?

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Joined: 2008/01/28

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I have extracted a few random paragraphs from a beautifully written article by Zac Bowman which appeared on roadandtrack.com. I think he puts into words what many of us feel.

Motorcycles Are Dangerous, so Why the Hell Do I Keep Riding?

My daughter's two months old, cooing her first coos and smiling her first smiles. I'm a continent away, chasing a pair of goons along the banks of the Klamath River in Northern California, splashing from one pool of sunlight to the next and letting the torque of a big German bike pull me through a set of switchbacks. Cliffs are close to my left. To the right, the world splits in two: a blue sky halved by ragged hills and slow waters.

I should be concentrating: focusing on every apex, coaxing a little more angle out of this machine, trying a little harder to keep myself out of that hungry river. I'm not. I'm wrapped up in her. I heard her heart before I saw her eyes, listened to the churning chant of her life through the thin skin of her mother's belly and wondered at the long world ahead. It nearly broke me.

I am selfish and want her to love motorcycles the way I love them—as dangerous and endangered things, as machines that haven't yet lost their grace or teeth, as a meditation.

A good bike exists in the blissful realm of the purposeless, shoulder to shoulder with the goldfinch and the sundress, the purple iris and the poem—all pointless and necessary in a world consumed with meaning. It stokes a fire in your chest you didn't know existed or forgot somehow, comfortable and exciting. It's a feeling spurred by all precious and secret things.

My daughter's been born in an age concerned with the notion that maybe our best days are behind us. Watching her brown eyes devour the new world around her, I can't believe that's true. New bikes and cars and stand mixers and houses all made to look older than they are, movies and television and music painting up the same stories for a new generation, all desperately grasping at some sliver of authenticity. 

The bike is a warm glow beneath me. I leave it in fifth and let the motor's wide range do the heavy lifting. We're clipping along quicker than we should be, but it feels too good to quit. At 90 mph, there's so very little between you and oblivion that there might as well be nothing there at all. You feel your mortality humming like a plucked thread somewhere behind your ribs, and somehow, it's worth it.

A bike demands an ante. The wager is the rest of your life. All of it. Every dreary Monday, every willowy summer dusk. Every word you might utter, the whispers of unknown lovers, smiles and tears, and chest-bursting pride. The crunch of snow under your boot and the first saltwater kiss of the sea. You put it all up every time you twist the throttle and go reaching for some crooked stitch of unknown asphalt. 

I want my daughter to know those terms, and why I accept them so gladly. 

Here is a link to the whole article -  http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a27399/motorcycles-are-dangerous-so-why-the-hell-do-i-keep-riding/

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