1 week ago
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death. ~Hunter Thompson
I enjoy going fast, as fast as my bike will allow without falling apart. Nothing really matters when I'm flying down the road, not laws, not limits. My motto is keep cars where they belong, behind you, and all you have to worry about is wildlife...cars are much more predictable. I keep my eyes on the horizon and five cars ahead, but also find myself daydreaming more often than not. I accept the fact that people in cars probably hate me, throwing the finger at me on a regular basis(even though I never see it being well past them by that point), but they don't understand and I don't blame them for their cluelessness. I find that splitting lanes and cutting through narrow gaps between vehicles is an exhilaration that not much in life can compare to. As much as other motorists and motorcyclists probably think I'm reckless, to say I am comfortable with my riding ability is an huge understatement. I continuously challenge myself whenever I'm out riding. I feel that those who don't have less of a chance of excelling beyond a certain point and that's more dangerous than playing it safe all of the time.
After riding Boulder Canyon from Sturgis to Deadwood one early morning years back, someone once said to me, "you sure do like hugging that white line near the shoulder". Other times, during high winds, I'll pass 18-wheelers right along side of them instead of as far over as possible in the other lane. And though some people tend to pull over or slow down in torrential rain storms, I do neither - Very early in my motorcycling life, riding through a bad rain storm on Chief Joseph Highway(for those of you who have ridden it, you know what it's like) a friend of ours went flying by us on his beemer on the last straight-away before hitting Cody, Wyoming. He was doing close to 100 or more and I was blown away at how fast he was tearing through the rain and wet pavement. Later, that friend, who was an experienced rider to say the least, told me something I'll never forget, "Trust your motorcycle", and I have ever since(thanks Bill)...it helps to have good rubber on your wheels.
I do these things not to be careless, show off, or flirt with death, but to enhance my abilities... in all different conditions. To be a good motorcycle rider doesn't take a safety class or road test from the DMV, it takes practice. Not a ride around the block or to your local watering hole, but thousands upon thousands of tested miles. I said that I'm very comfortable with my abilities, but that doesn't mean I still don't need practice. After all, I love practicing... that's why I own a bike to begin with.
(To watch motorcyclists who race for a living, whatever kind of racing - but a good example is the Isle of Man TT - motivates me to become a better rider. These guys are the best at what they do and it shows. I envy them...)