This is the final installment of the series of getting back into motorcycling. For Part 3 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here, and Part 1 is here.
I’ve never done anything half-way. When I started riding I really wanted to get proficient, safe and comfortable with it as soon as possible. As I began racking up miles under my bikes I found that it gave me pleasures and satisfaction that I had never received in any car. The complete isolation from the outside world while being immediately in it presented a contrast that I never had driving a cage, where the radio was blaring, the air conditioning was on, the phone would ring, or my passengers would be talking to me.
The bike gives me the sensations without insulation. Riding through farmlands I can smell the onions ready for harvest. The smell of brakes alert me to big trucks ahead on downhill grades. The vibration of the engine and the road feedback tells me what my machine is doing at any given time. Where a car is insulated, the forces of cornering, braking, etc., more violent, everything on the motorcycle is there, and movement is smooth and flows with the physics of your motions and body. Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 4 — 25,000 miles in 9 months
This is the second in a series of articles about getting back into riding after a long hiatus. Part 1 of the series can be found here.
There are a couple of reasons that I will positively own a Moto Guzzi, some practical, some whimsical, and a final emotional reason – Officer Floyd “Skip” Fink of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Skip Fink patrolled in the Globe-Miami area when I was a kid. He and his partner, Russ Fifer, used to ride their big Guzzi Eldorados all over town, and visited my Father’s Restaurant/Hotel almost every day for lunch or dinner.
I made sure I was there when they pulled up. Floyd would wrestle with me, tell me about his job and treat me like a little brother (I had bruises to prove it). I always had the utmost respect for him, and it influenced my opinion of law enforcement for my entire life. Big Guzzis were exotic anywhere, even though a quite a few law enforcement organizations used them. The general public at that time was enamored of the Honda 750 and later the even larger-displacement Kawasakis. I don’t think that anyone in my small town even knew that Italians made motorcycles, yet here they were; big, fast and tank-like. All style and a stamp of approval from Law Enforcement officials that were practically family. Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 2 – The Nicest People Ride a Honda, but the Most Eclectic People Ride a Moto Guzzi!
So I’m 46 years old. I’ve been on hiatus from my “mechanical hobby”; restoring cars, for nearly three years. I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and sold off my last Citroen DS21, on January 18, 2005. On a self-enforced hiatus for two years, it’s been another year because the Ideal Ride that lurked in my head just never materialized.
Enter “Test Pilot Bill” in Phoenix. I’ve known him for years through my wife, Sheila. He is possibly one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.
Last year by happenstance he showed me his newly acquired 2004 Triumph Bonneville that is absolutely perfect, low miles, and an H.G.-Welles-Time-Machine moment (I orginially attributed it to Orwell – forgive me!) with all the wonderful things about British bikes and none of their vices.
As I threw my leg over the Bonnie, something funny hit me. Kind of a “yeah… nice”. It fit not only my butt – it fit into my thoughts. Something deep inside me began eating away two of the four wheels that my Ideal Ride had always possessed. From that moment, I began to think of a motorcycle as The Thing to replace the Car Habit I had nurtured for more than 30 years.
I didn’t know if my search would result in a Triumph like Bill’s, but I knew that I would start on a journey of self-discovery and, as I write this, I couldn’t be more excited about anything I have ever undertaken.
Continue reading Getting back into Motorcycling: Embracing your Mid-Life Crisis — Part 1