~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Nothing Else

This afternoon I pruned the bushes around the front of the house. Some how it was too hot to ride but not too hot to prune bushes. I guess there's no way that yard work is going to be fun for me so if it's a little worse than normal, what's the difference? On the other hand, riding is fun and the fun can be diluted by 103° weather.

I usually like to leave for my Sunday afternoon rides about an hour or an hour and a half before sunset, this gets me out and about when the light is interesting for photography and the Arizona summer heat is a bit less intense.

As happens to people my age after a bout of yard work in 103° weather, I flopped down in my easy chair to cool down and promptly fell asleep until 6:30, just about the time I should have been standing somewhere taking pictures. Drat.

I fed the dogs before they had a fit, quickly put on some boots and hopped on the bike for some riding sans photography. The ride was nothing special, just a 40 mile loop out through farm country again with my awareness divided between watching the light change with the setting sun and listening to the rumble of the 1600cc V-twin. The most important thing was to get some riding in, to feel the bike and the wind and be recharged a little before I plunge into the coming week.

For their handling or speed there are bikes I might rather ride than the Kawasaki but none have the sweet low RPM rumble of a big v-twin. I wish someone would build a 1600cc v-twin sportbike / cruiser / standard or something. The Suzuki V-Strom has a nice v-twin but not the low down rumble and grunt of a bigger, low RPM torque motor. I probably would have been happier with the Kawasaki 1600 Meanstreak with it's inverted forks and slightly sportier handling but the dealer didn't have any when I was ready and able to buy and as every guy knows when shopping for a bike, you better grab it while you can. Of course living where I do sporty handling is largely wasted anyway and the big 1600 Classic has proven a great way to truly cruise the countryside with a minimum of fuss and lots of statifying torque if highly limited cornering clearance.

When I got back into town it was dark and I was hungry, somehow lunch got missed during the day. Taking the easy way out I pulled into the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now you're thinking, "Man, there must have some place better than that." No there isn't. I live in a small town in Arizona and the BEST restaurant in town is a "Chili's." They were too busy when I rode by; Sunday night dinner at Chili's is the highlight of the weekly social life here for lots of people.

So I'm sitting in the KFC munching some chicken strips and staring out the window at the bike with nothing particular on my mind except regret that I didn't get out to ride earlier. From somewhere the thought popped into my head: "What would you rather have parked out there waiting for you than a motorcycle?" Interesting thought and typical of my "What if" way of looking at things.

I work for a German car manufacturer as an engineer of sorts and my position allows me to drive a variety of nice cars periodically. They range from sporty little econoboxes to very premium luxury sedans so I have some experience with nicer vehicles than I can actually afford and what it might be like to have one as my ride. So what would I rather have out there waiting for me than a Kawasaki 1600 Classic? A Ferrari? A Lamborghini? A Porsche? My initial gut answer was "Nothing else." Yeah, it would be sooo nice to have a Lamborghini out there, the women would be all over me, right? Right... Uh huh...

I thought about the various exotic cars, how they look, perform, attract the ladies, and so on. But what would really please me more than a nice motorcycle for my evening ride? Year and in and year out, nothing does if for me more than a bike. There are bikes that it would have been exciting ride the rest of the way home on than the big Kaw. A Ducati 999 comes to mind or a Suzuki Hayabusa but nothing in the relm of cars does it like a bike does. Cars can be a thrill, cars can make some sort of prominent social statement about your wealth or your ego, but none of them really get inside your head the way motorcycles do. Bikes are visceral, real, always a little dangerous, always an extension of yourself rather than a box in which you sit. Nothing else feels like a bike, nothing else blows the debris of the day out of the mind like a bike, nothing else mechanical is as purely addictive and available as a motorcyle.

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence



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