June 25th marked the 3rd anniversary of Forty Years On Two Wheels. Concerning that momentous day I saw no headlines in the NY Times, Cycle World, or The National Enquirer and no congressional committee subpoenaed me to testify (I'd take the 5th anyway) so I guess my plan to become a world famous and incredibly wealthy moto-blogger is behind schedule. No matter, I'm having a pleasant time with all this, mostly, and you twelve regular readers seem to enjoy it also judging by the e-mails I receive.
Sometime back Angry Bob over at motorcyclebloggers.com offered up the question "Why blog?" and then answered it from his always interesting perspective. My answer to the question would be that I have some basic compulsion to write, to sort through my my thoughts and then see them in front of me, and blogging gives a better forum for that and a longer half-life for the words than what they would get in a typical motorcycle forum.
Things I've noticed about moto-blogging:
- Starting is the easy part.
- Many times I've thought of quitting (today, for example) but I'm not a quitter.
- Trying to come up with something semi-unique to say that has not been said a jillion times is tough. The world doesn't need another piece on helmet fit or tire changing.
- Taking and selecting the pictures for the blog is often times the most fun part.
- Putting a mildly risque picture in a post will get me in trouble at home.
- Writing about farting gets me lots of e-mails.
- The Triumph Scrambler entries draw more interest than the Harley entries.
- Blogging anything about Steve McQueen makes the hit counter jump.
- I don't have a lot of regular readers but the ones I have, judging by my e-mail, are a pretty interesting lot, including the once famous, the never famous, and the likely-to-be-infamous (Jeff at the late great, "Iron Livered Goon" blog).
- Meeting new people is the best part of blogging.
- When I started blogging in '04 there were perhaps a dozen motorcycle blogs I could find and now there are more than anyone really knows or could possibly have time to read.
- I only read about five blogs regularly now. I won't tell you which ones.
- Hardly anyone actually cares what anyone else thinks on any given subject.
- If it's not entertaining you're dead so never take yourself too seriously. There is a reason why Peter Egan is published and we blog.
- My favorite punctuation mark is the ellipsis...
- I can write a blog entry, edit it to death, re-read it a dozen times, and then find a typo thirty seconds after I hit the "Publish" button.
I didn't ride as much in late 2006 and early 2007 as I did in previous years. Some would say that getting married cut into the important things in life but that's not entirely true. Being well past 50 years old now means that the body, long abused by motorcycle racing, riding, hang gliding crashes, and other socially unacceptable activities, seems to let me down more often than it once did. There are a lot of really cool things about getting older but an aging body isn't one of them.
Back in early 1975 I had the misfortune to crash while flying an Icarus V hang glider. The confrontation with the earth left me with three fractured vertebrae in my back. Ask the fattest rider you know to stand on your back while wearing high heel shoes and you'll know how that feels. Be sure to get a picture too.
After laying around the house recouping for three months from the crash I did the only logical thing I could since I was also then out of work: I got on my BMW R90S and rode from California to Colorado to see what was there.
600 - 700 mile days were the norm as I set about riding all the highest paved passes I could find. It hurt but hey, I was young and tough...or thought so. These days, 30+ years later and long after the bones have healed but the arthritis the doctor predicted would happen has set in along with assorted other aliments, I'm pretty sure that one 600 mile day would be tough and doing several back to back would be my last foolish adventure.
That kiddies, is one of the reasons it is important to ride as much as you can when you can, because there will come a day when you cannot. Take the rides, push the days, buy the bikes. Do what mere mortals or financial managers say is crazy because one day your own body will begin to show it's own mortality. Don't do anything stupid, but do ride when you can and don't put it off thinking that "someday" you'll take that big trip or do that track day. "Someday" might slip by and become "never" and you'll truly be poorer for it.
If it sounds like I'm giving up riding you'd be dead wrong but I simply cannot ride as much or as far as I once did and frankly, that sucks. But reality is what it is and I'm really glad that I did that ride to Colorado and all the other crazy stuff over the years. But maybe because I did it I don't feel as much need now to venture off and flog myself through endless days on the road or prove anything to anybody. Good thing.
Speaking of pictures (nice segue, eh?)...
As you wander about riding, seeing the sites, taking in the rallies or doing whatever it is you like to do on your bike, be sure you STOP often and take pictures. And just as importantly, take pictures with people in them and YOU in them. The years will go by and memories will fade a bit and those pictures will mean the world to you when you're old and gray.
I've always been prone to taking pictures but like most people I took scenic shots without people in them. I've usually ridden alone which will in part explain the lack of people in the photos but beyond that, scenic shots are nearly worthless after 10 or 20 years. Unless you're a real pro photographer scenic shots look pretty dull because they never capture the reality of the moment. Take pictures of your friends, your bike, their bikes, and YOU. Turn the camera around because I guarantee you that in a decade or two you will get a big kick out of looking at pictures of yourself. That's not narcissism either, that's just the inherent human trait of trying to place our self in time, where we are now vs. where we were then.