Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Do I Ride?

Ever since Danny Choy and I started Flappy Paddles Heads, I have wanted to write about why I ride motorcycles.  Since I got my license over five years ago, it seemed that I couldn't go a week without explaining my reasons, especially living in a very congested (read: dangerous for motorcycles) city like Boston.  Every time I sat down in front of the computer, I would start typing about feeling the temperature drop as I passed through the shadows of a tree line, the sweet smell of bread as a baker completed a tray of rolls as another is put in the oven, or the sight of a setting sun through my tinted visor as the sun's last warming rays and I parted ways for the short summer night.  Yet, these descriptions, while true, never felt complete.  Now, just over a month since I woke up to an empty parking space and with a 20/20 hindsight, I can finally convey what riding is to me while thanking my departed Daytona for showing me.

2006 Triumph Daytona 675 - stolen August 23, 2011

Let's backtrack for a second here.  In the past five years I have owned three different motorcycles with three different engine configurations. In chronological order they were a '98 Honda CBR600F3 (I4), an '03 Suzuki SV650S (V2), and an '06 Triumph Daytona 675 (I3).  The first two were ridden for a year each then sold while the Daytona stayed with me for the last three until it was stolen about a month ago.  I can not speak more highly of the Daytona.  Its ability to take a corner far exceeded the aged CBR and sloppy Suzuki.  It had smooth, unrelenting torque to easily dispatch city traffic coupled with a high rpm rush that would end with a highly illegal number on the speedometer.  While these things always kept a smile on my face as a rider, the sheer aural and visual experience of the bike could be appreciated by all.  In essence, it was the perfect bike.

In other words, the Triumph made riding easy.  Everything just came into its own.  As a result, the landscape, scenery, smells, temperature, even emotions were more readily accessible without having to worry about how the bike was going to behave, without having to think about how to control the bike.  Traction control and anti-lock brakes were built into my right hand.  Every slight wrist movement caused the tach needle to stir and every movement of my body was transmitted to the bike's trajectory.  Yet, I couldn't be more comfortable on the bike. This one-ness, this complete symbiotic relationship, is something that very few outside the motorcycling community will ever experience with a machine.

Riding a motorcycle is easy to do but hard to do well.  However, with the perfect bike, it can become second nature, almost instinctive.  This is what the Daytona did for me.  Every ride was exciting yet relaxing.  I could feel whatever was happening around me while still being able to get away from it all.  For me, riding isn't about the sheer speed or the danger.  It's about the purity of the experience.

Riding is pure.

1 comment:

  1. nice post, very heartfelt.

    sorry to hear about your bike, i hope insurance was able to take care of it! (i know, it doesn't really replace the one you lost though)