Evans Off Camber – Motorcycling Saved My Life

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In a couple months, I will cross over the mathematical point where I will have been a motorcyclist for more than half my life. When thinking about this in recent days, I realized that I have been riding motorcycles for a lower percentage of my life than most – if not all – of the motojournalists I know – even those who are almost a generation younger than me. Although I may have started motorcycling comparatively late in life, when I fell for it, I fell hard. Motorcycling changed my life in more ways than I could ever explain.

Without going in to all the maudlin details, 26 years ago this month, I found myself alone in a half-empty apartment a mere five months, five days after standing in front of all the friends and family that mattered and uttering the words “until death do us part.” To make matters even more dire, I was out of work because of a Director’s Guild strike that had essentially shut down the film industry in New York. So, there I sat, stewing in my own juices until one morning, as I walked to my local donut shop to buy a coffee, a motorcycle passed me on the street.

Kawasaki EX500 with Evans Brasfield

Of all the photos of me and motorcycles taken of me over the years, this is my favorite. A print of it hangs on my office wall.

Over the next several days, I began to see motorcycles everywhere. Brooklyn, in January, had suddenly become a hotbed of motorcycling – or so it seemed. Because I’d endured a decade of forced reading of Anne Landers and Dear Abby columns about the dangers of motorcycles (after I’d shown a youthful interest in the machines on the cover of the Easy Rider soundtrack in my parents’ record collection), I took my budding fascination with motorcycles as a clear sign that I was suicidal. Nothing else could explain it.

So, I did what any avid reader, who didn’t yet know that he was going to be a writer and just so happened to have tons of time on his hands and absolutely no money, would do: I went to the library. The Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Library was within walking distance, so I spent my days there studying.

To those growing up in the internet age, it’s impossible to explain the feeling of walking into the main branch of a massive library system and knowing that all the information I was looking for was right there, waiting for me to access it. I spent hours and then days in the periodicals section loading microfiche after microfiche of motorcycle magazines, accident studies, motorcycle safety training information – anything I could find about motorcycling.

Motorcycle Covered in Bugs

Riding in Florida during love bug season.

I learned how to translate the alphabet soup of motorcycle model names. I discovered that, despite the image of motorcyclists as outlaws openly mocking society’s norms or as reckless kids unaware of their own mortality, a good many thoughtful people rode – and wrote about – motorcycles. Gradually, I came to the conclusion that perhaps I wasn’t suicidal at all. Perhaps, I was on the cusp of a big, important change in my life – something possibly even life affirming.

I began to formulate a plan.

All my life, I’d read books about travel, a small contingent of which dealt with that most American of modes, the road trip: On the Road,Travels with Charlie, A Turn in the South, Blue Highways, to name a few. (I didn’t discover and obsess over Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance until much later.) I decided to buy a motorcycle, pack up my troubles, and see America, not stopping until I ran out of continent.

Motorcycle Campsite

Somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, the campsite for the night at the end of a path off a remote road on national forest land.

By late-summer, I was loading myself and 65 pounds of gear onto a shiny, new EX500 as I set out on a three-month 11,000-mile journey west. Somewhere, as I slept on couches, on creaky motel beds and on the ground in campsites, off fire roads, or at the end of trails that led to a ridge with a view, somewhere in the humid South surrounded by bug-song or in the arid West with vistas the expanse of which could never be measured on a human scale, somewhere as I rode in the rain or got speeding tickets or sat on the shoulder repairing crash damage with a hose clamp and baling wire, somewhere, at some point – and I can’t specifically say where – somewhere, the rebound relationship I was having with my motorcycle became a deep, life-changing love.

And through that love, I found the person I was meant to be.

Once I landed in the San Fernando Valley, I immersed myself in the California motorcycle culture. When I wasn’t working on movies that most people would never see, I rode my bike, churning through an endless series of tires as I set out to find every winding road in Southern California. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with my college friends getting loaded on Friday and Saturday nights because I wanted to be sharp for the next morning’s ride. Sundays, my riding buddies and I used to say, were sacred, and we spent the mornings on the Angeles Crest Highway before afternooning on the roads around the Rock Store.

Kawasaki EX500 Motorcycle Adventure

My bike and I successfully reached the edge of the continent after 11,000 miles of meandering.

When I decided to go to grad school to become a writer, I supported myself by teaching motorcycle safety, and it was through a fellow instructor that I learned of a job opening at a motorcycle magazine. Now, after 18 years scribbling about motorcycles, I often find myself considering how much better my life has been than the one I’d planned out and had derailed when I was 26.

On my first day working at Motorcycle Cruiser, my boss and mentor, Art Friedman, introduced me to the rest of the staff with the statement, “Another productive life ruined by the motorcycle industry.”

Over the years, I’ve come to a differing conclusion: Motorcycles didn’t just make my life; motorcycling saved my life.

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33 Comments

  1. Art Friedman
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Nah, I still we ruined it…but in a GOOD way.

    • Evans Brasfield
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Well, I’ve definitely been spoiled for any other profession.

    • Shane Myers
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Love the quote Art
      I did the same. But yeah, it’s in a good way!

  2. DavidyArica Freire
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    That’s how I feel can’t really explain it but I love motorcycles! I’m glad you were able to put it into words.

  3. Jed Wheeler
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I started riding at 31, after loving motorcycles but being scared I’d get killed for most of my life. It has been a revelation, I love it. My only regret is not starting sooner. Great article, thanks for sharing!

  4. Toni
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this heartfelt article. A lot of people thought and still think I am crazy for wanting to ride a motorcyle because I am a mom of two yound kids. Well, 2 1/2 years and 33K miles later, all I can say is I am a very happy and complete individual that has shown my daughter & son they can do anything in life if they just put their hearts and mind to do so. Others moms sit around watch soap opera or go shopping when they have two hours break before the kids comes home from school, but not this mom. Any free time I have are spent carving the moutains of Santa Cruz, Ca or exploring new twisties to practice my skills on. Motorcycle has become apart of my family. We all ride dirt bikes as a family, If this is crazy, I have found my kind of crazy to be in…!

    • Evans Brasfield
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Go see Why We Ride. Take your non-riding friends, too. There’s a ton of family motorcycling stuff in the movie. My ten year old daughter has been riding on the back of my motorcycle for a couple years, now. She loves it and comments on all the bikes I bring home. I want to teach her to be my official pillion tester!

      • Toni
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:01 am | Permalink

        Thank you Evans, I went to see Why We Ride in the theater when it first came out… And bought the Dvd for the family. We are definitely very passionate about motorcycles. The kids rides with me and my husband occasionally in the back. We are working towards longer rides with them. I m still a little nervous having one of them as my pillion.

        Sounds like you are training your daughter well. How exciting!

      • John A. Stockman
        Posted January 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Evans, motorcycling saved me from certain mental/physical decline because of my disability. I was afflicted with an insidious genetic collagen defect, SEDT, which destroyed all my joint cartilage and spinal discs. I grew up in a family of accomplished motorcyclists and got my first little dirt bike in the late 60′s at the age of 9. Since my condition is so rare, it was constantly misdiagnosed. Doctors told my parents when I was 11 that I had MD and wouldn’t live to see my 18th birthday. My spine fused, along with my hip joints, by the time I was 14. Motorcycling was off the table for me…I couldn’t even straddle a motorcycle seat. I used crutches for 12 years, which completely atrophied my leg muscles. I found out about hip replacement surgeries in 1979 and sought to have that done. It took me over a year to find a surgeon that would do total hip replacements on someone as young as me, in my early 20′s. My goal was to be able to ride my own street bike with my grandpa (my avatar photo) riding his 1939 Indian Chief. Between 1980 and 1983 I endured 3 hip replacement surgeries because the first one failed and had to be re-done. The surgeries were cake compared to the arduous and tortuous physical therapy to get my muscles strong enough to walk w/o crutches. Docs said my leg muscles were too far gone after 12 years of walking with critches. Unfortunately, I found out right away NOT to share my goal of being able to ride a motorcycle again. Friends, and especially any doctor, all said I was insane. “Don’t you know motorcycles make people handicapped? You’re already crippled and you want to waste all that money and resources going through all that to what, ride a motorcycle?” My grandpa, George, was the only one I could share that with and my only supporter. My physical therapist at the time refused to work with me anymore when she found out why I was going through the surgeries and therapy. I was able to toss the crutches and walk under my own power early in ’83. I got my first street bike in May 1983, a 1981 KZ250LTD. I put 38,000 miles on that bike in two years, going all over the west and Canada. I was told many times “you can’t tour on a 250″, one time by a guy when I was in Westlock, Alberta on my KZ250! I told him, “well you don’t see a trailer or truck and yet here I am, a thousand miles from my home.” Some Pony Express over-the-seat saddle bags and a National Cycle wind screen was all I needed. The feeling of physical freedom was something that would’ve been a forgotten memory, but through motorcycling, I was able to experience it. I had to have 3 more hip replacement surgeries up through 1993, for a total of 6. The cement they used to hold the implant in place would deteriorate after a couple/three years. I got new cement-less implants in ’89 and ’93 and have been good ever since. Grandpa always taught me to get training, refresh your skills with more training, and to practice, practice those skills at least once a month in an empty parking lot somewhere. Before my hips fused, I used to go with him on the back of his Indian on those early Sunday morning practice sessions; I’d set up the tennis balls he cut in half as “cones” and he’d practice his swerving, braking, avoidance, and doing feet-up U-turns. I’ve always kept up the “tradition” of our empty-parking-lot-practice-sessions at least once a month, and never rode without my kit of riding gear. There’s much more to the story of my challenges to become a motorcyclist in the face of my condition. I did not get an accurate diagnosis until I was 40 in 1997, when I found out I had a genetic collagen defect. Being auto-immune, it was my own body & immune system that destroyed all my joint cartilage. It was all WORTH IT and I’d do it all over again just to be able to enjoy the physical freedom that I could not have experienced in any other way, except through motorcycling. Even though my ambitions to be a pro motocross rider and road racer were not obtainable, the fact that I achieved what I did was just as fulfilling to me as standing on the podium in a world-class racing event. Great article Evans; although we have different desires and achieved our goals in a different fashion, it was motorcycling that got me out of my personal pity-party, feeling sorry for myself, and gave me a goal to strive for. In spite of the fact that everyone (except my grandpa) put me down, abandoned me and denigrated me for wanting to get my physical freedom back through motorcycling.

        • Evans Brasfield
          Posted February 1, 2014 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          John, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure that those years you spent riding were even sweeter because of the effort you had to go through just to get to the point where you could ride.

          • John A. Stockman
            Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Evans, it was my pleasure to relate a portion of my experiences and thrilled that you took the time to read through it. My grandpa and I would pour over all the motorcycling publications from the time I started to read. He subscribed to every American-based one and a couple of British and European magazines. Our favorite was Cycle News because it came out every week and we could read about and discuss all the motorcycle racing. I have a lot of old B&W photos similar to my avatar pic, showing my family members riding and enjoying their bikes in all kinds of weather. I’m going to be the last motorcyclist in my family, though, after 110 years of motorcycling and racing from my relatives. Grandpa’s immediate family raced on the board tracks for Indian, Harley and Excelsior. No current relative will ride, nor is there a desire to, even knowing my own struggles to ride again so I could continue our family tradition and heritage. I’ll close with a quote I heard from John Surtees, as he was being interviewed at a Goodwood Festival of Speed and was asked who he thought was going to win an upcoming big-deal world soccer match. He gave the guy a look of disgust and said “Children play with balls and sticks, men race, and REAL men race motorcycles.” Thank you Sir John Surtees! Here’s a pic of one of my relatives in 1922 on his board track bike.

        • Robs
          Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          That was inspiring John!! Thank yo for sharing!! My best friend and riding buddy in the 80s stopped riding many years ago due to arthritic hip joints. Last year, he had his hips replaced and is currently working himself up physically to ride the Kawasaki Concours he bought before the surgery. The day he’s ready, he will call me and I will join him on his first ride, along with his son who now owns the 1982 Honda Interceptor my friend bought new. I’m sharing your story with him.

          Ride on brother!

          • John A. Stockman
            Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Robs! Tell your friend not to give up and make sure he refreshes his riding skills with some sort of training course and that all-important practice. I’d get a few of my friends together for our Sunday-morning practice sessions and they were always good learning & bonding experiences when shared with friends. Feel free to send me a FB message…if there’s any way I could help your friend out, even just exchanging some e-mails, I’d be glad to offer any encouragement or advice. Thanks again for your reply Robs.

        • Montgomery Markel
          Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          It would be a pleasure to ride with you Mr. Stockman. Your words are an inspiration to many that you don’t even know with disabilities. My lid awaits and my visor is up to salute you sir!

          • John A. Stockman
            Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Thank you Montgomery. I’ve been trying to get my story out there, but I’ve only been able to do it in this fashion and not in a major-market publication. Motorcycling itself is a niche, and the fact I’m a disabled motorcyclist that’s not an amputee and has a condition that even doctors have never heard of, makes it even more miniscule and probably doesn’t hold a wide enough interest for a magazine article or write-up. No matter; it would be great, but I didn’t go through all that so I could get recognition. I did for myself, and for those riders like yourself that can appreciate the difficulties and challenges required to be a healthy motorcyclist, let alone one who’s joints are gone. I’m sure if we met, it would be a pleasure to ride with you also and share our personal experiences. Thanks for your kind words!

          • Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            Thank you for sharing part of your story, John. I’d really like to read more and I’m sure others here agree. Have you checked into Amazon Self Publishing? Perhaps that’s a way you can get your story published.
            http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

            If you’re near the Inland Empire in SoCal, feel free to join me & my friends on our rides:
            http://IESTR.net/

          • John A. Stockman
            Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Paul, thank you so much for that link. My niece is quite accomplished with writing and communications, and she is helping me coordinate my experiences and thoughts. I have started to write down my endeavors (chronologically) to become a motorcycle rider again, so with her expertise and my own abilities at communicating my experiences, I know we can have something that many would like to read about…even those who don’t ride. Plus it would get the word out about this condition, so maybe younger people would not be mis-diagnosed like I was. It is still going on today with the various ways this condition can manifest itself. Mick Mars, the guitar player in Motley Crue, has a version of this disease. Fortunately, my parents would not allow doctors to perform any procedures on me, based on a not-quite-right MD, MS, Polio or RA diagnosis. Many of those that have this condition have been treated for those other ones. Many are dead, or really screwed up; I’m one of a kind as I’m sort of the raw, untouched version. But that was the late 60s and early 70s. Apparently, people are still being mis-diagnosed. I have yet to see a doctor, except that genetic specialist, that has even heard of what I have. Yet they still want to tell me what’s “best” for me. I have become my own best expert regarding what works best for me and provides me with a little relief from constant pain. Which means that I’m still being treated like a criminal, loser and too immature to know what works AFA pain management. But that’s another whole story. Thanks for the encouragement. I used to go to the Griffith Park event every year near LA, but my condition is getting progressively worse fairly fast now and my riding ability at this point is not looking very good. Nothing can stop its progression. Only stem-cell research and genetic manipulation can offer any hope to me, but I’m afraid that it’s not going to happen soon enough to keep me riding. It’s too bad that the religious community and misunderstandings have slowed it down way too much. I’m on FB, so feel free to send me a message. I really appreciate all the kind responses, as I thought it wasn’t interesting enough to get any exposure from the mainstream motorcycling press.

  5. Steve Seybold
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Your journey echoes the healing power of motorcycling that Neal Peart wrote about in Ghost Rider. Glad it worked!!

    • Evans Brasfield
      Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, Ghost Rider sits on the shelf in my office. Great book!

      Motorcycles are good for the soul.

  6. Damian Xuereb
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Lovely, heartfelt article. Makes me wish I became a motorcycle jouralist if only Malta wheren’t so small

  7. FreeFrog
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Sweet!

  8. Mark D
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Hey Evans, awesome story! Ironically, after my mid-20s quarter-life crisis, I also took up motorcycling, which about two years afterwards, let to me riding cross-country to relocate to the west coast…on an EX500! This was in 2011, so its pretty amazing to think about what a great, versatile, and indestructible bike the EX500 is. I documented my journey at http://rider49er.blogspot.com/. Some of my photos look the same as yours, only time-warped almost 25 years into the future!

    • Evans Brasfield
      Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      If you’re willing to travel light, the Ninja 500 makes a great touring mount. It looks like you had a great trip! Writing this article made me go dig out my photos from the trip for the first time in many years. Great memories!

  9. Mac O'brien
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Great article. Tells it as we understand. Started riding at 15, now 67, still at it. My stepson rides & his 16 year old daughter is a brilliant pillion. Love the family connection mentioned by Toni.

  10. Tom Brown
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    You know, there’s motorcycling and motorcycling.

    The sort of genuine desire for it that you describe here is the right sort of reason to do it.

    I fawned over Hondas in my youth. To my utter amazement, I was given a new, yellow Honda Trial 90 for my 14th birthday in Louisville,KY. Driving age for bikes was 16. I had no training and was told to give people rides on it at the Derby Day party a few days later. I think they may have been trying to kill me. “Over my head” would aptly describe my early riding experiences. No one else had a bike like this. I had zero training of any kind and didn’t know where to get it. After about a year, it came to a bad end. …Skip a few years and I got another Honda in college, a used 305 Scrambler. Again, I rode it home, my “other” parents were shocked. I then rode it 300+ miles to Athens, OH to college. Used it to get to town from the apartment I rented about 10 miles out. School closed early that year…Kent State/Viet Nam protests…I stopped at still-open Antioch College in Yellow Springs to see a friend. Met some guys going on a cross country camping tour on a 500cc BMW. I decided to tag along using a sheet of plastic rolled around my bike at night for a tent, reading my copy of Zen atAoMM at night. Apparently my maintenance skills were not yet fully honed…The 305 didn’t make it. I sold it for an air ticket home from Missoula, MT, but what a great time that was! After college, went to work in Chicago burbs and bought a used BSA Rocket 3 set up as a cafe bike. Managed to have a very bad wreck on that one. My own stupid fault. I was considering getting back on the horse when 2 weeks later, my riding buddy got rear-ended while stopped for a left turn. Didn’t get back on the horse for 25 years.

    This time, I got my own BMW, a lightly used 1100 RT. Like you, I sought out every piece of film and literature on motorcycles I could find. I wanted to do it right this time. I bought good gear and a good helmet, learned about all the things I’d been doing wrong and changed my entire approach to it. Now I’ve got 75,xxx miles on my 3rd RT and there’s an Aprilia Mille R in the garage for short trips.

    Been losing motivation for the sport recently. Your article has made me think again. Thanks for that!

  11. mike
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I have been on two wheels for forty years now, started when I was 10. On the flipside of this feature, I have decided to become what I’ve always wanted to do, try my hand at photo journalism, albeit late in life. Thanks for this story!

    • Evans Brasfield
      Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Good luck with the photojournalism!

  12. Michael Meadows
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I can’t explain in words how motorcycling has changed my life but here’s a snippet… It brought me closer to family I thought was lost, made peace within myself as I ride these New England roads listening to and feeling nature in the “wind therapy” I receive while riding. It was once said, and I don’t know who said it, but “I’d rather be out riding thinking about God, than sitting in a pew thinking about riding. If you don’t ride, you don’t know…”

  13. Anthony Srvlnc Pearce
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    After being Inspired from my Landlords, Thom and Honore McIllhattan and their love of Harley Davidsons and Riding, and from the inspirations of stories about Riding from Todd Taylor, my Friend and Owner of the Tattoo Shop I work at in Berkeley, CA named INDUSTRIAL TATTOO, I decided to try to learn how to ride through an MSF course myself.

    November of 2012, I took a RIDER’S EDGE course through Harley Davidson in Vacaville CA. I PASSED !!!! I could not wait to get a motorcycle for my very own, as I had only been on the Buell Blast that was provided during training. While waiting to get my own bike after passing, I started reading a book given to me by Todd. SHE’S A BAD MOTORCYCLE is the name of the book, and I fell in Love with the Adventure Stories in it. Instead of Fiching through the Micros as you did, which I’m sure, I would have been doing as well, had I discovered Motorcycling before this ever expansive internet, I watched YouTube video after YouTube video of all kinds of Motorcycling Knowledge. CounterSteering Became Virtually Understood. I started buying Magazines and more books. I really enjoyed reading the Medical Motorcycling and Mental Motorcycling articles in MOTORCYCLE CONSUMER NEWS. I believe I bought the last one available on the stands as I have now only been able to get this magazine by way of subscription.
    I bought my First Motorcycle in March of 2013 from RIDE-ON MOTORCYCLES in my now HOME TOWN, VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA. A 1986 HONDA Shadow VT 1100 with a little over 18,000 miles on it, and I have been riding just about everyday since. I went on many little weekend trips, camping whenever I could. I was invited to ride in a 4th of July parade here in town and that afternoon, I put my son on the back, and it has been our only transportation ever since. In September I went on a 6,000 mile Solo Motorcycle Journey to the Midwest and back, as I set out to visit family, friends, and clients and tattoo them and share stories :) I made it to quite a few parks along the way and when I got back and shared the stories, people kept telling me that I should write about it all. I had only ever read but a few books all the way through in my life and that was within the last 4 years of my life. I have only written rhymes as I love to play with words until one day after a ride I wrote about the SYNCHRONISTIC events that I noticed throughout my previous week. I have started writing about my history of motorcycling and tattooing and now I am up to 275 pages written about my journey so far, with many more pages still to be written about the trip. If my Writing catches up withy Riding, I will be Suprised, as I have many more stories to write about since I have been back. My son and I have been on a ride to the state Capitol with hundreds of other Rider’s as well as attending the thousands of spectators at a NITRO CIRCUS Event in San Jose, and we have just recently experienced our first SUPERCROSS in Oakland. CA.
    After RIDING WELL OVER 18,000 miles on my HONDA, I knew I was going to need another Motorcycle. I just put money down on my Second Motorcycle. After test riding a bunch of bikes and reading reviews as well as watching them on YouTube, and looking at what will be realistically affordable to me, I chose a 2009 BUELL ULYSSES, which became available from one of the guys that works at RIDE-ON MOTORCYCLES.
    I hope to get my writing published as well some day, as both WRITING AND RIDING and grow in each experience:)

    Thank You For Reading
    Anthony Pearce
    a.k.a. Toe Knee

    • Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I hope to read more of your story, Toe Knee! Please let me know when/where/how I can when you’re ready.

      You’ll love the Uly; it’s a fantastic do anything, go anywhere bike. My first bike was a Buell XB12R Firebolt, second was a V-Rod & I currently own a Buell 1125R as well as 2 Yamahas (FJR1300ATC & FZ6-R). Be sure to join BadWeB (http://www.badweatherbikers.com), the oldest Buell forum, if you haven’t already. Tons of great info & people on there.

  14. Cindy Rae Mewhorter
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Great article! I have been riding motorcycles for 40 years and drove my Harley around Europe for 10 years. Following somewhat in your path, I have been spending time at the library and writing. I could not imagine my life without a motorcycle!

  15. Jay Dee
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Tears nearly swelled in my eyes while reading this article. Back in 1969 I convinced my parents that I could by a motorcycle and ride it to school and any where else. I had my mate, Dave, there to help persuade them. My first purchase was a Bridgestone 100. Many bikes have followed. Currently I have three and I am about to buy another one to rebuild as a cafe racer. I have just retired from being a school principal. I was the ‘quirky’ one who turned up to principal meetings on a Buell Firebolt while they jumped out of their BMWs, Audis etc. That added some mystic! My students loved the fact that their principal loved bikes. On my last day at the school all of the students, staff and parents who were there lined up in two lines while I cruised across the playground with my partner on the pillion seat. Born to be Wild was playing through the PA system as everyone madly waved. A rather different farewell for a school principal!
    Nothing beats being in the landscape rather than moving through it in a cocoon.
    Thank you for for this lovely article.
    Now retired, bikes keep my mind active, even if I just give one a polish!

  16. Sentinel
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    You sir have most beautifully put into words what many of us feel deep within our hearts, and what no “non-rider” could ever possibly understand; well done!

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