Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Second Form of Two Wheel Love

I have this secret.  This dark and dirty secret I rarely expose to my fellow cyclists.  Brace yourself.  I love motorcycles.  Yes, this environmentally conscious, human powered obsessed woman has this passion for gasoline powered bikes.  I don't own one, and probably won't ever own one as long as I live in the Midwest, but there are dreams...and those dreams were just sparked again earlier this week.

A friend of mine decided to ride from his current residence in North Carolina, to his hometown just North of Minneapolis.  In his path was Madison.  He was kind enough to make a two day layover to catch up after spending 12 hours riding from West Virginia.  Although deep down I was hoping he'd bring me out on his Suzuki touring bike, I wasn't about to ask him since I thought he needed a one day reprieve.  Luckily, he offered and we took a few hours to tour around some of my favorite spots in Madison.  All I can say is this little kid inside of me could not be contained.  My cheeks still hurt from smiling so much and the moment we got done with the ride, I instantly felt like jumping up and down and saying "One more time!, just as I would have after a roller coaster ride when I was ten.

I will say that bombing down a steep hill on a bicycle is just about the best feeling in the world, but being on a motorcycle is a bit different.  I can't explain it and a lot of you may not understand.  I could probably blame part of this on my dad.  Not only did he get me hooked on bicycles, but it was with him that I also fell in love with motorcycles.  I have so many childhood memories of riding on his Honda either in the back or in the sidecar.  I remember being so small the first few rides that I'd ride in front of him.  It all felt completely natural and I looked forward to it every summer.

My dad didn't own a motorcycle for long, and I didn't get many chances to ride through my teens and twenties.  A few joy rides here and there with friends and a ride with my dad about ten years ago on his new BMW touring bike, but even with the infrequent rides, my head would always turn when I would see a beautiful bike and the joys of riding would come rushing back.

Now, aesthetics are just as important to me on gas powered bikes as they are with human powered bikes.  I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of Harleys.  I don't like the way they look and I despise the way they sound.  Sad to say, I live in Harley country, and it's just about the only brand I see.  This is part of the reason I have been able to squelch my dreams of owning my own bike.  I would so much rather be surrounded by Norton's, Indians, BMW's and Triumph's.  They are pieces of art, not just transportation.  I actually enjoy just standing and looking at them while I dream of riding the same back country roads I currently bike on.

Because it's been so long since I've been on a motorcycle, I was hoping some of the joy had died, not unlike going to a water or amusement park as an adult.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I'd get out there and after ten minutes think "Okay, that was fun, but I'm done now."   No such luck.  It just sparked my desire to ride again.  Damn.  Since I won't be getting a motorcycle of my own, I'll have to hit my friends up with bikes for spins now and then.  I guess I'll just have to quit my job now since this is  one more thing I want to fit into my jam packed summers.  So if you see a woman riding on the back of a motorcycle with hideous cyclist tan lines, there's a fairly strong chance that it's me.

This post is for James, who reignited my other two wheeled passion.  Thanks...I think.

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