Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mile 6,969: Owner vs. Biker

You know you're a cake snob when your sweet neighbor lady comes out and offers you leftover birthday cake and you respond, "Is it homemade or store bought?" But the one thing I have learned the hard way as an adult is that it is better to be picky. As grandmother put it, "Life is too long to drink bad coffee." Just too many mornings, day after day.

It's like the thought of not riding my bike to work. You know you're a biker when getting in a car makes you frustrated. And I don't use that word "biker" loosely, I assure you. It's a description of daily activity, not a title you win and then decide to get a tattoo.

I have a brother down south who owns an independent motorcycle shop who goes on rides you measure by thousands of miles. He went to Utah earlier this year, and as a like-minded biker, starts dreaming about the next journey while still on the ride home.

This is not something you can purchase at a store.

Another brother who works at NASA opens his garage in the morning and rides to work as a second-nature reflex; it's not even a choice most of the time. You just do it. That's biker.

Up in South Dakota and Wyoming earlier this month, the place was littered with motorcycle owners who had no business going through the mountains in the rain. I apologize to you, O faithful reader, if that sounds a tad judgmental. Because I don't want it to sound a tad judgmental; I want it to sound very judgmental.

You got a Harley last week? Cool. Put it on a trailer and cart it up to Sturgis. Then break it in doing technical riding in the rain. Sheesh. Not good. Although we had a great time, many in the crew I ride with agreed that if we ever go back, it will be at times other than the rally. Those roads are meant to be ridden in peace.

At the risk of this essay sounding self-congratulatory, the main point is inviting others who identify with this impulse to simply say, "Yeah, that describes me."

Because I know plenty who will. And I know plenty who won't. And that's okay. (I guess?) At least it floods the market with barely-ridden Harleys.

Now I'm craving homemade cake, a freshly-ground cup of coffee, and a ride out to Big Bend. All three are good. And not everybody likes such things. And that's okay, too. As my brother, Goldfinger, is fond of quoting his grandfather, "If everyone liked the same thing, they'd all be after your grandmother."

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