Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mile 7,800: Blood and Motorcycles

The tall buildings and skyscrapers. Artificial mountains we coastal dwellers build to create height and depth. Our hills are the ramps of parking garages. This is the active imagination of a biker with an ancient island in my blood.

Some of my family just went to the Isle of Man off the east coast of Ireland. And up until just recently, I thought that my dad's side of the family came from England, and my mom's side of the family came from Ireland. I had no idea that the English side was actually a tad more specific. The Christians are from The Isle of Man.

On their recent trip, they thumbed through an Isle of Man phonebook to find two whole pages of Christians. (The proper name, not the religion; although I am a bonafide Christian.)

And if you are wondering where this is going, O Faithful Reader, it is going all the way back to 1907 when the first Isle of Man TT motorcycle race was run on public roads at an average speed of just over 38 miles per hour. (The record average is now just over 130 mph.) It is considered by most aficionados to be the most important motorcycle race in the history of motorcycles. And standing there watching on the roads, and working the pits, and maybe even a racer or two, are a bunch of people named Christian.

So when I say I have motorcycles in my blood, up to this point I thought I was just talking about how much I love to ride. But when you make a family discovery like this one, you wake up the next day even more excited to get on your bike and ride to work.

And then your ride on the city streets becomes mixed with the ghosts of past and present on a little island far away where other "Christians" straddled motorcycles, sometimes as simple daily transportation, and other days as the thrill of a lifetime.

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