Story & Videos – Joseph Boyle
On October 10, 1997 at 4:30 p.m. I bought my first motorcycle, a red 1998 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom. This was both a proud and scary moment in my life.
When I rode home I looked down at the shiny Harley and said to myself, “What have I done? This is expensive and look at all that traffic. I absolutely would not ride on the I-5 Freeway.
A big ride in those days was a run from Lakewood to University Place Starbucks. I was a tentative rider too.
With a significant amount of training and 100,000+ miles on the road coast to coast, I am now a confident rider. I ended up with three motorcycles. As W.C. Fields would say, had he owned motorcycles, “A man can have too many wives, but he can’t have too many motorcycles.”
A big ride these days would be a run from Lakewood to the Florida Keys or Alaska.
Wherever I go with my motorcycle, I note that people can be divided into 5 groups.
Group 1: Some folks like to call motorcycles “donor cycles” or “murder cycles”. These folks cannot wait to tell you about the riders they saw in the emergency room or describe a friend of theirs who met a horrible grinding death crashing their motorcycle into a concrete truck.
If these same folks were looking at my 1992 Honda Accord, they would never connect me with stories from the emergency room or detailed treatises on a friend of theirs who met a horrible grinding death crashing their Honda into a concrete truck. This “cold water on your motorcycle parade” behavior is simply a part of our culture based on each individual’s risk taking profile perspective.
Group 2: These folks love motorcycles; always wanted to ride, but never have and never will. They say things like, “I would like to ride, but I would never do so because I worry about the other drivers out there.
Group 3: These folks used to ride when they were younger. The very sight of my motorcycle triggers fond memories of the good old days when they rode. They love to tell you about their old 1938 Harley and their riding adventures.
Group 4: Kids of all ages. They get it. They feel the excitement. They have not developed motorcycle fear or phobia yet, so they do not make judgments about riding or not riding.
Group 5: Riders. These folks own motorcycles and ride. A rider cannot adequately explain to a non-rider what it is like to ride a motorcycle and why we embrace the risks.
The only description I have for you is that riding a motorcycle is like moving through a black hole in space. When a motorcycle rider has enough miles, experience and riding talent, he catapults through the black hole. On the other side of the black hole are the exhilarating feelings, smells, vibrations, experiences and human connectivity that come to you as an experienced motorcycle rider.
You have to pass through the black hole to understand.
Let me share a couple of concepts of many concepts that have helped me to maximize my fun and life experience with motorcycles.
Riding is like an equation. Part 1 is to become a well-trained safe rider with proper gear.
Part 2 is to understand that accomplishing Part 1 is not enough. You have to think and make judgments for the other drivers around you too. If you constantly think something like, “What will I do when that driver fails to yield by turning left in front of me?” you are successfully working Part 2 of the equation. Ride like you are invisible.
Part 1 + Part 2 = Safe and fun riding.
Well just when I thought I was a good rider, I saw an amazing rider. I captured his riding skills on video while visiting the BMW Motorcycle Store in Fife called South Sound Motorcycles. 3605 – 20th Street East, Fife, WA 98424. Phone: 253-922-2004. This is a great place to visit if you are interested in BMW motorcycles. Ask for Wayne in sales or Ryan in parts. They will take great care of you.
They have some motorcycle museum pieces in the store that are worth the trip.
Check out my two videos. No matter which group you belong to, you might find this bloke’s riding to be entertaining and amazing. If he is on his back wheel, you are seeing a “wheelie”. If he is on his front wheel, you are seeing a “stoppie”. Watch carefully and you will see some sidesaddle work too.
By the way, I am not this good.