At The End Of My Cycle (Days, That Is)
After many happy decades of riding motorcycles, reality has bitch-slapped me with the conclusion that it’s really time to check out of the two wheel world, and somehow after all these years doing it with all of my bodily parts intact.
I started my life of riding in 1964 on a Honda 305 Superhawk, followed by several decades that included a pile of Hondas, several Suzukis and Yamahas, a Norton and (gasp) a Harley.
So, what’s brought about the end of my being a rider?
There are two simple answers, they are: 1. My left knee and 2. My right knee. I’ve always been into what are sometimes called “Crotch Rockets”, bikes similar to the Cafe Racer style (especially my “Unapproachable” Norton 650 Atlas), a design that was made popular in areas around Grand Prix race tracks and outdoor European Cafe style restaurants (and of course, in movies) starting around the mid-1960s, these bikes usually featured straight across and short stumpy handlebars, an elongated knee notch gas tank, upswept exhaust pipes, a single occupant seat for a low profile rider, and rear set pegs and controls.
There came a point a few years ago when I realized that I was needing to stop every half hour or so, just so I could then walk around for a half hour or so and let my knees unknot and return to being usable joints once again. A few of my friends thought they were being helpful with suggestions that I ought to try a Honda Gold Wing (a.k.a. Goldwing, or old geezer bike) or some similar rolling yacht style two wheeled vehicle with a king and queen seat and accommodations for luggage that is ridden in the full upright position with feet resting on the floorboards. Sorry pals of mine, not in this lifetime.
To celebrate my many years of riding with no trips required to visit the ER, here are some tricks and methods I’d like to pass along, ones that I believe have helped keep me alive, I’d like to make a gift of them to current and future riders…
1. Always assume that everyone is trying to kill you. This may sound like an extreme measure, but if you’re able to observe this line of thought, someone who has thrown their car door open without looking when they got out of their parked vehicle or pulled out of a driveway without looking may not instantly decelerate you from 60 to zero and plant you into the ground.
2. When at all possible, never go through an intersection alone. Slowing down and allowing that Chevy full of drunk teens to pull along side of you may be hard on your ego, but their car will likely be far more noticeable to those random other drunks in those other cars that are blindly approaching from your 3 or your 9 ignoring the traffic lights, and in doing so lessen the chance of you being t-boned into the next realm of existence.
3. Never ride in the center of your freeway (or highway) lane. This is the usually darker pavement that has been working like the elephant burial ground, collecting and holding every drop of oil as it has leaked out of the thousands of raggedy ass old cars that have driven on it, converting it into one very long and narrow ambient temperature iceless ice-skating rink.
4. The wobbly headlight trick, so simple and so necessary even if not exactly legal. All you need to do is insert a few soft rubber washers between the head of the mounting bolts and your headlight, thereby allowing the headlight to have a little jiggle in it as you drive over the bumps and other road irregularities, making it (and you) far more noticeable to oncoming traffic.
5. Go ahead and wear an actual DOT approved full coverage helmet instead of one of those useless goofy but somehow trendy German WWII looking pieces of crap that basically will do nothing for you if you do go down. I’ve never thought helmets were of much use other than possibly allowing your family to have an open coffin service for you, but with that being said, if you have to (depending on the laws of your state or province) wear a helmet, then wear a full face helmet, ideally one that’s either white or some other reflective and visible at night color.
Good riding to you my potential organ donors!
N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed.
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P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: "Unapproachable" Norton 650 Atlas, a Norton and (gasp) a Harley, assume that everyone is trying to kill you, At The End Of My Cycle, Cafe Racer style, Chevy full of drunk teens, Crotch Rockets, decelerate you from 60 to zero, DOT approved full coverage helmet, Honda 305 Superhawk, Honda Gold Wing, king and queen seat, let my knees unknot and return to being usable joints once again, motor cycle safety tips, not in this lifetime, on two wheels, potential organ donor, reality has bitch-slapped me, Suzukis and Yamahas, with all of my bodily parts intact.