It started out just an errand, I needed something from the store and the choice was car or the 1100 cc Honda shadow? The sun is out and the temp not too bad so an easy choice in my mind. Speaking of my mind, heavy with thoughts and worries in a world that seems to get more insane with each sunrise. I need some relief from feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Over ten years ago my wings has failed me, I loved my 650 but it had been a compromise after turning twenty-four. Years before I had made myself a promise: I would have a Harley by twenty-four and a Helicopter by thirty-eight. A Harley remained out of my price range so the Cherry red 1980 Yamaha 650 special came into my life.
That damnable maturity and responsibility! When the bike broke down the choice was clear. The money could go to keeping a car going that would carry the likes of a wife and three kids or to fix a motor cycle that would carry me.
In the years since there always seemed a hole in my life, something missing. And either through maturity or simply not wanting to admit it, I kept ignoring what caused that hole. Over a year ago the answer suddenly came clear, my brother-in-law brought his bike down in the back of his pick-up. Getting my help in off loading it came with a price. I would get to ride it out to where my wife worked and I would pull the same joke I did after buying my last bike. “Look honey what I bought!”
Heading out on the small streak of highway to her job suddenly for the first time in over ten years the hole in my soul was filled. I felt the wind in my face and the road disappearing under me. I was flying, or so it seemed. Wings, I had wings that were carrying me away from the woes and worries of the day.
Now the same pressures that had kept me from fixing the 650 still hang on me. That same damnable maturity was shouting in my ears. But the answer was found and damn the world and its worries, I would listen to this answer!
The mature reasons for getting another bike came in the form of having to work out of town when gas was almost five dollars a gallon. Besides, I seldom insist on having my way and this was one of those times my wife saw it in my eyes.
Along came a pair of wings in the form of a 93 Honda shadow 1100 cc V twin, beautiful two tone and in the right price range.
There are two reasons for riding it on an open highway, one being to get from here to there. The other is to feel the wind in my face and the road flying by under me. The first is often done at the posted speed and to get there on time. The other is a karma thing, a feeding of a soul that at times feels more thirsty and hungry then full and at peace.
After the trip to the store instead of me controlling the bike the bike had control of me. The long way was in order and that took me to the edge of town. As I rode some looked at me wondering the intent of the man on the motor cycle in his sleeveless tee-shirt, half gloves and sunglasses. After a stop at the smoke shop sitting on the bike ready to leave I had another choice — one way would take me back home to the world and the concerns, the other way to an open highway. The bike was in control and decided for me, like it felt or heard the sounds of my soul.
It was in no hurry, though posted at seventy five it ran at fifty five carrying me and the defeated soul out for miles. The wind was like music and as it passed my face it carried away those heavy thoughts. The cold hardness of the road, much like the cold hardness of the news and the world, was disappearing under me. I was in nirvana, that place where all is well and worry free, seldom reached in city traffic. Also seldom reached through a computer, a TV or a set of bills on a table.
Like the horse who has found it stride and its breathing comes with ease, the wings of my bike lifted me off from the face of the world and away from dirty and cruel humans beings, into the open range.
At fifty five I see all the trees and sights, but never long enough that I see the bark and worms in it. I see the green of the grass but no snakes or creatures that would bring me harm. Alone and in my stride the world is as it should be. All beauty and no weight upon me, unlike in the traffic where I must be watchful of the corners and cars beside me that without notice will strike and do me harm. In the wind there is no TV or Radio that speaks of the sins and sorrows. There is no Computer that brings the hatred and unreasoning. There are no toils or hardship in the wind that forms my face into a smile. There is only the wings and it feels as we are one and whole.
Some who ride never feel it and those that do not ride would not understand it. They see only the danger in it, the inconvenience in it. The world holds them tightly grounded and with their feet in the muck and mire covered with soil and no wind to clean it from them.
Having rode for longer then some have been alive I too know the danger and the wanting for more space to carry more things. But today the saddle bags would do and a developed eye watches for the danger.
The price, I argue, is worth the nirvana! The V twin is a pair of wings and I had flown to the heavens. I listened to angels singing and wrapped my old and weary body in the clouds.
So yes I can ride fifty five!