Writer's Ramblings

Defining Moments of a Motorcycle Trip

Written by  September 30, 2010

Nowadays, by definition, a motorcycle trip is typically not something done simply for the utilitarian transportation reason of getting from point A to point B because you have to get there. Yes, there are plenty of folks who ride to work during the week, ride to a union meeting on a Saturday morning, and Hell I’ve even made my sales calls to certain customers on Daisy Mae (laptop and a portfolio in the tour pack and away we go)! Largely though, real motorcycle trips include some kind of recreational purpose, whether it be a big national bike event, scenic gawking, or time spent wandering with very 'head clearing’ therapy as the sole purpose. So, barring any catastrophes (mechanical or environmental) these recreational trips should flow as smoothly as silk, be free of snafus, and conjure up nothing but fond, pleasant memories for a long long time….right? Well maybe in theory.

As the wife unit (the Duh or her Blondeness) says anytime we start reminiscing about any of our bike trips from the past 25 or so years, usually with friends in an adult establishment that serves our favorite beverages, “if shit didn’t happen you wouldn’t have anything to talk about”! This “shit,” as she so delicately puts it, in our motorcycle lives has ranged from numerous close calls with four-wheeled vehicles, the cantankerous Ironhead Sportster from Hell and its mystical, magical propensity to break down, countless sessions of one to four people standing on a remote roadside turning a map around and around until it (and the crack team of navigators) is dizzy ( and the end result is that you're still not on the right road), mechanical failures ranging from inoperative petcocks, Shovelhead one mounting bolt pipes falling off, flat tires, broken clutch cables, chain problems (yes, I’m going back a few years), and any one or more of a host of problems or situations where “shit” did indeed happen.

So the question might be is this “shit” that happens good shit, bad shit, miscellaneous shit, nondescript meaningless life shit or just exactly what! As I mature (get grayer) and become more and more sophisticated… (no comment), I’ve started to think of this “shit” as lessons learned, life’s little gremlins, bends in the road, hurdles, or possibly just defining moments where our mechanical skill, cerebral acuity, and sense of humor should kick in and allow us to overcome the situation and come through shining like MacGyver with a roll of duct tape and some mechanics wire in his backpack. Yes, defining moments--that sounds much better and far more sophisticated when recounting these bumps in the road than “shit.” Defining moments--a phrase I don’t think I’ve ever used in casual conversation. I think I’ll start though. Next time I’m given some ridiculous sales assignment with an unreasonable deadline I’m going to answer the Duh’s “How was your day?” question with an intelligent description of the defining moment of just when my day went South instead of “My asshole boss sent me another stupid e-mail about another promotion that makes no sense.” Maybe it’ll make me a calmer, more sophisticated 'mature’ man instead of a graying grump. Or maybe not.

Defining moments on a motorcycle trip, particularly a trip that has recreation somewhere in its master plan, regardless of what a pain they may be at the time, are way too cool to compare to anything that happens during the course of a workday. Workday snafus are “shit.” They’re the things that make us grey, make us grumpy, and in my particular case often time make me drink (well that and the Irish heritage). So I guess I’ll leave my new favorite phrase of 'defining moments’ to use only in pleasant situations with folks I like being around and in the company of friendly beverages. That way the memories of falling asleep under the bike lift while I’m supposed to be checking to see how straight the freshly installed chain is running or riding beside my buddy limping into Kansas City on I-70 on a Road King that wouldn’t go over 40 due to a bad injector and watching the Duh fall ass over teakettle in the middle of the main street in Red Lodge, Montana after push starting my Electra Glide Standard (and then forgetting to let go once it started) will continue to be great defining moments or “movies inside my head” that I can replay over and over again once the kids have decided it’s time to “put Dad somewhere” and not just “shit.” Ride safe and enjoy your defining moments!


By Doze

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