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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Are you a rider or an owner?

I am about to enter my 43rd year of riding motorcycles. Through that long span of many bikes, I have always maintained I am a motorcycle rider, choosing to ride over almost everything else. Example, I grew up in Philadelphia where winter can cut the riding season to about 8-9 months...longer if you really bundle up, but you see the point I hope. So, I left all my friends and family, took my best friend and went to California so I could ride more. Said best friend died in a motorcycle accident, a whole other story that really sucks, but that is for another time. I had no real plan other than to get a job at a motorcycle magazine and ride even more. In the meantime, I had no real brand loyalty, I just loved motorcycles, all of them and enjoyed being on any bike. It was in CA I came across my first real motorcycle owners, people who were brand snobs, and it was more about telling people what bike they owned, and wearing gear that said they owned that brand, even when they drive their Toyota mini van to the mall....yet another topic I will dig not another time....brand loyalty, patriotism and a foreign car....uh huh.... I started teaching the California Motorcycle Safety Program and encountered even more motorcycle owners, their plan? Get a license, buy a bike and use it once in a while on Sunday to get lunch, but they would be able to tell everyone about it. When I snagged the magazine job I took a lot of flak for owning a Harley, buell and gsxr. Why would I have a variety like that? Wasn't I loyal? Nope. If they took all the Harley's away, I would ride sportbikes. If they took the sportbikes away, I would ride Harley's. I just wanted to ride. A while ago I left ca to try Wisconsin. Nicest people I ever met...longest winter I ever lived. Bd choice for me as a motorcycle rider. So I came back to ca. I ride anywhere from 300-500 miles a week and am pretty darn happy doing so. Even when all I do that week is commute for work and job site visits, I am on a bike, riding. I encourage those of you who are motorcycle owners to consider being a motorcycle rider and using the bike more. Me? I have to wear a shirt and tie to the office each day. So I wake up, dress, head to the garage and pop a Harley Davidson FXRG textile suit or an Aerostich suit on over my clothes, lace up my boots and head to work. I change into shoes at the office and do my corporate duties. End of the day, the tie is loosened, the suit goes on and I ride home....smiling the whole way. Nothing destresses a tough day like plenty of horsepower and the feel of a a scotch and soda any day.