A giving thanks story of “the Me I Was” before riding, “the Me I Am Now”, and how I got here.
9 Years Ago this week my motorcycling life began. I was freshly 19 and taught myself how to ride. The dealership I got my bike from said only, “Twist this to go, and squeeze here and here to brake.” I fell, and I crashed, and I crashed, and I fell. Motorcycling’s first lesson is always how to fail to excess, and how to always get back up again. Learn this from a young age and you’ll be set for life.
I had probably always been a little odd in school. Being an only child meant finding peace and comfort in playing alone. I was shy and quiet as a result. But learning to ride a motorcycle colored a blank canvas and released me from my introversion. It was cool, but no one else my age was doing it, and every time I did it I just kept getting better. Riding a motorcycle was something I could take pride in. Something that set me aside. And it made me so fucking happy, too! Under my helmet (a size or two too large because I didn’t know any better) lived a permanent smile.
Something strange happened too. The failures became less frequent. I started to get the hang of this motorcycle thing. Then among my peers I somehow became different, and interesting?! At some point I started sharing my riding adventures online. People took interest. People actually wanted to talk about it. Even really beautiful girls would ask me about riding! (some of you are reading this right now) – These were girls that I could only admire from a distance and never even of think of trying to talk to. But we talked daily now. Conversations that THEY started! I began to develop this crazy new thing called confidence. Me, confident. Holy shit.
It wasn’t just the bikes though. The bike exposed me to new people: Motorcycle people. Motorcyclists. People who didn’t care for the status quo, or the norms of society, or the bullshit that is popular culture. Motorcyclists were strong men and strong women who pushed the limits of their comfort zones. These people lived more in a single weekend ride than some people will in a lifetime. These motorcyclists, they rode without fear, they laughed with full chests, they loved with warm hearts, they welcomed with open arms, and they took me in!
Motorcyclists literally let me and my bikes into their homes. They taught me motorcycle mechanics and how to use tools in their backyards. They gave me lessons on electrical wire soldering over my bike in their living rooms while schooling me on women. And in a smoky haze I even learned how to make a guard dog submit from a Hells Angels Sergeant at Arms (RIP D.).
Motorcyclists didn’t just let me sleep in their homes, they sent me out the next day as a better person. Motorcyclists made me believe that I could do anything, and the first step was just to start. So I began to start more, and to try more, and I began to succeed, and with that I began to blossom as an adult human being.
Then something really strange happened. I got a job. I literally started my career in motorcycling, because a family believed in me, because motorcycling made me believe in myself and because motorcyclists believed in me. Those first few years would lay the foundation for the rest of my career, as I’ve stayed close to powersports and now automotive, with companies like KYMCO, Harley-Davidson, and a prominent North American tire manufacturer.
Most importantly, I am a confident, outgoing, and fun person, thanks to motorcycles, motorcyclists, and the friends, girls and colleagues I’ve met along my journey as a rider.
Bikes I’ve owned
It took me a while to remember all of the bikes I’ve owned, but I think this is a pretty complete list. Down to just three now…
2005 Derbi Atlantis – Rockie
1985 Honda Rebel
2005 Derbi Atlantis – Ursula
2008 KYMCO Venox – Speranza
2002 Suzuki Marauder VZ800 – SkullFucker
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster – Alice
2005 Suzuki Boulevard M50
1979 Honda CB650
1990 Honda Hawk NT650 GT
2006 Piaggio Fly 150 – Peppy Twat
2003 Suzuki Marauder VZ800
2011 Suzuki Boulevard M50
2009 Yamaha FZ6R (purchased just yesterday!)
And more to come.