Riding on the Wind

Riding on the Wind

It was by pure luck that my new neighbor Drew happened to be an avid motorcyclist ...
WORDS/PHOTO: Luke Dunphy

It was by pure luck that my new neighbor Drew happened to be an avid, experienced motorcyclist, 10 years my senior. At only 20 years old, I purchased a ‘97 GSXR 600, my first serious sport bike and second bike overall (a sweet ’95 EX500 was my cherry-popper). I then moved to England with my week-old 600 only riding once because I knew neither the roads nor any riding companions, admittedly because I was scared stupid of the bike’s speed and wanted someone to drag me out of the gutter if need be.

One afternoon, I noticed my new neighbor Drew rolling out a Buell Lightning the day after he moved in. As fortune would play out (on my part, at least) the wicked British wind of springtime knocked the Buell on its side that night, causing several hundred dollars in damage. I noticed the overturned Buell when I woke up at dawn much like seeing a fish out of water so I hurried over to knock on Drew’s front door, hesitant to be the barer of bad news yet eager to finally meet a fellow motorcyclist.

"Hey bro, I think the wind knocked over your bike." His faced turned pale and I felt horrible for him. "Dude, will you help me pick it up?" Of course I would.

That day started the first "biker" relationship of my life, Drew and I still keeping in touch 5 years later and with 4 more kids and 3 thousand miles between us. Our wives even became best friends, using each other to vent when their husbands’ two-hour Sunday rides ended up lasting all day long. (In our defense, British summers provided up to 20 hours of sunlight, causing us to, uh, loose track of time easily.)

Within a couple months, I eventually became as fast and then faster than Drew on his Lightning, so he traded it in for a 2002 RC 51 SP2. The experience and friendship he provided me with undoubtedly laid the foundation to become the rider I am today. There is a list of people like him who continue to influence both my riding groups and the people I associate with on a day to day basis. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be a positive influence on some young rider like my good friend Drew was to me. Sometimes it’s just in the wind that things work out that way.