Why We Ride

We got so many letters about our "Why We Ride" cover story (November, 2006) that we couldn’t begin to fit them all in the magazine

We got so many letters about our "Why We Ride" cover story (November, 2006) that we couldn’t begin to fit them all in the magazine. A few readers went the extra mile and explained why they ride, in prose and poetry. Here are a few we wanted to share…

It starts with the key. It's the only one by itself. Oh, I have key chains, but this one key is special. That's why it's all alone. It holds the key to my soul, so to speak. I turn it in my hand a few times to feel its texture, as if I'm afraid it doesn't exist. I can feel my pulse quicken just from its contact. If I'm dreaming, I don't want to wake up. I open the garage door to find it waiting for me. You know what it looks like even before you set eyes on it. You've stared at every square inch and have committed to memory every detail, whether it's in Molly Green (Kawasaki), has triple tuning forks (Yamaha), learned its swift precision from a weaving loom (Suzuki) or is kin to one of the first mass-produced powered bicycles (Honda). You can feel your world getting larger with every step you take toward it. You place the key in the ignition and feel the start of life. It's like a quiet birth. The lights turn on, the gauges sweep, the fuel pump comes on-line to prepare to feed it the essence that it needs to awaken. You exhale the breath you didn't realize you were holding. And your senses go into overdrive. You can smell if there is rain in the forecast better than any weather man, feel even the slightest breeze, taste the bitter tang of unburned fuel in the air, and even see the slightest movements from the blades of grass in the front yard. You touch the starter and life takes on a new meaning. Your heart no longer beats at 60 beats per minute; it's more like 1000. There is a song being played that few will ever hear. It is the mechanical melody that can only be heard by those with a truly discerning ear. You gear up, starting with a jacket that wraps you in an embrace no lover could match; next the helmet to protect the knowledge you keep, and then your gloves. You sit on your mount and prepare to journey out into the world. Not as a passenger, but as master of your fate. Taking life by the horns and leading, not following. A shiver runs the length of your spine. Not in fear, but in anticipation. Nothing could duplicate this feeling. It's like your first kiss, your first rollercoaster and your deepest love rolled into one. I've tried to put into words a feeling that stirs the soul, and yet I'm not even close. All of this happens every time. This is why I ride.
John Adams
Hurst, TX

I ride because nothing in life gives the same sense of astonishment, a "wow!" at every turn, a "holy @#$%!" at every full-throttle straight. If you experience that, you know the others will never understand you. I ride 17 miles to commute the same two turns–that's how much I love riding. Sometimes, I really wish they were paying me in bikes, so I wouldn't have to justify to others why I need more than one bike, time after time. I envy Jay Leno, not for the money and even less for the fame, but because he can buy as many bikes as he wants and has a place to store them. I have only one carport, two poles and three chains. If it is not the love for the emotions, the sense of freedom and the excitement of speed, then it is simply the pleasure of staring at the object: a symbol of great engineering, a piece of art where you can read how much work, passion and thought was placed into it, beautiful in its forms and its purity of purpose.
Dario D'Angelo
Los Gatos, CA

[PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)
On a short list of coveted things in my life,
Is to ride PCH with my favorite wife.
A ribbon of asphalt that will always entertain,
A beautiful coast under azure or rain.
A choice bit of road, Cambria to Monterey,
Sooner, not later, that debt we will pay.
Carrie rides her bike and I ride mine,
The two of us together, we'll be just fine.
You won't be excluded from an adventure we take,
A poem, or some photos, a scrapbook to make.
Any bike will be fine; we don't care how you traverse,
Just don't use a car, for that would be like a hearse.
We'll split from brutha' Ray's house in Paso Robles town,
We'll go to ragged point, a cup o' Joe to be downed.
We might feed the birds, trail mix by the bunch,
You know they can't resist that ol' free lunch.
An overpriced snack at Nepenthe–no real harm,
It's part of the character, it's part of the charm.
The road twists and turns for miles and miles,
A full tank of petrol, interminable smiles.
California, Oregon, and Washington, too,
We've been the whole way alongside Pacific blue.
The road rises and falls between cliffs and fields,
Green grass, brown sand, even elephant seals.
Cambria Pines, Hearst Castle and Bixby Creek Bridge,
Keep your knees in the breeze, you'll be glad that you did.
BMW Motorrad is our brand of choice,
Any would be fine; we have more than one voice.
We have met many folks on our rides up the coast,
From lands far and near, of that we can boast.
We have ridden this route sometimes just for fun,
And to Laguna Seca, for the races they run.
We have seen people standing in the dirt roadside,
Slack jawed and jealous as we pass them on glide.
Don't do this ride once, do it at least twice,
South to north, north to south–that would be nice.

Bill Mazelin
Chino, CA