The Truth | Megaphone

The truth is I'm one of you. I don't know your name, but I nod when I see you. I see the details, and I know if you are cut from the same leather as me.

The truth is I appreciate the sight of a finely set-up sportbike. Not just the choice of bike, but the right sprinkle of carbon-fiber and performance accessories-selected not for bling but for innovative design and engineering quality. An exhaust system chosen not for being loud, but for its genuine horsepower improvement and use of lightweight materials. I like to see tires that hint of blueing from track days past, and exhibit wear consistent with smooth corner exits.

The truth is I was a sportbike snob and used to think cruisers and choppers (they are different) were a waste of metal, time and money. But I get it now. I've watched the sun set from the seat of an American V-Twin as I rode under _the speed limit along Highway 1 in California. The feeling of peace, control and, dare I say, _Zen flowed through me. It was my "brochure moment." I've shared the cruiser camaraderie of a lazy group ride and fed off the enthusiasm of a fellow rider thoroughly enjoying his time away from work, home and family obligations.

The truth is I would be a better rider had I started on a dirtbike. I'm trying to make up for that now, but I know I will never be a great off-road rider. The intuitive feel for dirty traction has been numbed due to the delay in getting started. I will certainly never be comfortable vaulting through space in the way punk kids laugh it off at the local motocross track. They fly as comfortably as I tip back a martini on a Friday night. The more I ride my dual-sport bike, the more I develop the feel needed for knobby control, but I will forever be behind the curve. Anyway, that a la mode lets itself be known when I stealthily loosen my kidney belt.

The truth is I know I can get hurt doing this. I have singed my face courtesy of a dyno backfire. I have broken the top of my foot when I crashed a 50cc roadrace bike. I have busted a collarbone in a silly scooter accident. I have crashed streetbikes twice and been lucky to walk away both times. I have been forced off the road by one car full of giddy, careless teens and one a-hole pickup truck driver, eyes locked and grinning.

The truth is that, at age 44, every aspect of this sport intrigues me. The more I am exposed to, the more I want to experience. After the innaugural Indy MotoGP weekend, I crave the sounds of another mile dirt-track race. I can't wait for another supermoto track day to pop up. I hope a friend in Colorado calls me with any excuse to ride with him in the Rockies. Moab has gone from a curiosity to a must-do. Every spring. I stand ready for a long ride on a plush touring bike. I look forward to the unexpected artistry of a custom motorcycle from a fertile mind.

The truth is I know you because we have shared the motorcycling experience. The decision to be a rider might come easy, or it might not. It might be born from environment or choice. It may be genetic or learned, but the act of riding is our language. You might be on a bawdy, flashy chopper. You may strafe me at a track day on your traction-controlled superbike. You may fly over my head as I roll a double-jump. You might cajole my tin butt seeking a hotel as you pine for another 200 miles before dinner. Regardless, you are my compatriot, my Brother from another Mother, and my friend-because you are on a motorcycle.

And that is the truth.