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GOING THE DISTANCE
"DOWN THE RABBITHOLE"
Photo by Genghis
Every ride was exhilirating.
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE'S "WHITE RABBIT:"
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
To call Alice, when she was just small
When the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know
When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
"Feed you head, feed your head"
I never feel more sane or centered, than when I'm on my bike, Mabel. Not to get all New Agey on ya, but I think you know what I mean. I do my most profound feeling as well as reflecting when I'm riding. That's because I truly believe that riding a righteous Harley 74 like the Mabes, causes the rider's brain to release endorphins. Take my word for it, I can feel 'em as I crank the throttle of Mabel's 86 inch stroker Shovel.
I can feel the endorphin valves in my brain open and close (four OHVs to a brain, just like a Harley motor, natch), releasing all those endorphin molecules, as they course their way to the critical feeling centers of my mind, and then matriculate to my outer extremities, makin' 'em tingle as I shift and brake, and accelerate.
ENDORPHINS: Endogenous opiod peptides that function as neurotransmitters, that are produced during exercise, excitement, love and orgasm, and they resemble opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.
I can feel the pleasure centers of my brain being stimulated that harken back to my days of acid trips, just of a more diluted type. I believe that Harley riding is the most intense (outside of sex, of course) naturally-aspirated form of endorphin-release short of pharmacological means. To say that I feel more "whole" and "centered" is New Agey, but it is what it is, man. It is what it is, no more, no less. I happen to think more and feel more when I'm riding. Riding a righteous Harley is both a cerebral and euphoric, emotional experience. When I ride, I feel like I'm The Duke of New York, I'm A-Number-One.
I don't want to get too much of a swelled head that riding my Shovel gives me, because then my crown wouldn't fit. Seriously though, all veteran bikers know that riding one's Harley does impart a feeling of specialness to the rider of said Harley. No doubt, it is an Ego Machine of the purest type. Not the type where profilng like for example, where Obama leaks classified info meant to puff up his public inage to get reelected, that endangers Americans and American national security, but the type of intrinsic feel-good from the bike that makes the biker feel like he's on top of the world. Mabel Wong, Doctor Feelgood, I presume?
Yet, some bikers want it to be more. They want it to be the diving board into a pool of social exercises, where they can ride to places like Daytona or Sturgis, slap on the leather vest with twenty pounds of meaningless tin badges, and profile. They want it to be ticket to ride to view the inevitable self-serving best of bike shows, and to play stupid games that are worthy of fourth graders, and the chance to mingle with chest-puffed-out biker celebs, who are just other bikers, man. That's all they are, bikers like you and me.
It's the chance to worship at the feet at self-proclaimed celeb "master-builders." Wotta joke. Listen up, the only "biker celeb" ya have to follow, is yourself. You are the only biker who matters. Worship yourself. Real bikers ain't groupies, man. Ya got it?
That ain't fer me, man. Too phony. What it is for me, is chasing that sense of wonder that I've been feeling since 1968. No more, no less. It is what it is, and what it is, is that sense of wonder that you all felt the first time you climbed onto your Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the first time, and blasted down the road, your hair on fire and your brain on the naturally-aspirated drug of riding, the world revolving around you and your bike, totally self-absorbed in the experience, Jimmy Hendrix asking ya, "Are you experienced?" Hell yes, you are! Feed your head, not somebody else's. If all I continue to feel every time I straddle my bike is the excitement I felt in my first year of riding, I'll take that all life long. And yes, that is what I feel. Everything else is extraneous bovine defecation, that is unneeded and clutters up one's life. Riding your Harley, is pure and unadulterated.
If taking hallucinogens to get high is like fuel injection, then gettin' high on riding is like your brain suckin' in euphoria, as your S & S carb sucks in wind, and the vacuum of your Harley motor sucks in gasoline mist. Harely riding is naturally-aspirated, a voluntary sucking in of the joys of motorcycling, where forced induction by fuel injectors is intrusive, and unnecessary. It is a natural high, joining experiences like orgasm in rarefied air.
For sure riding my stroker Shovelhead produces some type of physical high. I can feel it. With that great Shovel motor thumpin' beneath me and the loud gases being expelled out of her straight pipes as we motorvate down the road, there's no doubt: My Shovelhead Mabel is my Motorcycle Drug of Choice. Who says that Harley riding isn't organic, man? Who needs acid or mescaline when you have a large tab of Shovelhead to motorvate down the highway?
Riding with two small patches of rubber on terra firma at 80 miles per hour with your feet inches from the tarmac, is the ultimate organic high.
It's the experience of a lifetime, and guess what? We get to re-live it, every time we fire up the 'ole girl, and blast down that highway. The key to your Harley's ignition is the key to a Wonderland that Alice could only hope to fall into someday. Hey man, the sound of your Harley starting, is the rabbithole that allows you to Feed your head. Just ask Grace Slick about that. When the White Knight starts rappin' backwards as you back off the gas to hear that stroker crackle, you know that you've arrived in Wonderland. Just remember what the dormouse said: Feed your head.
This, is what I chase every time I ride. This is what I achieve when I ride, that sense of wonder and the exhiliration I felt in '68 when I first climbed into the saddle of a Harley. If you have to ask, then you wouldn't understand. If you have to ask about the price, then ya can't afford it. Some people get it. You out there, you know who you are.
Of course, there are other benefits to consider. The sense of achievement, and pride in performance as you blip the throttle as you downshift, utililizing all four extremities to brake, throttle down, and shift as you perform a maneuver on your bike as easily as pie. Bikers are like Formula 1 drivers in the skill that they develop, and use. The manual dexterity a biker must have to operate his Harley, is not unlike those demonstrated by racecar drivers.
But pride in performance is one thing, and the sheer sense of exhiliration, that sense of wonder that never wears off, is what drives us bikers to fire the 'ole girl up. It is addictive, and it is a compulsion. It is any wonder that we cherish our bikes so much? I'll tell ya what, though. This is one addiction I'm glad I'm hooked on, even if it's not from a caterpillar's hookah. Later.