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GOING THE DISTANCE
"PRIDE IN PERFORMANCE"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
When my father taught me how to drive, he was one of very few drivers to use his left foot for braking. Since he taught me to drive in his '53 Buick Super that had an automatic transmission, teaching me to drive using my left foot for braking seemed a natural. Now, forty years later, left foot braking is the predominant technique used by NASCAR drivers, who rarely use their clutches when shifting. The only time NASCAR drivers use their clutches, is when they ease away from pit lane in first gear. Similarly, Formula 1 drivers, with their paddle shifters on their steering wheels, brake with their left feet as they also don't use clutches when shifting gears. It seems that my father was way ahead of his time. Remember this: taking pride in your technique when driving your pickup truck or car, is one and the same as taking pride in how you ride your bike, or how you write, or throw a right cross or uppercut, or how you cook spare ribs--it doesn't matter what part of your existence you apply it to. Taking pride in one's technique in whatever you do, extends across the board in one's life---and it manifests itself as superior living. Always standardize on your technique, no matter what you are doing---and always use pride in your performance as a standard to live by.
May I suggest that being a biker involves (or should involve) an intrinsic obsession with technique, as it relates to the operation of the machine? I know that this is true with me. It is pride in performance, that gives me the most satisfaction as a bike rider---to make that Harley 74 prance, dance, heel and sit. Now, I'm not rappin' about bullcrap like standing on a bike while it's moving, or other moronic circus tricks to get others' attention. I'm talking about the normal operation of a bike.
This is the ultimate achievement as a bike rider, to maximize one's pride in the performance of riding the bike. Now, many have other ideas regarding what the meaning of being a true biker is. There are as many interpretations of this, as there are personality types who call 'emselves bikers. For example, many consider one's facility with regard to gathering with others, as the pinnacle of bike rider life.
This is from Englishman's editorial from the most recent issue of THBC:
"As I write this, the incredible event that will be the Smoke Out Ten is mere days away.....Looking around the message bords I'm constantly amazed at how many people....tell people they are going to go, only to weenie out at the last minute....."
Obviously, Englishman imposes a litmus test for being a biker, based on one's need to socialize with others at events, and fidelity to promises made on internet message boards. Committing oneself to a magazine-sponsored rally, has never been high on my list of biker tenets to be followed, in order to be a bike rider. It's sort of like promising to show up at the company picnic on your own time, to prove that you're a good and productive employee.
Certainly, attendance at a bike rally should not canonize the attendee as a righteous biker. There must be more to it than this shallow standard. Hey man, leave socializing to country clubs and golf outings. Motorcycles were made for loners. If this were not true, motorcycles would've been designed to seat six. A righteous biker is a person who has a deep and personal relationship with his or her bike. Period. Extraneous minutiae like magazine rallies need not apply for serious consideration as a standard.
The day that I or any Harley rider worth his 60 weight has to prove his worthiness by socializing with other lemmings so that the biker in question can be "validated" by peer pressure groups, is the day that I apply for insecurity insurance from Prudential. You've got to have a strong ego and be able to stand on your own, to be a true biker in my view. Screw what others think of you, that's for the Biker Lites. Yet, Englishman in the same editorial, hints that he realizes at least subconsciously, that this is true:
"But let's face it, riding alone is the best way to go anyway....."
Based on his sentiments, columnist GTP from THBC might agree with the concept of the motorcycle as a Loner's Perch: ".....motorcycles are a machine for isolationists.....Everything we do is so we can get back on that bike again...just to be alone!"
Amen to that, that's more like it. Here in my not so humble opinion, is what a biker should be about: he or she should be strong from within, to be self-sufficient. To not need ratification by a commitee of others, who are equally weak, who pass or fail the rider based on whether said bike rider conforms to some artificial parameter. Let me ask you this. Do you let a magazine dictate what you should do as a biker, or do you forge your own way in life, not only as a biker but as an individual in all facets of your life? The True Path should be clear. What really matters in your life as a bike rider, is your relationship with your motorcycle, not with other people to whom you may meekly submit yourself for approval.....CONFORM!---appoved.....NON-CONFORMITY!---not approved.
Pride In Performance.
That's what you should use a a yardstick as a biker rider. Do you have good technique? Do you downshift with proper technique, matching engine revs to road speed when you shift to a lower gear by blipping the throttle, so that the transition is smooth? This is just one example of executing good technique in performing on your bike. Take pride in yourself as a technician on your Harley 74. Take pride in your performance. Examine your life and your behavior. If you are a strong individual who is not easily swayed, and can think for yourself, then chances are that you are a true biker who eschews rules made by others. Make you own rulz, baby! Later.