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GOING THE DISTANCE
"EVERY RIDE'S A SING SING"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
Every ride is like a song. Even the preamble to each ride, is like a ritualistic poem in action. First, the wallet lyric. Get the correct registration out of three. Not the Vette, not the F-150 pickup. The one for the most hallowed of our vehicles, the oldest of the clan. The paper for the 38 year old Harley 74, my beloved Mabel. Although we cherish all of our vehicles, which is why we name 'em and I talk to 'em (I rap to 'em, but Patty doesn't), Mabel is the senior member of the brood and the standard bearer for the household, followed by 37 year old Mary (the Chevy Corvette Stingray) and Amy (12 year old Ford F-150). Each has her place in this Hierarchy of Hallowtude. I love each member, but Mabel has a special place in my heart as she represents a cornestone of Who I Am.
Mabel Who Art A Harley, Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Get the registration. Next up is some cash fer the 'ole wallet. I standardize (always standardize on your technique, no matter what you do!) on $120. It seems a reasonable amount. Ya never know what you'll need it for. Speaking of bread, just to digress fer a minute, I had an interesting experience this past week. I received the following letter from my bank:
"We appreciate your business as a customer, and ensuring your account safety is our top priority. On 6/15/09, we identified the potentially fraudulent item detailed below:
CHECK AMOUNT: $989.50
CHECK NUMBER: 6004
PAYEE: TERQUAN OLVER
Because the above item is inconsistent with your past check writing activity, we are concerned that it may be countefeit, forged or altered. After attempting to contact you to confirm the validity of the check, we returned the check to the payee with the notation, "Refer to Maker.'......"
I was floored, man. I called the bank, and it turns out that this check wasn't the only one. In all, there were thirteen checks made out in amounts between $989.50 to $2400.00, all to people with different names. I was advised to go to my bank on monday morning (I found out about this on saturday) and close my account. I had to open a new account to get rid of this cancer. I did this on monday morning at 8:00 AM. The bank made me photocopies of the fake checks, and they were crude imitations of the genuine article. Part of my address on the phonies was omitted. This is a wake up call for y'all. All someone needs to run this kind of scam on ya, is a photocopy of one of your checks. They don't even need your date of birth or social security number, just a copy of your check. Check it out----use cash or a credit card when possible to pay bills. A precaution I took, and I recommend it, is when I opened a new checking account, I created a new savings account at the same time. I keep the bulk of the meager amount of bread I have in the savings account to keep it safe, and a minimal amount in the checking account---just enough to pay bills with. Dig, do it.
The next stanza of the poem is the clothes phase. Gotta wear the rite clothes, man. Function's the key. I don't wear anything special to ride, just what's needed to make the song sing. In this case because temps were hovering in the high 50s yesterday, I chose what I usually wear when a jacket's required: a flight jacket with those great pockets with snaps. The reason? First of all, the flight jacket is light and comfy. Secondly, I need the pockets for the remote for the parking lot gate, and gloves. I can't remember the last time I wore a leather jacket for riding (and I've never once in my life, worn a doo rag)---must've been over 15 years ago. Screw image, functionality is what counts when ya ride, man. Use what works and ditch what don't! Words to live by, man.
I hafta laugh at the Biker Lites that don the Regulation Biker Boots, Regulation Biker Leather Vest and Reulation Biker Doo Rag before startin' up the bike. Not to mention the Regulation Biker Wallet. Gotta have the Genuine Approved Scowl, too. Can't leave home without it.
Despite the fact that there is a prescribed ritual leading up to every ride, there is always an abiding passion for my motorcycle, unequaled I believe, in the lives of those who treat their bikes as mere commoditites. To these shallow folk, these bikes-as-commodities can be interchangeable at any time---any time that money allows, that is. There is a distinct lack of attachment to any one bike in these lives, belying a pretentious love for the given bike. Read any of the mainstream chopper rags and you'll see this trend. Every article touts the author's (or featured builder's) prowess in turning a pile of junk into a Show Princess, but at the end, there is no demonstrable affection or passion for the glistening machine. There is only the triumphant crowing that puts ego ahead of any true love for the bike. To paraphrase an HAMC platitude from the 60s, in response to a question regarding what the HAMC's member's definition of love is.....
"Love is the feeling you get when you think of your Harley."
Well said, and so true. The jadedness that exists now in the mainstream chopper magazines, which feature these unemotional celebrity builders, represents what is wrong with the biker scene nowadays. The driving force seems to be the completion of a soulless bike project in order to impress Biker Lites at some gathering or other. To me, this so phony and shallow as to render the whole exercise meaningless. If you don't love the bike you own, then there is something missing in you as a biker, that can't be replaced no matter how many bikes you own, or how fast you can cycle through new bikes in your quest for recognition.
I have no such problem declaring my passion for my Harley 74, foer this is the very core of what being a biker is all about---and should be. This is what separates us from golf enthusiasts, where the player's clubs are mere instruments to engage in the endeavor. In our lives as bikers, the bike at the center of our universe, is everything, man. This is the great gift that has been given to us because we have chosen at an early age to indentify as bikers, and in a sense, we give back in gratitude for this great gift of love for our motorcycles, in the form of requited feelings for the revered machine. For those who lack this deep emotion for their bikes, they are just playing roles in an scripted reality show, where they are reading lines without any true feeling behind them.
On the next part of the song leading up to the primary melody of rides, my heart still beats faster as I approach my Shovel in her parking lot. Hey man, the choral hymns of the backup singers are rampin' up now! Can't you hear 'em? They sound like angels, baby!
With the uncovering of my Stroker Shovel, you can tell that I'me gettin' ready to sing, man! Only in this song, my Harley 74 does my singing for me. Ritual, ritual, ritual. Locks off, fore and aft. Key in, gas on. S & S B enrichener on. Hit the switch......"BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-RRRROOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRrrrr.......cloppitty....cloppitty...cloppitty..........Clutch in.....*SNICKT*.....BRAAAACKKAAaaa.....Man, wotta song---the singing of an angel, and a song celebrating life. Later