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Friday, December 19, 2008

I am the motor.



When I was a kid I dreamed of having a motorcycle. Specifically the Yamaha FZR600 that was winning all of the superbike races while I was in high school. I read all of the magazines and lusted after all of the pictures. These sport bikes were in my dreams. I read the reviews over and over. There was no way that my mom would let me have a scooter much less a super powerful, break any speed limit motorcycle.

After I became an adult I still wanted a motorcycle. By this time the FZR was a little long in the tooth compared to the latest and greatest (GSRX’s, CBR’s, Ninja’s, etc) but it was still my ’65 Mustang. I frequented the dealerships often and fantasized a little more. I ran the numbers and I could just barely float the payment if I cut out every non essential expense – include food, housing and books for school. I could always sleep in my Fiat Spider with the motorcycle parked next to it. Then I got quotes for a sub 20 year old, unmarried, male rider for a sport bike. If I remember correctly, just about 3 years of minimum coverage would pay for the bike. Yeah, the insurance monthly payment would be more than the bike payments. Dream dashed for good.

Or was it? Scroll forward about 5 more years and I found the exact make, model, year and color of my dream bike. I was living in Indiana and some kid had the bike and a baby on the way. It was January and there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. I couldn’t test ride the bike but I did load it up in a truck and take it to the local Yamaha dealership to have a mechanic eye ball it. He started it up and said a few things and he asked me how much. I told him the incredibly low price and he said ‘How can you lose!’ The deal was sealed. Regarding insurance – what a difference a few years can make – for both me and the bike. Full coverage was $110 a year. Wow.

I rode the bike a lot for the first couple of years – several thousand miles. The bike was extremely uncomfortable at any sane speed. The pressure on your wrists would eventually lessen at ‘just a bit more’ than highway speeds. As a stop-light-to-stop-light vehicle it was nearly unbearable. On top of that it got pretty old always having to carry a backpack to have anything with you. I mean, nothing fits on a motorcycle. I was having to bungee cord softball bats and gloves to the seat.

I did have an adventure moving the bike to Mississippi. It was touch and go as to whether it would make it but there was just enough room in the back of the biggest U-Haul truck. I felt like Fonzie having to ride the bike up the ramp and several very sharp turns to wedge it in between a dresser and a mattress.

Now two years into Mississippi and the bike sits in the garage. Sure I have ridden it a dozen times. But my mentality has changed. If the weather is nice enough to ride the motorcycle then it is nice enough to ride the bicycle. I get a lot more satisfaction from the bicycle with so much less risk. The bicycle provides so much more than the motorcycle – mental and physical.

I guess I got to the point with the motorcycle that my health is just more important than a 10, 15, or 50 mile pleasure ride on the motorcycle. Bad things happen. I don’t think I could accept damaging myself in a way that would not allow for me to do the things that I now enjoy so much. A quick trip to town and a minor fender bender could put you out of commission.

So the motorcycle has been retired. I gave the bike to a friend at work (Tina – what a cool mom) whose son is of that age that he thinks of motorcycles. My dad will be happy that the bike is gone also – he does worry.

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