Why we ride

Published: 24 October 2012

Why do this? Why do that? Why ride bikes? If you need a reason... Go on, read it. You know you’re curious.

The golden glint of the evening spring sun dances across my visor, reflected across the damp-patched tarmac as I begin to sit the bike up post-apex.

The throttle grip feels good in my gloved hand, everything familiar and comfortable. The well worn leather sits close to my skin, like an old friend.

Yada. Bloody. Yada. You can please deal with the over-familiar, pretentious artsy bull, because recalling this memory makes everything shimmer like velvet.

My mind is cast back a few years and suddenly...the silence of my trusty Shark helmet. Sure, I can hear my own breathing, the noise of the wind as it rushes past the vents that I’m not quite sure are open.

My wrist starts to hyper-extend slightly, my buttocks shifting ever so gently backwards over the wide, comfortable seat of my ZX6R. A G1 model, 1999. Only eleven years younger than myself.

The scorpion can rumbles..not deeply, not crazily, not like it’s going to hogtie me, turn me over on a spit, and then deposit me as waste material...no. It simply rumbles. The noise, at 4000 revs, sends the most comforting of tingles up my arched spine.

Only one cheek off, I’m in beautiful countryside, surrounded by myriad hues of yellow and green. As I earlier mentioned...despite the sound - the silence of my helmet envelopes me. Like an eager, yet gentle lover. And I lose myself.

The bike perpendicular to the road now, and I’m feeding the power through the back wheel and letting the bike away for a bit. Yeah, it’s leashed, there’s nothing silly going on here. It’s the end of a nice few hours out. She’s been walked. The sky is a deep, dark red, flowing with the navy of early evening.

We’re going home, me and her. This vehicle that I will swear a blood oath to any of you, is my soul, in bike form. I feed her a small amount of petrol, a large amount of adoration, and she pleases me. Not in the way you just thought about, my dirty minded reader, but in a completely innocent, horrifically naughty way. Oxymoronic? Perhaps. Truth? Yes.

A second layer of rumbling finds its way to my ears as I negotiate the few remaining corners I have left before the large, open fields give way to outer city suburbs. It’s hardly noticeable at first, and I regard it the same way you notice one of your tyres needs a hit from the PSI bong.

That slight niggle. But its nothing to do with the bike. I look around the bike mid-straight, quick checks. Everything’s fine. But the humming grows louder. The sun is at it’s lowest now, the deep, golden hues bathing everything in the same coloured light, the landscape a true marvel.

These singular moments are something to be cherished. They happen in a capacity that’s hard to emulate, hard to capture. They’re for the grey matter, not the disk drive.

The rumble has now reached such a pitch, my vision is drawn to the source. The wind whipping me about as I hurtle along in my silence towards a ninety degree right hander, I see them. Not one, but two Hercules class transport planes (or something similar) are sweeping majestically in from my right, at what I can only assume is some ridiculously low ceiling level.

I’m talking even from within my darkened visor, as evening approached, I could make out lettering on the fuselage. My memory does not unfortunately recall the letters, go figure.

The rumble now turns to a howl, as they bank sharply, as I turn into my sharp right hand corner, and snick 2nd gear for the exit. At this point I am not entirely sure what I was thinking, but in my minds eye, there was music playing.

It was that rarest of moments where a soundtrack meets real life. And I don’t care that you don’t believe me. There was music. I chased them. As my foot pushed upwards into second, and my clutch lever slowly released, that split second decision was made.

My wrist didn’t open the throttle, it slammed back to the hilt. The dragon (an affection nickname courtesy of owning the bike from such a tender age) roared. The scorpion howled, the rear end dropped deep onto the suspension and she reared.

The front lifting slightly as the top of second peaked, and third took over. Fourth. Fifth. Sixth. The speed that I was now rocketing down this long, thin country road is sometimes the reminder that life is for living, and still...I couldn’t catch them. Of course I couldn’t.

The aircraft slowly left me behind, the air shimmering the final stages of the setting sun as they became silhouettes in the distance, and the dragon calmed itself after our hectic chase. There’s a metaphor there somewhere.

Needless to say – this memory alone, was worth buying a motorcycle. Go on. Make one yourself.