I ride, therefore I am

My 2009 Harley-Davidson Super-Glide turned over 80,000 miles last week, a fair amount of riding over the last three years.  My 2000 Jeep Wrangler, by comparison, has about 70,000 miles on it.

I’m often asked:  “Why do you ride that motorcycle so much?”

Lot’s of reasons.

  1. Economy.  A $15 tank of gas on the Harley takes me as far on the road as a $75 fill-up in the Wrangler.
  2. Fun.  Riding a motorcycle ranks uber-high on the fun meter.
  3. Sanity.  There’s an old saying that nobody ever saw a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist’s office.  Is it hyperbole?  I don’t think so.
  4. Adventure.  Cars take you on trips. Motorcycles take you on rides.
  5. Tradition.  My parents met on motorcycles.  Without that common interest in their lives in 1945, I might not be here.

I’ve always been part gear-head.  From my first car — a souped-up 1957 Ford — through a string of sports cars that included MGs, Triumphs and Porsches, I’ve had long love affairs with road-going machines.

Raced sports cars for a while, dabbled in stock car racing (ARCA) but wasn’t good enough for the big leagues.  Served as chief steward for the Potomac Region, Porsche Club of America for several years and as starter/flagger for the group’s Club Racing Series.

Mom and her Harley in 1946

But riding a motorcycle is special.  It’s in the blood,  In 1946, my mother packed up her Harley Knucklehead and headed South from Meadow of Dan to Tampa, Florida, to meet her future in-laws.  My grandparents didn’t know their daughter was riding motorcycles until she and their future son-in-law rode up one day on their bikes to announce their engagement.

My dad rode on to Tampa while mom stayed behind to smooth things over.  She rode down alone a few days later, much to the surprise of her future husband who thought she was taking the train.

Besides clothes, she packed two extra sets of spark plugs, two sets of points, extra chain links, oil, a file for the points and a carburetor rebuild kit.  She rebuilt the carb on the table of a diner in Georgia after breakfast, leaving behind a smell of gas that other diners did not appreciate.

I have her maps and notes from that ride.  I hope to recreate it sometime this year.

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8 thoughts on “I ride, therefore I am”

  1. Excellent post…I have been riding for 35 years and can really relate to the first 4 of the 5 reasons you listed. The only downside for me, is I live in a climate that only allows for 6-7 months of riding per year, but that’s my choice. I ride, therefore I am is a most appropriate title. Ride on…

    • Sounds like a Gold Wing rider 🙂

      Modern Harley engines are good for 100k plus before needing attention if you take care of them. I change my oil every 2500 miles. It isn’t burning any oil at 80k and still pulls strong.

      The bike has an extended warranty good through 2017 so if I do need a rebuild it’s on Harley 😉

  2. Sort of understand your point of view. Been riding machines for over 40 years myself. Someone once said, on the difference between cars and bikes- when you drive, you’re watching the movie, when you ride, you’re IN the movie. Accurate, I’d say. One minor detail that was left out, however, was rate of tire wear. My guess is that you’re replacing a rear every 10000 or so, maybe double for front. That tends to offset(slightly) any fuel mileage. I run some BMW’s, a my little 650 gets a stunning 72 per gallon, but I’ll still replace rubber much more frequently than my “cage”. Ride well! Doc Stickel

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