Posts Tagged ‘ motorcycle ’

Winning!

There’s a country song out there by Emerson Drive called “Moments,” and in it, the reverberating chorus talks about how “I’ve had my moments” when he just rocked it.  The message of the song is simple: That homeless guy you walk by every day when you get off the train on your way into work…well, he wasn’t always homeless.  He is a person with actual accomplishments, family, relationships, and an entire history before you met him.  He’s had his moments of triumph, and the moment you met him may not have been his proudest, but homeless isn’t the only thing he’s ever been.  If the song was an old man serving hard-won life lessons on a silver platter, the lesson would be that it would serve you well to remember that.Image

I’ve liked this song ever since I first heard it, mainly because it reminds me to think hard about how I judge people, and how I act toward them myself.  And we all judge people…if you don’t think you do, you’re lying to yourself.  It’s built into our DNA, and the judgements we make are vital to our survival.  But it’s when our judgement becomes clouded by hatred, or distracted by bias, that it begins to work against us.  

In any case, I just had a “moment” myself, and it made me look inward at my own personal accomplishments.

I am part of this group of motorcycle riders on Facebook; most of the time, people post pictures of their bike in all of the great photo-op ready places they’ve been — mainly to enjoy and illustrate the freedom that riding a motorcycle can afford you.  I love it.  But this time, I noticed a question that a gentleman in the group had, where he noticed a spark plug lead that was connected loosely to the plug; when he connected it fully, he was impressed at the amount of “extra” power he got out of his engine, and asked what the cause could’ve been. I saw comments on the post from people who knew how engines work and from those who didn’t and guessed, and it really made me feel like I had a “moment” when I was able to explain that a loose electrical lead can make the spark plug produce a weak spark, which can lead to incomplete combustion inside the cylinder, which can lead to loss of power and wasted fuel (from the unburnt fuel leaving out the exhaust pipe).  

It isn’t that I felt superior, it’s more about the pride I felt at being able to explain the process to those who aren’t yet aware.  It was small, but it was a “moment” for me, and it is exactly what I envisioned when I became an aircraft mechanic at 22 years old.  My Dad could take a good shot at fixing anything, and I wanted to emulate what I so admired as a kid.  When you get into a career, you begin to slowly become an expert at it, and it’s only after you discuss the everyday things you do with those who aren’t aware of it that you begin to notice just how much you know.    

That happened to me, and I am not ashamed to admit that it was just as gratifying as I envisioned it would be a decade and a half ago.  

What moments have you had?  It’s okay to acknowledge them, you know…don’t be shy!

This Life So Far

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I’m on the right, grey shirt, pink lettering. Don’t hate!

This one’s for any fellow riders out there.

I’ve thought a lot about my Bucket List lately, for some reason, and it occurs to me just how many things I’ve managed to do already.   

This picture was taken in September 2009, at Windy Point–halfway up Mount Lemmon–just east of Tucson, AZ.  The guy I’m standing next to–Luc Peterson–is one of the two or three people I really consider to be a best friend from my time in Tucson.  We still talk regularly (well, regularly for us, anyway), and I’m proud to have met him.  I had a ’96 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500; he and Judy (the beautiful lady next to him) rode a Harley Softail variant.  We had a combination of cruisers and crotch-rockets in this crowd.  We were all coworkers at Bombardier’s facility at Tucson International Airport, specializing in the maintenance of corporate and commercial jets.  A lot of talent, in this photo.  Luc was the lead-man on the crew I was moved to, but eventually we became friends outside of (actually, despite) work.  

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My bike (Victoria the Vulcan) was the red girl in front.

The ride up Mt. Lemmon was one of sheer beauty…Windy Point was a little scenic stop along the 25-mile, uber-winding trail up to the top.  It was (is) a common trip for many in the Tucson area to make during the summer; at nearly 9,200 feet, it’s usually at least 25 degrees cooler up there.  At the top of Mount Lemmon, there’s even a town–appropriately called Summerhaven–which has a couple of small shops where you can get pizza, chili, hot chocolate, or enormous cookies while you enjoy the scenery.

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That’s me in the grey shirt again…notice the “Relay For Life” moniker.   See?  “I Love Boobies!” had a perfectly wonderful cause!

I rode several solid, eight-hour rides with a handful of this crew, and I’ll tell you what:  I don’t miss living there (the desert isn’t really my thing, being from the midwest), but the riding is unbelievable–sunshine 300 days a year was letting us do great rides in January.  I really do pine after another motorcycle, even though here in DC the riding is great maybe a few months a year.

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This is a pretty accurate photo. Stunning scenery.

I learned when I started riding that I genuinely love it.  I love the feelings of freedom and (calculated) risk, all at once.  I love the wind in my face (until it starts to rain), and I love the intimate control you have over the machine, via the manual transmission.  That bike doesn’t do anything unless you tell it to.  It becomes an extension of you.  It also takes a pretty enormous amount of trust to ride 2X2 next to someone else, but it also cements a friendship further when you learn that you can.  It’s an unspoken thing, but it’s there, and both of you know it.

Anyway, I’m glad you took the time to read some of my stories here.  If you ever get out to Tucson, the trip up to Mount Lemmon is worth it.  I bet Luc would be happy to show you the tour!

Tell me about some of your greatest rides.  I know they’re out there!

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