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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got the book "Why We Ride" by Mark Barnes. Because he has training in psychology, some of the book tries to explain why we take our chances out on the road when so many of our species think we have a few screws loose. Of course we have a commonality, but we are also a diverse group which, if nothing else, shows up in the style of motorcycles we are attracted to. Since I started riding in 1965, I've had just about every style of motorcycle there is and although I've had dirt bikes, cruisers, sport bikes, and adventure bikes, my preference, for the most part has been sport bikes and naked sport bikes although I've had a couple fully fared bikes. Because I've always done my own maintenance, the hassle of removing a bunch of plastic to get to the meat of the situation never sat well with me. I've probably known somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty other riders well enough to call them my friends but there are only three left that still ride. Because my age group is regarded as "old farts" for the most part, health issues has led to a lot of attrition in the ranks. In the earlier days when I was in my twenties and thirties, matrimony, and consequently in many cases, children caused a lot of my friends to drop out of the motorcycle hobby. Personally, I never understood that issue and I guess I've been lucky in that none of my three wives ever objected to my sport or asked me to leave it. My first two wives rode pillion but my present wife of twenty years can't accompany me because of a bad back which is more than likely good for both of us because we get a reprieve from each other when I take off. It somehow makes both of us happy. Someone once said absence makes the heart grow fonder and after I've been gone a few days I think my wife somehow appreciates my presence a bit more. Maybe she's just tired of taking out the trash or feeding the dog. Anyway, I've done a lot of things in life that I really liked to do, both as a civilian and in the military, but getting on the bike still gets me as excited and happy as it did fifty-four years ago. All it takes is the thought of the motion moving on down the road and I'm gone. Even when I was a regular working man, I rode whenever I could as long as I didn't have to carry a bunch of stuff. Get the book if you can, it's pretty interesting to get a glimpse of your own psyche.
 

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2018 XSR700, 2009 Yamaha R6
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Great post, thank you. I will check it out. Your post reminded me of a chapter of Jordan Peterson's "12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos" which I recently finished. Chapter 11, or Rule 11, is Do Not Bother Children when they are Skateboarding. It talks about people doing things to triumph over danger, such as skateboarding or kids playing on a sufficently dangerous playground. It's not about trying to be safe. Quite the opposite. It's about pushing the limits so as to become more competent, and competence makes people as safe as they can truly be. Competence in understanding the machine in and out, keeping up the maintenance, and the skill acquired with experience to safely be the driver of the machine. There is always something to work on with riding, to become better at and more proficient. And then it's relaxing to use the skills learned to ride and have the rest of the world fade away.
 

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.....getting on the bike still gets me as excited and happy as it did fifty-four years ago. All it takes is the thought of the motion moving on down the road and I'm gone.
Agree 100%. Many years ago I sold my Triumph 650 Bonneville to buy a 'car' (a Morris Minor van, in fact). We needed four wheels and I couldn't afford to keep the bike as well. It was dreadful - I used to dream that I was riding the bike - the sensation was very real. Then I'd wake up and have to face the awful truth - the bike had gone. Twenty years later, when the kids were older and I was 'disposable' again, I bought another bike. I've never looked back and have enjoyed every ride since, including a few tours to amazing places. I've had lots of bikes, changing them far too frequently but enjoying them all. The XSR is a keeper though - it's more fun than any other bike I've had and prettier than most (except the Bonnie). Every bike is like a new chapter in a long story - the farkling to set it up as I want it, the early rides to get to know its handling characteristics..... yesterday I traded in my Africa Twin for a Tracer 700. I'm getting older and I'm done with tall, heavy machines. But the excitement never stops!
 

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I'm now about a third of the way through the book and most of it is his experiences in his riding career and he gets pretty wordy with language that a "head doctor" might use but it is interesting just the same. Being a motorcyclist has a few similarities to being alcoholic (I'm both) as the stories are very similar between the members. Seen that, done that.
 
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