ByGroovy Green Jul 15, 2008

I used to ride a motorcycle.  It was a Suzuki GS 1150. That’s 1,150cc engine with 123 horsepower.  Since it only had to accelerate 500 pounds, it could go from 0 to 70 in less than 3 seconds and only one gear change, which I knew from personal experience.  It was the kind of bike that taunted you, that dared you to ride fast.

There was a gas station near one of my favorite riding places that sold high octane racing fuel.  I loved to fill up and go for a long twisty ride.  The racing fuel had a different smell, it smelled like adventure.

Riding a motorcycle is such a manual process.  Between clutching, shifting, accelerating and braking, you have to use both hands and both feet.  You lean into turns. Riding involves your entire body.

My motorcycle riding days ended when someone made a right turn in front of me.  I was enjoying a straight road to the maximum, went around a bend and right in front of me was a car, pulling into a driveway. I would have swerved into the left lane, but there was an on coming pickup truck. My only choice was to hit the brakes.  I remember seeing the horizon fly past my feet, then I landed in the gravel on the other side of the car.  I walked away with a sore wrist and a scratch on my right ankle.  The motorcycle never ran again.

I haven’t ridden a motorcycle since, but when I’m driving and need to pass someone, my left hand wants squeeze the clutch, and with rising gas prices, I am tempted, but not enough. But the thing I miss the most about riding a motorcycle is the sense of “club” among riders.  When another rider passed you on the road, they always gave a wave.  Not a big wave, just enough to acknowledge a fellow club member.

These days I do still ride two wheels, but they are pedal powered.  Last month I managed over 120 miles.  Most of those miles were 2 and 4 mile trips to the grocery, to the hardware store and anywhere else I needed to be.  I only drive my car if I need to drive into the city, a 25 mile trip, one way.

This spring and summer I’ve noticed more bicycles on the road and yesterday, the coolest thing happened.  A fellow bicyclist going the other way, waved.  Not a big wave, just enough to acknowledge a fellow club member, to say “I see you”, using your own power to get where you want to go.  I waved back.