Me­ga­phone

Con­quer­ing short­com­ings by form­ing a uniquely de­ter­mined out­look

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Brody Cox

WE’RE AN IN­HER­ENTLY stub­born bunch, we mo­tor­cy­clists. When oth­ers ask us why we con­tinue to plant our­selves atop our seem­ingly in­ad­e­quate ve­hi­cles that lack ameni­ties such as stor­age space, pro­tec­tion from traf­fic ac­ci­dents, and cover from the worst weather na­ture can throw at us, we laugh. At least, I laugh, but I feel it’s a col­lec­tive laugh­ter in a sense.

Hav­ing made it through life so far with­out a car, I can’t tell you it’s al­ways been easy, but what I have ob­served are the unique ben­e­fits of a mo­tor­cy­cle as pri­mary trans­porta­tion: good gas mileage, in­creased ma­neu­ver­abil­ity in traf­fic, height­ened sit­u­a­tional aware­ness, and usu­ally pretty good park­ing op­tions. And, of course, the unique sense of freedom that only comes from a twist-grip throt­tle—as if some­one has granted you a get-out-of-class-free pass, and you’re now look­ing back at the rest of your metaphor­i­cal class­mates stuck in traf­fic.

The rest of the Mo­tor­cy­clist staff tends to share the same sen­ti­ments, and the gen­eral out­look re­mains the same: While some­times de­fi­cient, the ben­e­fits of choos­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle over a car con­tinue to shine through. For those of us who have never owned a car and rely solely on a mo­tor­cy­cle, it starts to feel like we just don’t know any bet­ter. We’ve sim­ply adapted in an at­tempt to over­come the so­cial norms.

For most, run­ning out to the gro­cery store is mun­dane at best, but for mo­tor­cy­clists, it’s a test of ne­ces­sity. Some rid­ers feel not own­ing a car has al­tered their ide­ol­ogy in fa­vor of a min­i­mal­ist method and have gone as far as to plan life around what they can carry on the bike. It’s not un­com­mon to walk away from a shop­ping trip and have to shove that ex­tra box of Chee­rios up the front of your jacket at the ex­pense of feel­ing un­com­fort­able and even ju­ve­nile.

Yes, ju­ve­nile can go too far. For ex­am­ple, there’s ab­so­lutely no need to transport an of­fice chair home from col­lege on a Honda Nighthawk, but I’ve man­aged it. When the chair was safely home, my sat­is­fac­tion wasn’t in the fact that I now had a place to sit but in­stead the fact that some­one in class had said it couldn’t be done, and I had proved them wrong.

While this spe­cific ex­am­ple de­serves to be filed deep in the “stupid” folder, I’ve no­ticed a trend among my au­di­ences when re­count­ing this story: Fel­low mo­tor­cy­clists, in par­tic­u­lar, find it not only be­liev­able but hon­or­able.

While the in­her­ent lack of stor­age space and other crea­ture comforts can lead to vary­ing de­grees of frus­tra­tion, I’ve learned how the neg­a­tives evolve into pos­i­tives.

For most, run­ning out to the gro­cery store is mun­dane at best, but for mo­tor­cy­clists, it’s a test of ne­ces­sity.

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