If you were put on the stand by an especially savage prosecutor, one with a nose for the lie and a razorblade mind, and he asked you why you got your first bike, what would you say? You could say that bikes are economical, easy to park and cheap to insure. You could say that they don't use much gas, and that they have little environmental impact. But if you were to answer this way, that prosecutor would turn the gimlet eye on your soul, and broadcast “Liar!” to every member of the jury. And you would get convicted, my friend.
However, if you were to answer “Well, I like them because they go fast, look cool, and thought they would help me meet (insert cheerleader's name here),” then this same admonitory soul's grim visage would crack for the slightest of seconds, and you would see a faint, faint flicker of approval. Because this is the truth, and although I can't make the categorical statement that this is the only reason why any young guy ever buys a bike, I think I stand on pretty solid ground in asserting that it plays a large role in the decision much of the time.
, Chicks and bikes…Homles and Watson, Ponch and Jon, Butch and Sundance. Beer and pizza. Beer and football. Football and pizza…and beer. You get the point. So this all being said, I can say that I didn't get my first bike to impress Felicia Gordon the fabled, but I did get my second one for that reason. My first was a Triumph Daytona 500, 1970, twin Amal carbs. It was cool, but looking at it, then at Felicia, I knew I needed something a bit more…well, sporty. And that was how I got the 883.
Yep: seventeen and a Harley Davidson owner. Which was cool, and I had it cafe'd out: low bars, nice exhaust: that paper route's coffers were bankrupted in an afternoon, but…Felicia might notice, so it was worth it. And so I practiced the cool-cat pullup to the front of the school, and knew that there was a corner where when she and Kim Biondi, Janis Abeel and Bridgit Friel, all equally fabled, all angels fixed in high school firmament, would sling pom-poms over their backs and sashay insouciantly off the field. I was the kicker, since I had grown up overseas, and while useless at American football could kick a soccer ball through a basketball hoop. But this wasn't enough: I could come to the parties, but I was on special teams everywhere: when we want you, we'll call you. Hence the help in the form of the Harley.
I planned carefully, and one day as I saw the clique of cool chicks walk off the field, I kickstarted the beast. I came around the corner, and wanted to grab their attention with an excellently cool downshift.
Well, I grabbed their attention…because Triumphs and Harley brake on opposite sides. So as I went to downshift to make the exhaust backfire, and grab the heart and attention of Felicia the Wondrous, I hit the brake. Ass over teakettle is about right. The bike went out of control, smashing into a mailbox. I went flying, and smashed myself into a parked Karmann Ghia. The forks crumpled like tin foil, and the girls ran shrieking. I woke up at Columbia Presbyterian, bikeless, ego-less, and off the team for the season.
But you know what? Felicia came to see me in the hospital!
So here is the lesson: remember if your bike shifts English or like everywhere else; keep your mind on the road; the world is full of Felicias, but isn't if you are dead, and when Etruscan boys bought war ponies, Romans chariots and when the boys of the future buy aerial skimmers that look like flying jetskis, the same thing came or will come into play. It's just humanity. Keep that in mind and remember to keep your eye on the prize…the real prize – life…as enhanced by the motorcycle.