Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


No Worries

Some scattered showers after work. Strapped on the government mandated helmet and let the water wash away any cares I may have had as I rode off into the rain. Actually, I love my job. Getting a machine operating well is music. In fact, an assembly machine has a 4/4 rhythm with a back beat. Get it running and you are rewarded with some rockin' tunes, if you like industrial.

Riding an old school stripped chopper in the rain has it's down sides. Without the front fender the water on the street rooster tails up and over the headlight. Getting stuck in the rain in Minnesota, where I always rode without a helmet, meant a face full of street rain. It's not just water. All that dirt and oil that normally coats the road lifts up and flies onto you with the rain. So the full face helmet has that small advantage on nights like these. I can still get a lap full of the wet stuff, though.

In typical Portland style, the rain was gone in less than a minute. Within a mile or two almost no road spray at all. Just another pleasant ride home.

There on the other side of the street is an ambulance, lights flashing, parked in front of the adult video store. I ponder what kind of emergency could have taken place in such an environment, who was involved, and if they maybe didn't need that little extra bit of excitement this evening.

As I take a fast right I remember what it was like to ride this old chopper years ago when I first built her. I was not only new to riding choppers but fairly fresh to motorcycles in general. Each ride was an adventure leaving me wondering if perhaps I hadn't gotten myself in beyond my abilities. It was a constant state of alertness and fear as I rode the over-powered and under-weight old girl through dense city traffic. Fight to stay alive. Let the engine scream so that guy in the SUV on his cell phone knows you are there. Over time as I learned the ins and outs of chopper riding, I got comfortable. The dangers have persisted, but my skills are honed. I ride with confidence. And that is what now scares the hell out of me. My reactions are all second nature. No thinking is necessary. Will this 'riding on automatic' lead to a tragic end?

No worries. The future reveals itself however it chooses. Even with all the guys at work hovering over the article about the football player who went through a windshield while riding his motorcycle this week, I know that I will continue to ride. I'll ride hard and dangerous. And this weekend, I'll ride without a helmet with no worries at all.

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