There are some people who just love bikes. At times, it is a passionate,
all consuming affair, this love. Motorcycle love is still frowned on by
some people, but these are the most likely the same people who frown on
gambling, carrying on at parties, and kissing alluring women you hardly
even know. They regard motorcycles as weird, insectlike, and dangerous.
Some people are simply not hip at all. Loving motorcycles after all is as
natural and basic as loving girls.
Loving motorcycles has one big advantage over loving women, however, and this is in the "uncomplicated" department. Admittedly girls are far more important, but romantic love is very complex, and nobody fully understands it. But hey, we're among friends, so lets talk.
(I know women love bikes, too, but I'm just a regular Johnny Lunchpail kinda guy and can't write everything from a unisex perspective. Please bear with me, ladies, and switch the words around a little as you read. For example, when I say something seemingly ignorant and sexist like "sultry babe" you can mentally substitute the appropriate gender specific term such as "smoldering hunk" or "irresistible swine bastard.")
There are bikes most of us have to love from a distance, like the Supermono and the Vincent Black Shadow. Only racers and rich guys get to have them, in the same way that only heavy metal rock stars can break the hearts of supermodels and actresses. The difference is that if you see one, you can gawk and worship all you want, and the owner will be happy. If it's at the Rock store and he's there, you can ask questions and he'll probably let you touch it. Try that on Pamela Anderson and see how Tommy Lee feels about it.
Of course, your girl doesn't have to be a celebrity, and your bike doesn't need to be exotic for you to love it. There are guys who love their XS650 twins, and there are guys who love their leaky AMF Sportys. It's all a matter of preference and finances, but there's generally less guesswork involved. You can pretty quickly check a bike out for high mileage and frame damage, but there is absolutely no way to quickly assess a new babe for traumatic past experiences and illogical quirks. This is important, because both bikes and women can drive you crazy and possibly kill you.
Bikes, of course, come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and in this respect the deal is very much like the babe situation. There's the Ducati 900SS, a high maintenance fiery Italian redhead. And that CR500R, wild back country gold dust woman. She'll run you ragged and leave you on your back out in the hot desert sun and you'll want more. The dream Harley, all chrome and black metal like a naughty busty strawberry blonde in a black leather French wrap. If the CBR900RR were a girl, she's definitely be a buff athletic babe rollerblading down the Strand in spandex and lycra. The BMW K100 is the smart, rugged girl who'd tell you about hitchhiking through Thailand with her scholarship money while she gives you an expert Shiatsu massage. There's the Hawk, with world class handling and a very tractable, torquey engine, but workaday looks. She's like that sweet, but plain, short haired girl who smiled at you sometimes on the playground during recess. Now you know you should have married her, but she's gone.
The difference is that you can have all the bikes you want if you make it big. You can have a Harley and an FZR and a CR250R and as long as the garage is big enough, it's cool. If you have more than one girlfriend you have to start becoming selectively secretive about everything, and eventually you are left with nothing.
Bikes go into stasis until you start them up and when you do, they're always happy to see you. A motorcycle can't get jealous, and you don't have to let anyone else ride it if you don't want to. If you really trust someone, you can let him ride ride your bike, and even if he rides it better than you, the bike is still yours when it comes back. Bikes don't complain and won't run off with someone else, although they are easier to steal than girlfriends. Bike theft is illegal, however, and the police might be more sympathetic if you accidentally hit a bike thief with a stream of mace than if you accidentally punch the new boyfriend in a bar.
You can put on a helmet and leathers to prevent road rash, but there's nothing you can do to prevent a woman from breaking your heart. If your motorcycle doesn't work you can generally fix it yourself, whereas fixing people has to be done by licensed medical professionals. You can change anything you want on your motorcycle (as long as it meets EPA and DMV restrictions), whereas you're supposed to love a woman for what she is. If you get tired of working on your bike, then you can get rid of it, although you inevitably regret it. But you can always find another one exactly like it. You can take the best parts of different bikes and make one especially the way you want it. Try telling a date you wish she could sing like Rickie Lee Jones, walk like Bridget Bardot, and had a tawny body like one of those tough Hawaiian surfer chicks. Right.
But don't get me wrong. Women are far more important than motorcycles. Motorcycles are just pieces of metal, advanced composites, liquids, electronics, and rubber. Motorcycles cannot beget other motorcycles. They do not write you letters while you're out of town. They're actually just machines. In all honestly, I'd be willing to spend the rest of my life on a deserted Pacific island with a quality woman, and never see another bike again. But life isn't that simple. Compared to everything else in life, loving your motorcycle is a pure and uncomplicated affair of the heart.©1993 Paul Peczon
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since October 1, 1997
mildly updated Dec 09.