Thursday, April 14, 2005
When God invented springtime, he had motorcycles in mind
I left the house on my ZX7R around 6:30 last night and commenced with my usual burbling around town. It was such a beautiful evening that I simply couldn't resist a little time in the saddle. I'm glad I rode. The smell of the many blooming wildflowers, combined with the therapeutic sound of the Green Meanie's engine, made for a near-spiritual experience.
After making the rounds here in Midland (and seeing about a million bikes), I ended up in nearby Odessa at the 42nd Street Starbucks. I hadn't been there long when a fellow rider I know pulled up and joined me. As the sky turned from blue to purple, we hung out on the patio and had an interesting conversation on the topic of how people aren't as friendly with one another as they once were. Postulating as to why, we concluded that the way we sometimes choose to isolate ourselves from one another in modern-day America -- mostly out of fear -- is rather sad.
Dusk fell and I decided to head back to Midland. As I passed the infamous Sonic Drive-In on Midkiff (a location known for its anti-biker management), I spotted four or five bikes sitting there under the lights. I almost kept going, partly because I have refused for over a year to patronize that place, and partly because I didn't recognize any of the bikes or people.
Wait a minute, I thought. You were just talking about how important it is to spread openness and friendship. Here's an opportunity.
And with that, I pulled in, parked my bike, and said hello to the other bikers.
The group was very friendly -- and very young. I'd say none of them were over 18 or 19, and they were all riding hotrod bikes. Wow. When I was 18, I had to practically beg my parents to even let me ride a 250cc Honda on the street. Times have certainly changed.
At any rate, the gathering suddenly became infectious as we started waving down every bike that passed by. In the process, another guy I regularly ride with ended up stopping-in, as well as several other riders I hadn't seen in years. We talked bikes and racing for quite a while, sharing tech tips and looking at each other's motorcycles. By 10:00 p.m., eleven or so of us had gathered together and everyone was having a good time. We split up shortly thereafter, having made a few new friends and having gotten reacquainted with a few old ones. All in all, it was a great night.
As I headed home, I couldn't help but marvel a bit (as I have done many times before) at how motorcycles bring people together -- people who otherwise might not even get to know one another. Being a biker is a blessing in more ways than one, and I'm glad I've spent most of my life on two wheels.
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