I turned 30, got married, and learned to ride a motorcycle all in the same year. Coincidence? Probably not. Julie is a big believer in the astrological phenomenon known as the Saturn return – Maybe that had something to do with it. For me, the year I turned 30 meant self directed change and a very good year.
Last week, I sold the motorcycle. It’s the end of an era. One that might come back one day, but is gone for now.
The feeling I got looking out the window at my motorcycle parked out front never really went away over the course of the years I owned it. I’d think “I can’t believe I am the cool kid who gets around on that” or “I can’t wait until I have to go somewhere” or “maybe when the weather gets better I’ll take it out on the highway for a couple hours/days/weeks”.
All that said, it feels good to have my motorcycling days behind me. It feels like victory, actually. I owned and operated my bike for 4 years, and have come through unscathed.
I’m not a guy who worries much about being hip, and I’m not a guy who comes from a long line of motorcycle riders, or who has a bunch of friends with bikes. Instead, it was something I decided I wanted to do on my own. It was an identity I forged for myself, and a skill I learned. It isn’t easy to decide to ride a motorcycle. You have figure out what the motivation is to take the risks involved – it’s no secret that motorcycling is nowhere near as safe an activity as driving.
It meant negotiating with my spouse. She (understandably) wasn’t thrilled about the idea of me tearing around on a motorbike. I didn’t like the idea of causing her stress, and she didn’t like the idea of telling me not to do something I wanted to do. Figuring out a middle ground was an stretch for both of us that we handled well, and in my opinion, grew our relationship a little stronger.
And for me, it meant knowing that I could define myself how I wanted. I’d always wanted a motorcycle since I was a little kid. Now I’ve had one. Knowing I could get that all together makes me realize that while not all my dreams will come true, I can prioritize the ones I want, and make them happen.
In the 4 years I owned it, I rode it well over 20,000 kilometers. I rode it down the the coast of Oregon and California to Los Angeles and Palm Springs in 2003. When my brother turned 30, I rode it over the Rockies to Calgary. I hardly ever paid for parking when I worked downtown in Gastown. I loved that bike.
But it wasn’t as fun the last year I rode it as it was the first, and staring down the barrel of another winter, I just couldn’t bear the thought of riding it the rain. This, and for the last couple of years, the risk has been more at the forefront of my thinking on it. I was always aware that I was taking a chance every time I got on it, but I felt just a little less like that was an okay decision as time went on.
So now it’s over (for now. I might rent one for a day next summer, or maybe get another at a later date). I miss it, but I feel proud of my experience with the bike I loved so much, and I feel a sense of accomplishment at having made the motorcycle worthy of a chapter of my existence on this planet, or at the very least, an entry in this blog.