I have been licensed to drive a motorcycle for six months now and it's been six months since I first rode one that incredible morning at Northern Virginia Community College. I remember it like it was just last June. Less than a week after getting my license I had bought a bike and began my new life. I put over 1,000 miles on my bike this Summer, ran out of gas on a thoroughfare four times, gave many rides, and parked wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. But then the stodgy months of Winter set in and I was forced to put Stella into a soporific state until Spring break 2012. I have been having withdrawals that are enigmatically painful to understand. I'd been searching for ways to cope when I heard an advertisement on the radio for an International Motorcycle Show being held at the Washington Convention center last week. I was there in a heartbeat, but ended up leaving the show with more questions than answers. It was like that one time I went looking for love in the wrong place and ended up with a pet penguin. But that is a fatuous story so I'll get back to motoring.
First, I loved the show. It was everything I dreamed it would be (except there was far less ice cream than I had imagined). I have never been surrounded by more leather clad bikers in my whole life. Where else would it be acceptable for a grown man to wear leather chaps and a leather vest with tassels dangling? There were hundreds of bikes to sit on and even a free chapstick station. Last year I developed the skill of finishing off my chapstick before losing it, and as a result of this development I now have copious tubes of lip lard. There was a motorcycle trick show where some kids jumped over a human, and seminars on how to corner a precipitous turn. All of this was thrilling.
Now for the question portion, without a transition sentence.
-Why did you leave with more questions than resolutions, David?
Answer: Well, I am facing a bikers identity crisis. Previous to riding myself I never realized the variety of bikers and I just don't know where I fit in. Some of them are diehard Harley riders. You know the type- lots of leather, a skid lid helmet, facial hair, tattoos, and a scent not exactly akin to attar of roses. Harley's are not generally sport bikes. Then you have your sport bikes, also known as rice racers, crotch rockets, or superbikes. These riders often have racing jackets with padding, shaved heads, diamond studs, and full helmets concealing their identities. If you haven't seen one before, that's because they were going too fast. Other types of bikers include tourers, cruisers, and economical bikers. Tourers are generally couples who ride their gigantic motorcycle for vacations and don't have many defining characteristics except that they're all over 60 and can't afford an RV. Cruisers are people who like to ride for fun, but struggle with an identity. Stella is a cruiser, and I think I most adequately fit into this niche right now. I mean, I do have leather chaps and all, but I have run out of gas on the highway four embarrassing times in 6 months... Economical bikers are people who ride because they see it as a really cheap and convenient transportation, but they find their identities in other walks of life.
At the show I fell in love with a sport bike- the Honda CB1000R. It is a pulchritudinous bike that won't leave my mind. But am I ready to adopt the life of a rice racer? Frankly I don't feel ready for the diamond studs just yet. I also greatly appreciated the Honda Fury (I'm a Honda guy for the time being). It's chopper (a variety of cruiser) and I think if I got one I might have to get a tattoo. My head is stuck between a diamond stud and a tattoo.
My government issued license identifies me, but my motorcycle tells me who I am. Go tweet that or something. And, if you have any suggestions about what bike to get, or what identity to go with, please throw in your nickel.