I love that whole theory that mileage makes the man, or woman. We are constantly finding ways to define what kind of biker we are: hard core, old school, weekend warrior. The essence of the biker culture was to run away from these definitions and restrictions. If, indeed mileage defines how hard core you really are then most of us will fall short. In my experience, it’s experience that defines us. I’ve had many experiences on and around my bike that would never have happened if I was in my truck or on foot. If I may be so bold, my bike is taking me places that my car couldn’t take me.
So let’s look at this from an experience perspective. The motorcycle I own is on its
third owner, me. The first owner had one bad experience after getting her license and vowed only to be a passenger. Granted, my Honda Shadow is 750 pounds. This is a daunting weight to anyone. After dropping the bike six times I found that the biggest weight on me was my brain. The sixth time I didn’t have anyone to rescue me so I forced the front wheel in the direction it should go and heaved. The damn bike popped up and I nearly fell over the other side because I thought I would have to use a lot of force.
The second owner drove out to Arizona to get the Honda. He confessed that he never used his bike around town. He had a Harley for that. The Honda instead racked up the first 18,000 miles on long distance runs to Big Bend and New Mexico. Upon seeing the bike parked outside the quilt shop, he told me that he missed his Honda and was sorry he gave it up.
I am the third and last owner of Chief Honda. He has been my around the town, on and off road, as well as long distance pal. I am only at about 12,000 miles in less than two years, but the experiences count for much more. At one point, and this was the day I met my husband Larry, I was going to marry my bike. So if you calculate the 42 years of experiences I have had then you will get a real human. If you pin my numbers up against other bikers, you might get weekend warrior. If the mileage doesn’t define me as a biker, then my experiences should. End effect, I am as much a biker as the seventy year old dude who rode hard, partied harder and his skin was like leather from the endless open rode he chose as his path. Every time I get on Chief Honda (aka Hidalgo) I say my prayers in thanks for another great journey whether short or long.
Here’s a thought. You could ride a hundred miles in to the desert and see nothing. Get off your bike and see a thousand things. Or, find yourself not wanting to stop because you wanted to go five miles more. Free yourself of what you think the ride should be. Free yourselves of the restrictiveness of definitions and just let it be…said the hippy dippy wild horse biker chick.
Jenn Kulick, Wild Horse
Texas Hill Country Biker