Three months in Asia Pacific will give you legitimate and far reaching perspective; as will any amount of time spent outside the comfort of what you know. The ability to see the same situation at a different angle and with a second lens. As time passes however, a rider who doesn’t ride will suffer from great angst causing them to sharply focus on anything and everything that looks or sounds like it’s on two wheels. This has become reality. A soft and low pitched rumble becomes increasingly louder as you pause from your train of thought on monotonous work in the office building 23 floors above the pavement. It gets louder and throatier as it converges on your location. Could it be? Your face is pressed up against the glass hoping for a glimpse of American muscle. Na, just some conforming, run of-the-mill dude in his Ferrari revving the engine with nowhere to open it up. Appreciation for all things untrodden to you turn to hatred that none of these learnings lead to the stairway to heaven – open road devoid of city life and smog.
We’ve been fortunate enough to meet those people who embody the true bagger mentality like Simon at Eagle Rider in Sydney and contented to have ridden on some of those storied roads like Putty northwest of the city. There is some legendary asphalt outside of the US of A, but the hard reality is few like us epitomize the true bagger mentality. It’s not an air of arrogance, but pride I’ve gained in seeing reactions in a foreign land when I’ve had that rare opportunity to ride. The reaction to 900 pounds of roaring, unforgiving exhaust. People grinning ear to ear gawking, hitting each other and pointing. Fathers lifting their sons above their shoulders for a bird’s eye view to their wive’s dismay. To the conversations and photos shared of the Beantown Baggers community in New Delhi where a bartender shared his dream of riding and appreciation for the American attitude of not giving a f*ck. To knowing, when home the tar is warmed up already from the torque you’ve laid onto it – knowing that this ability is not taken for granted, but taken advantage of…abused as it wants to be.
People around the world want what we have. This past time, this way of life is expensive and it’s a whole lot more untouchable elsewhere. A pipe dream, I can tell you that. Believe it or not, we’ve got it good. Elsewhere, the roads aren’t there in many cases. Infrastructure has not been a friend to riders. If the roads are there, it’s the cost and the challenge of being able to get up and go on a dime. If you’re afforded the ability, you may be one of few and riding is riding, but it’s a lot more enjoyable with a band of brothers. So, this season when you hear that first crack and smell those fumes to the seemingly endless nights you shamefully think about being elsewhere, remember you’re envied. From the neighbor across the street who never followed a dream to those who dream, but aren’t afforded the ability.
To the 2014 riding season. To us and those like us, damn few left.