Tag Archives: Megaphone

A Tale Of The Ultimate Motorcycle Commute

The commute was always the best part of my day, and then later on, the best part of my night: ripping on a deserted western Massachusetts road, cow pastures on both sides, that rich stink of manure coming in through the vents on my helmet. I would leave around four in the afternoon. That used to be my morning: wake up after 12, drink coffee on the sun-soaked porch, smack away the encroaching morning glories that were swallowing my house whole, then slowly, resentfully, get it together. Black, always black. Black pants, black shirt, black eyeliner. Black helmet. I rode into town like a carefree mutt with its head out the window, momentarily forgetting that I was chained to the night of service ahead. To the customers’ demands, the chef’s wandering hands, the burning-hot plates stacked on my forearms, the wineglasses threaded through my fingers, and the dishwasher’s petulant rage. Arriving always hurt a little—the leash yanked taut. How many mournful cigarettes can one woman smoke before dinner service begins? How many longing glances can she cast at her chrome chariot, wedged between the dumpster and the folding chairs? Finally, the show. No time for wistful gazes in the alley. Would you like to start with drinks? Fresh ground pepper on that? The chef recommends medium rare.

But the middle-of-the-night ride home—that was true freedom. Empty roads, pavement still warm, moon-soaked sky, the adrenaline of a hundred or more covers fizzing through my veins, and the lump of a few hundred dollars cash against my thigh. The speedometer on that old Honda never did work right, the corn stalks shivering in my wake as I blew past. Sometimes I’d hit a bump and the headlight would blink off for a few seconds. I’d laugh when it did, maniacal, hopped up on the relief of being done, of being set loose, no leash until tomorrow, no cops for miles, no reason not to push that engine a little harder, to embrace that clean night air a little tighter.

These are the nights you take the long way. The nights when you ride past your own house and loop back around for a few more miles of flying by pastures with the grass nibbled down low, nocturnal eyes peering down from the tree branches, and the fireflies—so many of them blinking on and off, just like me and my goddamn headlight, all of us saying luminescent hellos to each other, saying thank God I made it to this moment. Saying glad you made it too.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Riding 1000 Miles On A BMW R100

There’s no law against it. No one will stop you at the state line and ask your business—why you’re 1,000 miles from where you were at dawn. They won’t go looking into your bloodshot and bleary eyes for answers to what you’re running from. Not yet.

The bike was a gift. There’s no other way to say it, belonging as it did to a friend who found himself staring down cruel days with no time for an old R100. “Ride the hell out of it,” he said. I’d have to in order to make up the time I lost. There were the wildfires that ran me off some of the best roads in Washington; a voltage regulator in the Dales; a rotor, diode board, and battery in Portland; the clutch-adjustment bolt I nearly lost somewhere on I-84; and the goddamned hailstorm outside Salt Lake that turned the highway into a terrifying and cold river of slush.

I wanted to run, crank on the throttle, and cover the miles I was due; to get something clear between me and that BMW: We aren’t the sitting-around kind. Somewhere between Evanston and Cheyenne, it clicked, the airhead finding its groove near 90, those goofy cylinders out in the wind, and the sky wide and blue for the first time since I left the coast. We were taking the country in gulps, at last.

It’s a miserable way to ride, hunkered down over low bars with no windscreen, passing the same semis time and time again, their wash catching the panniers and shaking the bike. But by the time I stopped outside Lincoln, we’d made better than 750 miles since dawn.

I wasn’t gunning for a piece of paper with my name on it or a patch on my coat. I wanted 1,000 miles under me in one long day because I needed to know we could do it. That we could push back against inevitability, against the ever-growing chorus of aches in my back, the entropy in the machine beneath me, and a world intent on saving everyone from themselves. That there are still places and things that will give you enough rope to hang yourself.

The last 20 miles were the worst. I caught a dark, brawling Missouri thunderstorm, the drops like hornets through my gloves, and the lightning so close, I could hear it sizzle over the clatter of that dauntless engine. I’d made my 1,000 and kept riding through the dark farmland and the rain, on to a clean, dry bed a lifetime from where I woke up.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Riding 1000 Miles On A BMW R100

There’s no law against it. No one will stop you at the state line and ask your business—why you’re 1,000 miles from where you were at dawn. They won’t go looking into your bloodshot and bleary eyes for answers to what you’re running from. Not yet.

The bike was a gift. There’s no other way to say it, belonging as it did to a friend who found himself staring down cruel days with no time for an old R100. “Ride the hell out of it,” he said. I’d have to in order to make up the time I lost. There were the wildfires that ran me off some of the best roads in Washington; a voltage regulator in the Dales; a rotor, diode board, and battery in Portland; the clutch-adjustment bolt I nearly lost somewhere on I-84; and the goddamned hailstorm outside Salt Lake that turned the highway into a terrifying and cold river of slush.

I wanted to run, crank on the throttle, and cover the miles I was due; to get something clear between me and that BMW: We aren’t the sitting-around kind. Somewhere between Evanston and Cheyenne, it clicked, the airhead finding its groove near 90, those goofy cylinders out in the wind, and the sky wide and blue for the first time since I left the coast. We were taking the country in gulps, at last.

It’s a miserable way to ride, hunkered down over low bars with no windscreen, passing the same semis time and time again, their wash catching the panniers and shaking the bike. But by the time I stopped outside Lincoln, we’d made better than 750 miles since dawn.

I wasn’t gunning for a piece of paper with my name on it or a patch on my coat. I wanted 1,000 miles under me in one long day because I needed to know we could do it. That we could push back against inevitability, against the ever-growing chorus of aches in my back, the entropy in the machine beneath me, and a world intent on saving everyone from themselves. That there are still places and things that will give you enough rope to hang yourself.

The last 20 miles were the worst. I caught a dark, brawling Missouri thunderstorm, the drops like hornets through my gloves, and the lightning so close, I could hear it sizzle over the clatter of that dauntless engine. I’d made my 1,000 and kept riding through the dark farmland and the rain, on to a clean, dry bed a lifetime from where I woke up.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com