Only one way to go- Reasons to quit being a baby and ride your damn bike

Posted by Wild Ride Radio Crew June 5, 2017 Comments are off

Only one way to go

Reasons to quit being a baby and ride your damn bike

By Dallas Hageman, Wild Ride Radio Host Photo by Marc_Smith

www.WildRideRadio.com

I hate flying with the passion of a thousand suns. I know, weird way to start out an article for a motorcycle but. As I am writing this however, there’s currently 30,000 feet between me and the earth and since it is like in a sardine can in this airplane, it feels appropriate to expand on my present situation. After all, if you’ve read any of my past articles would you expect a normal, boring and mundane one right?! As I was pondering what to write about this month while sipping my $8.00 sprite seated next to an amply rotund woman and praying to the heavens the flight attendant doesn’t punch me in the face for not adjusting my seat belt correctly I thought to myself “Why not write about the best way to travel?” Now, some of you might be thinking the obvious… this must be a joke, the only Biker preferred method to travel would be on two wheels. While I would agree with you, I have witnessed that what people SAY and what people actually DO are two very different things.

In this day and age it seems that most people are all talk, Bikers included. I have found that a lot of “riders” sink tens of thousands of dollars into tricked out rides and another couple thousand dollars (at least) into trailers fit for a king and his 50 horses. Everyone wants the “marks” of a Biker, but no one wants to put on the miles, so they spend the money but not the time to look the part. This article, for all intents and purposes, is directed to those who own a bike but rarely ride it. The ones that seem scared to death to go on a (heaven forbid) overnight ride, or travel outside the 10 mile radius of their favorite watering hole or poker run. For this article I will try and do my damndest to convince you or anyone else fighting the thought of two wheel travel that yes, you can go almost anywhere you want on two wheels and it will most likely save you money in the long run. If you heed this advice you’ll get the miles on your bike, the experience of open road travel and the memories that will last a lifetime… unlike any other form of travel. So let’s start off by talking about other ways you can get your butt from coast to coast.

Flying

It was the bee’s knees, cat’s pajamas, the friendly skies, (all outdated terms set in the past and for good reason). People used to get dressed up to fly and eagerly waited in line to sit in their plush seats complete with ample leg room and a steak dinner to boot. Hell, on some airlines you cold fire up a stogie while cruising above the clouds. The entire experience was relaxing, enjoyable, and made for a great way to get to your destination. Fast forward to the present tense… If you haven’t been flying within the past 20 years I would encourage you to keep up your no flying streak, because what most people experience is nothing short of a sky high root canal. The process of air travel is arduous to say the least. After you’ve parked your car in a sea of asphalt and left it to the car lot employees (who I can only assume possess a litany of felonies) you find yourself walking what no doubt amounts to the conservative total of 95,000 miles to the front check in desk. As luck would have it, the typical clerks at said desk usually has just been through a messy divorce judging by their sunny composure. Once you’re done paying for your bags, overweight fees, check in fees and unfriendly sky fees, you’re ushered into the TSA security screening.

In my precious and humbling experiences the TSA screening procedure falls just short of an aggressive rectal examination; except in a rectal exam your doctor usually doesn’t hate you. Anymore, the TSA seems to pride itself on just how much they can ruin the travel experience by utilizing their tools of torture and belittlement. “Take your shoes off, empty your pockets, spread eagle, bend over and smile”… and judging by the way they stick to this mantra I’m thinking this would make a good motto for the TSA in the future. And don’t even get me started on the full body scans… Somewhere out there are some grainy black and white photos of my pasty pale naked body that will no doubt need to be burned in the name of national security to preserve future generation’s eyesight. If you’ve braved any of the aforementioned procedures and managed to make it through the harrowing adventure thus far your entertainment still awaits as you sit in a small tin can on a hot runway with people who apparently don’t fully grasp the usefulness of showers or deodorant. If all goes well, the planets align and the pilot isn’t drunk, you’ll probably lift off and maybe land in the vicinity of where the airline promised. To fly 100 miles or 9,000, it almost always takes a full day of agony, humiliation and Vicodin (emphasis on the latter). For these reasons and many more, a lot of people turn to ground transportation.

Buses and trains

Remember everything I said in the article above. Well, take out the flying in the sky parts and put in driving on the ground. Mass travel on asphalt is all of that nasty crap you have to deal with when flying (minus the interaction with the TSA agents) only now you get to look forward to dragging on the whole arduous travelling process for eternity. In fact, I am pretty sure people who boarded buses and trains in the 1970’s are still travelling to their destination at this very moment. Maybe with some prayers and a lot of luck they’ll get there before President Trump finishes out his term in office. Besides, buses are gross.

I’m a Add to dictionary; for many reasons I’d rather not get into at this moment but if you’ve ever seen the inside of a bus after a trip across the US of A, it looks like what I imagine a refugee camp in Russia to resemble. Dark, dirty, scary and with a couple of corpses strewn across the darker parts of the area. It is not a way to travel, even if you happen to be a ghost. If you have no other way of burning up miles may I suggest a good walk, much like Forrest Gump. Sure it might take you 300 times longer but you’ve got a fighting chance not to contract a flesh eating bacteria strain known only in parts of Syria. Adding to the long list of bus and train woes is the fact that you can’t drive. If you are like me you like to be in control of your vehicle and busses or trains don’t give you that control. They take that control away and give you stale peanuts in return. That’s ALL you get if you use these modes of transportation… peanuts, and possibly bedbugs.

Cars

Cars are a staple of America and Capitalism. They are part of the freedom we enjoy and provide an essential part in our way of life. They also have formed part of our identity as a collective country and we love them, much unlike a lot of other countries. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the United States. In fact, I feel that if you don’t love this country you need to find the door and show yourself out. However, we Americans LOVE our cars and there’s nothing wrong with that; except it’s the second best way to travel, and there’s many reasons why they fall short of travelling on a motorcycle.

Cars insulate the driver like a lunatic in a padded room. Cars cut the drivers off from everything on the outside and most manufacturers do their best to make each cab as soundproof as possible. There’s no connection to the “outside world” except for visual and even then most drivers are so glued to their smartphones that I am constantly surprised anyone gets anywhere, any more without dying in a fiery ball of twisted metal and iPhones. You may see a sunset over the Rocky Mountains driving in a car but you won’t experience them. You might drive past a lighthouse on the west coast but you’ll never feel the sea breeze collect on your skin and feel the fresh air and salt in the wind. You just sit in that insulated and climate controlled bubble and let the world pass by. It can be explained by that old saying “Driving in a car is like seeing a movie, riding a motorcycle is like starring in one”. I absolutely despise road trips… in cars. For whatever reason, the second I get in a four wheeled ride and head down the road Mr. Sandman starts chucking dirt in my face and it’s all I can do to keep my eyelids open. Cars are stuffy, removed and boring, so what is the alternative then? Enter motorcycles.

Motorcycles

Naturally, I wanted to save the best for last. Some might criticize this move and think “Of course you’d say motorcycles are the best mode of transportation, you love them.” I’d like to lovingly and gently retort that those people are not only idiots, they’re dead wrong. Yes, I love motorcycles but I love them BECAUSE they are the best mode of transportation. I didn’t always ride. In fact it took a divorce and a healthy dose of reality before I even considered riding. Before getting on the saddle I travelled extensively using all the aforementioned methods only to find they were arduous and irritating. Motorcycles offer so much more than a way to get from point A to point B. Yes, that is their intended and primary purpose but the side effects of choosing to ride are almost too innumerable to count and for the sake of proving my point, I will talk about a few of the best reasons to ride.

  1. Riding makes you more independent

Travelling on two wheels not only requires said wheels, but a Rider who needs little to nothing from anyone else. Typical passengers on planes/ busses/ trains need to be fed, watered and tucked into bed in order to complete their “adventurous” trek across the planet. I am sure the whole experience of the staff is much like watching after a two year old that can do taxes and carries a driver’s license. Typically, people need looked after, not so with Bikers. Bikers plan, they carry maps, or GPS units, know where a good place to grub down is and are always looking out for their Brothers and Sisters on the road. Bikers are self- sufficient and we like it that way. If you find yourself a little too needy and want to up your game in the adult department start travelling on two wheels. It will not only make you a better Rider, but will hone your skills and put you back in the driver seat of looking after your own well-being.

  1. You meet people you actually want to know

When you take a seat next to someone on an airplane, bus or train, you have no control over that meeting. In my experiences, it is a little like playing Russian roulette only in this case losing at the seating game could be far worse… I don’t know what it is but there are a certain segment of people that feel compelled to converse with anyone and everyone immediately following takeoff; it could be they are lonely and know that the audience around them is held captive thousands of feet in the air. This isn’t an issue on the ground. Bikers can come and go as they please on each stop and when riding, if no CB or communication system is equipped, they can’t communicate. It’s the way we prefer it, plain and simple. If we engage someone in a conversation it’s because WE want to have that exchange, not the other way around.

  1. Travelling can be cheaper if done correctly

Travelling on your motorcycle CAN be cheaper than any other mode of transportation if a few rules are adhered to (and you can’t be a high maintenance princess either). Be willing to stay in cheap hotels or camp. Camping with tents is nearly free in a lot of parts of the country and there are ample hotels that welcome late arriving guests at a discount rates. Find a good App on your phone for travel discounts or plan a route that has ample campsites and stops, it’ll save big in the long run and if you can get over not staying in the Taj Mahal, can add up to big bucks down the road.

Fuel is much cheaper on a motorcycle. Most cars get 20-24 miles per gallon whereas a bike will get anywhere from 25-30 gallons (at least). Couple this saving with the camping and you could be looking at somewhat cheaper rates than a plane ticket at peak season. Granted you’ll have to forego the stale peanuts and $8.00 Sprite, but we all have to make sacrifices from time to time.

  1. Street cred

Remember when I said most people want to look the part, but not put the time in? After travelling on two wheels around the country you’ll rise above the sea of wannabes and begin to become an actual Biker. Travelling changes you, to the core. Travelling on a bike will give you cred among others who have swung a leg over the saddle and put in travel time, it forms a mutual respect almost instantly. Real Bikers know a farce when they see one and can tell if the lines in your face are from the road or not. Get riding, and get some cred.

Look, if you travel, why not do it the best way? In this day and age everyone does it but unfortunately only a few attempt to go the distance on two wheels. If you can plan some time and make it happen I would encourage you to throw your leg over the saddle, you will find that the payoff is much more than making it to your destination. Travelling on to wheels will mold and form your outlook on life, give you great and lifelong friends and make you a much happier individual (trust me, I am still trying to choke these stale peanuts down, and I’m nowhere near happy at the moment).

 

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