Ego Driven

Mar 03, 2015 View Comments by

DSCN0139Why do some people spend their last dime on something they simply can’t afford? Their roof may be leaking and their kids in need of braces yet they will go out and drop/ borrow $25,000-$35,000 on a motorcycle, ”classic” car, or overly optioned truck. It’s sadly not because they “need it,” they are not going to go touring the country on their bike, heck chances are it may never even get out of the county! As evidence look at the slew of three to five year old bikes are on the market with less than 10,000 miles on them. How many huge 4x4s do you see sitting in driveways of suburban homes that probably have never pulled a trailer or been off-road? It’s an economic disaster, they are losing a bundle of money on these forced sales because they are up side down on their loans, and we all end up bailing them out. On top of this they deplete the supply, and even worse, drive up the prices for those that will really use these machines.

You can say that this is great for those who want to snap up a deal at cheap prices, but understand this: If they couldn’t afford the payments, chances are they sure as heck didn’t put a cent into maintenance. In the words of western author Zane Gray: “ridden hard and put away wet.”

As I watch so many of these auctions on TV I am convinced that this group of buyers are purchasing these machines not to drive or ride them but only as “investments” or pure ego—I got it, and you didn’t. Ego is fed by the thought that other people will be impressed by what you’re in, or on. People who need this adoration are sometimes shallow, and really don’t deserve a second glance. I know this because I too once believed the old adage; “You are what you drive.” The scales fell from my eyes not just when I was riding a brand new HD Electra Glide, that wasn’t even on the market yet (borrowed from HD, but who knew) and reveling in the glow of all the “nice bike dude” comments. Or when I had an Iron Horse chopper on loan and got the “awesome wheels man.” It was when I owned a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur. I had people follow me and try to strike up a conversation. I could park anywhere and not get a ticket—some places even asked me to park in front of their establishments. It became … spooky. I got rid of the car, because I felt like a total fake, and it was a money pit too. I realized, just in time, that I was falling into the trap that defines us not by who we are or what we do, but by what we have. It is financial and mental quick sand, fostering an unquenchable appetite for even more, one that will leave you staring at a dusty machine in a rented storage container.

So, what’s it all mean? Buy what you can afford. Just don’t let what other people think define who you are, you are way better than that. Shakespeare may have said it best; “to thine own self be true.” If more people functioned this way maybe we can bring the prices of those classics into regular folk range. And, then we can fix that leaky roof, and poor patient Bobby can finely get those braces, even if he is 35 by now, they still makes a dandy birthday gift.

Ride on.

 

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!