Remember Beginnings

Dec 25, 2012 View Comments by

remember beginningsDo you ever sit back and think about how important things begin? Maybe it’s watching your son or daughter walk across a stage and receive a diploma that makes you think about when they were first learning to walk. Maybe a sidelong glance across the room at your spouse reminds you of that fateful first date. So many of the great things in our lives begin so humbly. The other day I was thinking of my own modest beginnings as a motorcyclist just a few short years ago. I marveled at how much I didn’t know (which also reminded me of all the things I still don’t). About six years ago I bought a 1975 Honda CB750 that had already spent more years on the road than I have on earth. Its rear brake didn’t work, many of its screws and bolts were permanently rusted in place, and its seat was cracked and faded from years in the sun. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I threw a leg over and asked which one was the clutch.

Do you remember not knowing where the clutch was? When I look back at those first few tentative laps around the neighborhood, nothing felt natural. I had to think about absolutely everything. I had to remind myself to downshift and where the front brake was. I even had to think about putting my foot down as I came to a stop.

As we progress through our lives and as our experience mounts, those memories of our initial inadequacy slip out the backdoor of our minds. There’s some part of us that likes to think we’re naturals, that we were born knowing how to ride, that, somehow, we just always knew how it was done. We forget those anxious feelings that accompanied the first few rides when we really didn’t know what we were doing. Sometimes it’s good to remember where we came from, how we got to be where we are, and to appreciate the process that accomplished it.

Motorcycling, like the rest of our lives, is a constant progression. Each of us moves at a different rate through the process, and the story is unique to each rider. Most of us will never achieve the levels of proficiency attained by the likes of Valentino Rossi or Nicky Haden, but the one thing we all have in common is that we all started at the same place. At some point in our motorcycling history, whether we were four or forty at the time, we all had to be shown which one was the clutch.

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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.