Zen Motorcyclist: What Do You Ride?
“Reflect upon your present blessings,
of which every man has many—not on your past
misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens
What do you ride? It’s such a personal choice. We ride what we choose, just as we love who we love, for reasons all our own that make sense only to us. It’s as simple as that. I’ve owned 12 bikes in the 23 years I’ve been riding. My 12th, a 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, is currently waiting to be picked up at Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, PA. Thanks to my new friend Bill in sales, I was able to grab the first one sold in the U.S.
It’s mid-February as I write this, and my new ride has been waiting to be picked up for a few weeks now. My friend and co-worker Bill Skumanich (not to be confused with Bill in sales) and I took an evening to see the Tiger for the first time and to talk bikes over dinner at Union Jack’s Inn on the Manatawny amidst a rather nasty winter that has brought our riding to a halt. This purchase has me reminiscing about the other bikes I’ve ridden, the places they’ve taken me to, the friends we’ve made together, and how I discovered my favorite.
I started riding as a noob who knew nothing, but my 1981 Yamaha Maxim was a dream motorcycle to me. My brother found it for me for just $600. I put 16,000 glorious miles on that beautiful black-and-gold beast before moving on to a more comfortable Honda Nighthawk, then two Suzuki V-Stroms, a Kawasaki KLR, a Triumph Bonneville, a Kawasaki Versys, and an Indian FTR as I learned how to tour and found out more about what my personal preferences were. On a ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, however, I discovered the Triumph Street Triple, and I discovered speed. I’ve owned three Street Triples since.
I remember the grin on the face of my friend Ken Meyers after he and I switched bikes for a while during our yearly get-together ride. As we traded back again, he said: “I’d get a lot of tickets on this bike.” I have my 2020 Triple set up to tour, but for the long haul, I’ve always wanted another adventure bike. So, when Triumph announced the Tiger 850 Sport, I immediately pulled the trigger and ordered one.
Last November, after having ordered my Tiger, I rode my Triple across Pennsylvania to the home of our company’s founder, my friend Ryan Robinson. He, his lovely wife Angie, and their daughters Kyla (11) and Kinsley (8) have made it an annual tradition to invite the rest of the company and families to their home. The girls are accomplished competitive equestrians with their own horses. They looked at me with wide eyes when I mentioned having ridden my “horse” across the state to be there. I also explained that I had just ordered another horse for my stable. Just a few days ago, Kinsley overheard her parents talking about the fact that my Tiger had arrived and was a bit miffed that she hadn’t been informed.
I’ll pick up my new Tiger in a few days. This one, my very special edition, comes preloaded with memories even before I’ve swung a leg over it. Memories of smiling children’s faces, of Bill and I taking an evening to get away, talk bikes and to go see mine for the first time. Most notably, though, there’s the memory of my friend and boss Ryan, who made it possible by being ceaselessly generous.
There are certain decisions you make in life that significantly alter your course. Deciding to come to work at RTR Energy Solutions was one of those. I’ve always worked hard, for which my mother deserves any and all credit—but working for a true friend who credits everyone around him for his success and shares the fruits of that success more generously than anyone I’ve ever come across is truly a present blessing.
My 12th motorcycle, in gorgeous Diablo Red and Gray, stablemate to my Street Triple R in the same colors, will serve as a constant reminder of all that I have to be thankful for in my career and my life. I cannot wait to ride my new horse west across Pennsylvania next fall to spend more time fireside with my coworkers and my friends, the Robinsons, to show them the bike everyone was so excited for me to own.