RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Zen Motorcyclist: Every Time I Turn Around

Nov 08, 2015 View Comments by

Zen Motorcyclist: Every Time I Turn AroundTaming Time –

I’m a reminiscent sort. My girlfriend, Cori, says I never forget anything. I often find myself thinking back to the events in my life that have led to my writing, and for the last 15 years many of those occasions have taken place on the seat of a motorcycle. I wrote a blog post a while back and quoted a line from one of my favorite films about time being a monster that can’t be reasoned with. It’s true. Time can fly, and when you finally stop to think back, you can wonder where it went.

One of my first few rides was to and from the MSF rider training course, and I was the only one who actually rode a bike to class. My brother Dave and I took the course together. He would ride by and as he passed me, he’d joke about my group under his breath. It cracked me up every time. We had a rider in class we privately referred to as “my husband” because that’s how she started every sentence. “My husband never uses his front brakes” was one memorable utterance. Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, “my husband” was the only one to fail the class.

I turn around and in what seems like a blink, I’m shopping for a motorcycle suitable for my 80-mile commute and gearing up to ride year round in southeastern Pennsylvania. There’s winter and rain gear to purchase and experience to gain in traffic. I’m riding along in the morning grinning from ear to ear and forgetting that I’m actually on my way to work; I’m simply being and experiencing the moment while surrounded by grumpy car commuters.

Turn around again, and my daughter Devon and I are shopping for her first helmet. She is tapping me on the shoulder after mounting up, and we’re riding around town together. She always carries her helmet around whenever we stop; she’s proud to be a motorcyclist. I’m giving her friends rides after having them call their parents for permission.

Turn around and I’m on the ground, my first (and as of this writing, only) crash. I’m thankful I’m wearing full gear and survive more or less unscathed. Turn around again, and I’m riding home from a long solo ride and have the idea of starting a motorcycle group of my own. I’m leading and planning rides to the Blue Ridge Parkway or simply to a lunch spot in the mountains. I’m meeting and falling in love with Cori who will forever be the sweetest thing riding has ever brought me. We meet and greet riders and chat as we ride for hours. I refer to her as a bumble bee who pollinates people in any group and instantly puts them at ease with her smile and warm, open way.

Turn around and Devon is off to college. We hadn’t ridden together in years, but her little white helmet is still in my possession. The memory of those rides with her when she was young is a warm jewel in my heart. The group is disbanded, but I’m still meeting with the core group for dinner once a month, planning future rides with them, and writing about our travels together.

Turn around and the motorcycle that has been my constant companion for nearly 10 years is showing signs of wear. I find myself sitting here thankful to have a blank page to fill with a thought that might find a similar heart coming across these words in the pages of RoadRUNNER.
It’s true that time can be a monster, but it doesn’t have to be. Time can be tamed by memory. When you pause to look back and consider the miles traveled and the smiles returned, time is forced to pause and wait for you to decide it’s OK to march forward. My mother always says, “Bud, one day you’re going to be old, and you’ll wonder where the time went.” But as a motorcyclist I can look back and see exactly where it went, every time I turn around.


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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.