by Victor Wanchena
I was sitting at a local rider hangout not that long ago and as I lounged in the easy sunshine of this summer day I overheard two riders debating what made a “real” rider. The first fellow espoused the merits of mileage. For him it was plain and simple, you have to ride certain number of miles every year otherwise you don’t qualify as a “real” rider. The second fellow thought miles were for old men and drifters, the true test of a rider’s realness was their prowess in handling their machine. Lap times and scraped pegs were his litmus test. There good-natured banter got me thinking. What makes a rider “real”?
Well, the first gentleman’s idea that miles make the rider does have some merit. No miles equal no riding. Every mile a rider travels is one more notch, another lesson learned, another mile of experience. Yet not all miles are the same. Is a mile of stick-straight sun-drenched interstate the same as a mile of rain-soaked twisty mountain two-lane? No, miles alone do not make the rider.
What about being the fastest and being willing and able to hang it out there the farthest? Knowing what you and your machine are capable of is important. The road throws many hazards and curves a rider’s way, you need to be able to handle them. But the world is not a giant racetrack nor is there a need to prove yourself on the highways of America. Nope, it isn’t lap times and scraped pegs.
Could it where you been and what you’ve seen? No, there millions of miles of road in this great nation. Every time you think you’re the first to roll on some patch of ground the fact is someone on a KLR was there years before the place even had a name. Too many roads, far too many vistas and simply not enough life. How about what you ride? Hardly worth the thought. It doesn’t matter if you ride Pork, Rice, Kraut, Pasta, Sushi, or Okra we are all one family.
So what makes a “real” rider? The truth of the matter is that if you are asking the question you probably aren’t one. Motorcycling has no rules of admission. To join this club you simply need to take to the road on two-wheels. A little respect for the road and your bike help, but they aren’t even necessary. So whether you ride 200 miles a year or 20,000 your “realness” comes from you and your attitude.
Lacking any good segue from the previous topic, I would also like to announce that you are all personally invited to MMM first reader appreciation party. It is to be held September 10th at 7pm at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. We will be showing the original Mad Max in all its dubbed glory on the big screen. We may even throw in a few door prizes. Arrive on time, as attendance is limited to the first 500 in the door. The price for this extravaganza is the MMM standard, free. That’s right it’s our way of saying thanks to you our reader.
So ride fast and take chances.