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SEE THE LIGHT

Posted On 25 May 2024
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This entry is part 9 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#33

AND YOU’LL KNOW WHY WE RIDE
WORDS THE BEAR PHOTO COLIN WHELAN

” On the road again Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again… Willie Nelson

Why do we ride, why do we ride… I remember a night on my old WLA Harley, the first one I owned, the red one. I was on my way to Melbourne to attend a national meeting of the Inter varsity Jazz Society, of all things, but truth be known it was more that I was looking forward to seeing a certain Melburnian young lady. It was about 2am on a cloudy night and I was somewhere near Goulburn, freezing and trying to avoid frosty patches on the road, when my headlight globe blew.

High beam had blown some time before, so I was now not only damp and cold but also effectively blind.

I pulled over onto the barely visible soft shoulder, and couldn’t help myself: I just started laughing like a lunatic.

Nearly dropped the bike, not that that would have mattered; it had the ubiquitous crash bars which not only really did protect the bike but also made it ridiculously easy to pick up if it fell over.

My mate on the back was used to my weird behaviour, but even he got a little worried.

“Are you all right?” he said, and all I could do through the gusts of laughter was nod and grunt. Yes, I was all right.

We completed the ride into Goulburn in the headlights of a convenient semi, and found a new globe at the very last servo in town. Once again, I could see the light…

Have you ever wondered why one of the most popular purchases by recently divorced men is – a motorcycle? No, me neither. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The bike is a badge of freedom and a promise of pleasure to come. Please note that I’m by no means in favour of divorce; after all, the majority of people who are married to motorcyclists don’t mind them having a bike.

But the divorce/bike coincidence is meaningful. Motorcycles are not just means of transport or even declarations of potency from middle-aged males.

Motorcycles offer ways of exploring the world and ourselves. Motorcycles offer freedom.

Colin’s wonderful photo of his bike in front of a fog bank is so powerful it almost hurts. I wish I could be there, ready to jump on the bike and find out what’s hiding behind that fog. Just follow that dirt road and maybe come to one of those magic places that exist all over the country – but that are only reachable by bike. Oh, sure, you could drive there by car. But in a car you’d be past the spot before you even had time to recognise and acknowledge it. On a bike you’ll see it and, more importantly, feel it. The magic can work because you’re open to it.

And listen, don’t worry if the above seems like twaddle to you. One day you’ll see what I mean, maybe quite unexpectedly; or maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter. Just keep riding into those fog banks.

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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