A Battle Between Man, Machine and The Road. A Beautiful Symphony Of Roaring Beasts.

There is a constant conflict between man, the machine and the road they travel on.. Always fighting for control. Each one trying to affirm control over where to gallop.

This past weekend I was at the annual SA Bike Festival along with The Motorcycle Addict and Mechanical MacGyver/Backyard Yoda, admiring great works of art and machinery as graceful and elegant and powerful as the works of Da Vinci, Picasso, Raphael and as enticing as a winter sunrise… You cannot help but stare and get lost in your own endulgement.

Unfortunately as arrangements went along I was unable to ride my own new Dusty Leafblower along, as we had not attained enough parking tickets, but Mechanical MacGyver was kind enough to allow me to ride pillion on his Bike (I am of course referring to his Honda Fireblade)

The Motorcycle Addict and myself went to witness some truly spectacular and jaw dropping stunts by stunt rider Jimmy Hill and his colleague, Alastair Sayer, later the day, and I could not help but pay my respects after the show for which Jimmy showed much admiration as he stood there sweating profusely, still calm and cool as a cucumber. You can check out a short video of the FMX show below.

The Motorcycle Addict, of course, tried out the new Honda Fireblade SP1 which took a larger chunk out of his gravity than we both expected as he seemes to float away to a nearby satellite as he danced around from sheer amazement. His direct words were “That thing has a lot of hate….”

Mechanical MacGyver also test rode the new Hyabusa and BMW R1000R, but I will let The Motorcycle Addict say a few words on that matter.

All in all I wish I could go to Kyalami every weekend.. But I imagine most bikers and even non bike riders from the weekend’s activities would agree on that. The sound of beasts riding around you passing you every few seconds is like poetry on a very dangerous scale.

Ride safe and stay tuned. And if you are living in SA and even if you are not I urge you on to keep your eyes opem for the SA Bike Festival next year, truly a bone rattling, foundation shaking experience.

Because no good story ever starts with “and then I went for a drive in my sedan.”

Bikes.. Biking… Motorcycling… Motorcyclist.. Two wheeler… Road warrior… Daredevil.. Biker… Iron horse..

But why? Why are we so crazy to get onto a two-wheeled frame while we hover over a tank of gasoline mounted “safely” above a hot moving engine? MANY times I have been told how insane that whole concept is.. Not to mention considering the inconsiderates on the roads these days (I also watched a few harrowing videos earlier tonight).. My best friend has been asked “why not drive a car? Isn’t that safer?”, and his reaction was “Why not walk to work? Isn’t that healthier?”.

And he’s not wrong!!

Why do people keep judging us? Why do you think you are safer in your car? Why do you think I even take the risk?? Because it keeps me sane, it keeps me intact, it prevents me from strangling iconsiderates at my office which I have been doing for the past few months since my bike was stolen.

I’ve learned more about life in less than a year from riding motorcycles than I’ve learned in all my days from driving, which has been since I was around 13. People do not understand the concept of why we take that leap, why we risk rain or wind to be on an iron horse…. And I can’t explain the feeling. If I tried to explain it would take me 7 paragraphs and STILL I would not be able to but the exact true emotion onto paper. It’s like being scared while excited and happy and proud and focused and energized and empowered and more.. all at the same time.

Want to know what I’m talking about? Get a bike and take a trip around town or even just to the next town. Let it entice you, invite you, excite you, grab you…. Indulge yourself and put something exciting between your legs, because no good story ever starts with “and then I went for a drive in my sedan.”

 

Ride safe, ride long, ride often and stay fierce.

Old Names, New Faces. New Scars. Some Catching Up To Do.

Yes I’m still alive. And I have a wealth of knowledge to share with our intrepid readers. (That means you guys pay attention okay?)

FIRSTLY. What happened to me? Why was I gone for so long? My bike got stolen. Now anyone who has had this experience will tell you it is possibly the worst feeling in the world. More painful than sliding on tarmac, more sense knocking than a headbang giving you a concussion, and more demoralizing than soiling yourself in public. 

What did I do? I “sold” my bike over the internet. A guy called me a few minutes after I posted the bike as being up for purchase, asked for bank details and transferred the money which did not show in my account yet but the text looked promising, another guy  (supposedly a transport service for hire like a courier) came and picked up the bike. The money never appears in my account and I never saw my bike again, which was about 3 months ago now. The supposed transport for hire company still calls me on different numbers with different names (but the voice stays the same hahaha) and they still try to get my bikes papers from me in other sneaky ways.

What can you do to avoid my half idiot mistake?

Firstly.. ever heard people say “Cash Is King”? Well if a guy wants to buy a vehicle or anything from you, tell them cash deal or no deal. And if they say “let’s do an internet transaction” you say okay fine come see the product, give them proof of who you are to give them peace of mind and let them do the transaction. When and ONLY WHEN the money shows in your account do you give them the vehicle or item or whatever the case may be.

How I bought my Suzuki was we went to go look at the bike, and when I was interested we discusses paperwork which was not on the seller’s name. Then we came to an agreement: I rake together the cash (“COLD HARD CASH IN HAND”), he sorted the paperwork, filling in all the details. Then the second time I saw the seller I gave him the cash and he signed and everything, we loaded the bike and had a nice day further.

DO NOT GIVE THE BIKE OR KEYS OR BIKE PAPERWORK WITHOUT ANY PAYMENT

 BE VIGILANT (AWARE)

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Stay safe, ride safe, stay aware and help each other out by reporting these things.

No Bikes. No Peace. No Happiness. Know Bikes. Know Peace. Know Happiness.

Riding an iron horse had taught me a lot of things. Things I maybe should have learned later in life. But when I started riding it was like God decided it was time for me to know more, seeing as a biker… no day is promised to me.

A lot of misconceptions about bikers floating around this country, this continent, this world…
It seems like one group of bikers could implant a whole train of thoughts toward bikers all over the world with one deed. We don’t all murder, extort or hustle in this world. It’s wrong of you to think we’re all cut from the same cloth, because, quoting Clay Morrow, some of us are “just mechanics and Harley enthusiasts”.

Learning to ride a motorcycle taught me a lot of things, as I’ve said. It has shown me a side of life I never knew. I have anxiety, depression, traces of PTSD and a mind that runs around like a blind dog looking for its home, but riding that 170kg-58hp-two wheeled-noisy-yellow-dodgy-crotch rocket bends my soul into a straight line and pulls me out from the shock of what most would call hell… Yet I call it home. Riding takes that hell away and replaces it with something like a vacation.

Riding has taught me to more considerate towards other people and other road users. If I rode like an ass out there, enough so that a driver becomes angry at bikers, he or she might not be so considerate towards the next biker that rides next to him or her. When you see a fellow biker on their horse and you wave at them that shows them something. You acknowledge their existence and to some that could mean the world to them.. That much I’ve learned.

What I’ve seen while riding a bike? Life in slow motion at a Devils pace. If you think we barely see anything while on a bike, you’re wrong. When you ride, you look around more, you observe life at a fraction of a second because God knows not all of us have the guarantee of making it around the next bend. Like a guy who’s scared of the mob, you take it all in, as much as you can and you appreciate more of the beauty in life because you have seen beauty in a pure form on two wheels, and you know it could be taken right out from underneath you at any given moment.

This I have learned from riding an iron horse, and I’m still learning. Since riding I think clearer, I appreciate life every day more and more, I’m safer on the road, more alert, more compassionate, even more open-minded, I forgive often, I love truly and I take my life a quarter-mile at a time.

Riding isn’t a given. It’s a lifestyle, a choice, a calling, a life lesson, a life decision, a teacher.

Ride safe, but park often to appreciate your horse and the life around you.

Drive to the edge of the world and you will find happiness. Walk five more miles and you will find serenity.

Finally I have made the decision to try to explain what riding an iron horse feels like, so pull up your comfy chair and perk your ears mates.

Recently my bike was stolen, my 125cc Honda CBF. Now it may not have been much, being such a small horse, but it was the entry point to life’s own miracle drug. That bike was my gateway to serenity, peace, unity and a feeling of belonging.

Many a biker have told me their version of what their bike does for them, how it helps them break away from the past and catapults you into your own skin 5 minutes from now to the right past the green light you’re still aiming for. It all boils down to this: No matter what your thoughts are, your state of mind, your worries, your stresses, discomforts, quarrels, heartaches, headaches or even regrets… When you get on your horse, you feel the tension building, your heart maybe even beats slower as your finger aims for choke,you pull the lever, your thumb and index turn the key, you grip the throttle and you hit that ignition button. Suddenly the roar from the exhaust deafens everything…. You can’t hear your problems no matter how loud they scream, so your turn down the choke and you kick her into 1st, on pull away your insecurities try holding on but they lose their grip, suddenly after a few seconds you stop at an intersection to turn so your past comes running and yelling “Hey! Don’t forget about me!”, but you leave that aggravation at the bus stop along with the rest of your stresses and discomforts.

Shifting through gears, you become more and more focused. Not on the world and troubles around you, but solely on the machine between your legs, the seat beneath your ass, and the noise you make coming out of a sweet corner.

See… Riding a motorcycle, an iron horse, a crotch rocket, a hog or a scooter isn’t just something you get up and do. When you walk up to your bike and you lay your hand down on that petrol tank, you feel a deeper connection than just another person with a car they use to get to work and back. Riding a bike is like trust. You trust that whatever happens to you is out of your control and that you may never fully be in control. Once you accept this, wearing stripes with plaid comes so much easier, don’t you think?

Now to actually answer the question straight-forward. Imagine a bear holding a machine-gun while surfing a shark in a tsunami. Actually it’s simpler than that..

Picture yourself jumping out of an airplane with a parachute some guy told you “should be fine” (not comparing a bike to a “should be fine” parachute). Now when you jump out of the airplane that’s when you pull away with your bike, at this stage you still have some time to make your decisions about how to land right? Just like how you still have time to safely stop your bike and even park it or plan a different route. After a few minutes you have past a point where you have sufficient time to get a solution if your parachute is faulty, this is where it’s a gamble because your parachute may or may not open, just like at 150km/h anything can happen and just like I said you are never fully in control.

So basically what I’m trying to say is riding a bike feels like physically riding a life decision.. Once you get on that horse for 2 minutes or 2 hours anything can happen and you have to live with the life decision you made. Saving 67% on your fuel each month? You get to live with the decision of mounting your bike and making that happen. Too many people try to tell us why we shouldn’t ride motorcycles, well the actual question is “Why isn’t there already one parked in your garage?”

Well that is my opinion. Get on with happiness, ride with peace, corner with serenity, park with respect. Enjoy.

When you can still hear your demons, drop a gear and dissappear.

“Why do you ride a bike?”
“Don’t you think it might be safer to drive a car instead?”

Two of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked are stated above. But then again….those questions still stand. So today I will be answering them for you based on personal experiences and some stories I’ve heard from other bikers..
But there is no easy answer, even if it sounds simple.

Why do we ride? Well many have stated the answer to this in different terms, but it all comes to this: “When you can still hear your demons, drop a gear and disappear.”
A lot of us have a lot of problems. Pain, worries, aggravating circumstances and the like.. But personally speaking as a man with all of those, getting on an iron horse takes it all away in a split second. Most days I rush, scream, shout, rant and rave and sweat through my day. But when I get on that horse I take my life a quarter-mile at a time, letting go of my fears and tears… Tearing the breach between being apprehensive and accepting what you cannot change. That’s what it’s all about for me.

Now, other bikers told something else that keeps recurring from biker to biker (not just men*). As can be easily put in those memes going around, your bike won’t one-day suddenly tell you it doesn’t love you. A bike doesn’t care who you are, what you are, how beautiful you are, how sexy you are, what you can or can not do. Bikes don’t accept us nor do they reject us, for they are only machines. But when you turn that key and they roar awakens, you breathe life into it, and at the same time it breathes life into you as well.

Most people ride to get rid of anger, frustration, sadness or just to get away. And some people think we ride for the miles per gallon when in fact that is just a bonus. For we ride for the smiles per gallon, but personally I ride for the sanity per gallon.

When you ride and a fellow biker throws a hand signal at you or nods their head? That is universal acceptance, that is brotherhood, that… Is Sisterhood. If you’ve gone down a road and a biker passing by acknowledges your existence, you understand. That biker doesn’t know what you look like, who you are, what your race is or even your sexual orientation, you are acknowledged either way.

People…. “Non-bikers”.. They don’t yet understand, and there is no sure way to explain to them in a defining way why we ride. Best thing they can do to understand is take a ride themselves.

Peace, love and safety befall you all. Ride properly, show respect and be safe. Enjoy.

Armored Prayer – Looking for a New Steed/your first

There are several things that contribute to the selection of a new steed. Some factors include how fast you wish to fly, how stylish you’d like to be, how “classic” you’d like to be, how brutal, or simply just how practical. Other factors include your size and even your weight, so if you weigh a buck-20 it’s not advisable you get a 1000cc Fireblade that had been pushed to the point where even the devil goes “oh HELL NO!”

Before it was stolen, I rode a 125cc CBF Honda, which was very practical and even fuel efficient given my weight.. I got around 39km/l off a tank over short distances, making if an excellent commuter. I would advise a 250 and up for a little more “umph”, but a 125 is a great size to start learning how to do most that a bike does (except quick shift).

Personally I feel a cruiser is more for a man of my size. It had enough aggressiveness for it’s engine capacity (looking at a 400cc) and it had enough get-go for my daily run around. Some riders prefer a crotch rocket or a sport bike, but everyone has their own taste.

But how does one “select” a bike? In fact, you do NOT, it selects YOU, if you listen hard enough. When you walk around a dealership, you feel the energy in the air, the feeling of affection and the faint whisper of a steed grabbing at your very soul, calling you to be its rider (yes, bikers are horse whisperers). And then when you hear it and you mount this steed that whispered, you feel a powerful sensation and a feeling of peace at the same time..

From personal experience, do not just pick a bike for its looks or even its sound. uppet from my office bought a souped up corn eater (Polo) thinking it’s the shiz because well…. “Hey it’s a Polo!” turns out it leaks oil, the starter is nearly shot, battery came from Noah’s Ark, bunch of unknown cables that are disconnected in the engine compartment yet it still runs somehow. Point is (as I’ve said in my previous post) if it’s a 1000cc and it’s going for 15000, it might now be a bargain. Always follow your heart and check your buy, and take a biker-friend along who knows a thing or two about a thing or three.

May your steed call for you swiftly so that you may ride as the wind, and always be magnanimous.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Roar

In many ways, attaining a motorcycle could be one of the best decisions of your entire life. It is more than a bumper sticker, a phase, a feeling.. It is a calling, something only some hear, and fewer dare to answer. From personal experience, riding a bike can have amazing effects, such as stress and anxiety reduction, mood improvement, cleansing of the mind, and sudden feeling of awesomeness. Once the “bug” (as they call it) bites you, you’re hooked. This experience is like being splashed with cold water when you least expect it. Some experience this when they watch an incredible horse (or rider) for the first time, or it feels like the first time.. And at that moment the adventure-seeking adrenaline hungry part of your brain goes “I wanna do that”. Another way, which I experienced, is by riding passenger on a bike powerful enough to set alight the fire in your very soul. My experience was riding passenger on a 1000cc Honda Fireblade, which was the first time ever that I rode an iron horse.

Learning to ride may be easy..
But for some, earning respect for your horse comes at a price. If you do not respect the machine, it will buck you off like a wild stallion.

First thing to get used to may be the weight of the bike while your confidence builds. At first you may struggle to make some of the simplest turns, but after a while you will be so confident and you will know your bike weight so well you will start turning almost like Rossi (from experience, this is not recommended.. Trust me)
Secondly all together to get used to may be the throttle, clutch gears. A few things to look out for: trying to pull away in second gear….uphill (make sure you gear down as you come to the stop to avoid this), trying to get to first from neutral in a still standing position (best solution would be to release clutch and then pull, then try for 1st gear again), grinding gears (one reason could be because you release the clutch before you have completely selected your gear), The bike gives a violent jerk (after selecting a gear, slowly open your throttle to avoid this scare)

Last few things I wish to mention:
Function over form. Another way to explain would be dress for a fall, not for a photo shoot.

Don’t be a maniac. Ride properly and keep respect for your horse or else your family might have to pick up the pieces, and then they also have pick up pieces of the bike (understand what I’m saying?).

Just because a bike is beautiful and spotless doesn’t mean it’s a bargain when it’s going for 15000. Check your buy or take a biker-friend along who knows a thing or two.

Nod at your fellow bikers riding by, spread the love

“Riding a motorcycle is like chicken soup for the soul. It’s more than a phase, it’s a lifestyle.”