Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Calendar, Balloons and Fire

So although I, disappointingly, haven't met my personal goal of posting a blog a week, I'm nevertheless happy to announce that my motorcycle books have arrived.  And though Jim Bennett's book graced my mailbox first, the narrow pages and matte-finish cover of Sonny Barger's book invite the touch of my hands.  Barger's book is 260 pages and divided into seven sections.  My plan is to finish reading it by the end of March.  That means I have to read, starting tomorrow, approximately 8 pages a day or about 1.5 sections a week.  I've selected a purple, Papermate pen as my reading companion.

Though frequency of my blog entries could best be described (thus far) as minimal, my experience of motorcycles in the past couple of weeks has spanned several venues.  At the beginning of the year, my mother gave me a motorcycle calendar.  Each month features either general historical information or specific information on a particular line of bikes.  One interesting fact I learned is that the Indian 101 Scout model was highly popular with stunt riders in the early 1930s and was often used on the "wall of death," a "silodrome" that motorcyclists would climb horizontally to the floor after they'd gained enough speed.  Indeed, an interesting feat, but not one I have any intention of attempting.

I re-watched the film Danny Deckchair, which is about an average guy - too average by his girlfriend's standards - who travels from one town to another after tying a deck chair to several gigantic helium-filled balloons.  In the town where he crash lands, the citizens welcome his strange, fun and uplifting ideas and see him as better than average.  A turning point in the film is when one of the citizens, a female parking officer, and Danny escape daily routine and take off on her dad's old motorcycle.  The soundtrack's lyrics for this scene happily promote the idea of "getting lost," and Danny and the officer are brought closer together as they ride their way into the sunny day.  This picture of motorcycling is much more appealing to me than that of the silodrome.  

The most interesting encounter with motorcycles of late happened while reading Stieg Larrson's Girl Who Played with Fire.  In it, one of the main characters, Lisbeth Salander, a small but feisty woman, fights off two antagonists and then rides away on one of their Harley-Davidsons.  The novel describes how difficult it was for Lisbeth to get a handle of the large bike and later how sad it was for her to leave it behind.  Now with the exception of height, Lisbeth and I are not too different in size, and  as I was reading about her initial struggle with the motorcycle, I had visions of a similar experience when I start riding later this year.  This resulted in some serious consideration of joining a gym.  As Barger says in his introduction, "I take good care of myself. [...] I exercise every day [...] I do this not because I'm afraid of dying.  I do it because the longer I say healthy, the longer I can ride motorcycles" (1).

Work Cited

Barger, Sonny.  Let's Ride: Sonny Barger's Guide to Motorcycling.  New York: HarperCollins, 2010.

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