Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Zen & the art of biking...

One of the nicer aspects of the chunky and primitive engineering of Harleys is that it is a bit easier for the ham-fisted amateur to work on them than hi-tech Japanese technology.

But precisely because I am that ham-fisted amateur, I thought it worth getting the bike shop to do a thorough 10,000 mile service if for no other reason than to get everything checked out.

I picked my bike up at the weekend but didn’t really have a chance to feel the benefit of it on my short run to work until yesterday when I took it for a late night spin around Epping Forest.

If you don’t ride than you’ll probably have no idea what I am talking about, but there is something very special about riding through the woods in the dark when everything feels just right: No body else around, just the smell of the trees and the purring of the engine. I first had the feeling as a kid when I rode my moped in the dark through Windsor Great Park, and every now and then it comes back to remind me just what it's all really about.

If I haven’t lost you already, then I probably will now by quoting Steve Earle’s ‘The Other Kind.’ Like the sticker that I once saw on a bike said; 'if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand:’

"I woke up this morning and I took a look around at all that I got
These days I've been lookin' in the mirror and wondering if that's me lookin' back or not
I'm still the apple of my mama's eye
I'm my daddy's worst fears realized
Here of late all this real estate don't seem all that real to me sometimes

I'm back out on that road again
Turn this beast into the wind
There are those that break and bend
I'm the other kind, I'm the other kind

Now my old buddy, what's his name, says, "Man what the hell are you thinkin' 'bout
You got two of everything, but you hang your head like you was down and out"
And I'm damn sure not suffering from a lack of love
There's plenty more where that came from
But leave it up to me to say something wrong and hurt someone before I'm done

You see it used to be I was really free
I didn't need no gasoline to run
Before you could say Jack Kerouac you'd turn your back and I'd be gone
Yeah nowadays I got me two good wheels and I seek refuge in aluminum and steel
It takes me out there for just a little while
And the years fall away with every mile'


Anonymous said...

Purring of the engine?!? I doubt the Epping Forest wildlife has recovered yet . . .

journeyman said...

My not quite legal exhaust is a lot less anti social than any wasp in a jam jar two-stroke !
Loud pipes save lives.