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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

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Monday, 27 May 2013 22:53

Ride Featured

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Ride Public Domain: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5892&picture=motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle on old highways insists on danger. Deal with potholes, loose gravel, and patchwork asphalt splotches. Roads covered with fluids that trucks leak like open sieves. From shadowy trees, animals dart across the road constantly, but that's almost a good thing because it keeps you paying attention. But if you hit a deer in a car at 70, you are going to have a problem. And that's not including trying to track down and put that poor beast out of its misery with a dull pocket knife while it kicks two broken, but functioning, legs at you.

On two wheels, an animal is a demon dry fucking you. They can fling you around, spin you, tip you, slide you, throw you. They can do a number of awful things to you. It's still a million times safer than driving in traffic, though. Here, you are in control of how you react to a situation. In a city, you are a victim waiting for a criminal to rear-end, t-bone, crush, or sideswipe you. And those are the accidents. Think of the cocksucker who opens his door as you pass him, just because 'hey fuck you motorcycle'.

People are scarier than any wet, oil coated, potholed night road.

The corners are fine and dandy as long as you watch the road for these changes in color that signal disaster. Dark means wet, light means gravel, and red means somebody already took out one deer, so watch out for that next one. Blood is sticky, though, so even fresh blood is okay.

A slight rain-shower will lift the oil off the road and create a film of slickness more dangerous than any thunder shower. Heavy rain washes away the sins of the road. The world, too, needs baptized at times.

Nothing beats pushing into a curve 20 miles an hour faster than the suggested and flying out doing an extra 30 miles an hour. The blood flows when coming out of a 45mph corner doing 75, and watching for loose gravel, oil slicks, deer and elk and moose, and the occasional corner-cutting car the whole time.

When a truck hits a motorcycle, there isn't much to do. The safety helmet nothing more than a crunchy candy shell. EMTs hauling the body-bag around the back of the truck, walking down the 30 feet of logs, to pick up the hips and one leg to put them in with the top half of the body. The other leg, well, what can you do? It is gone.

It's the old timers that get hit the most often, though. Who knows why? It could be that going out on your bike is the best way to leave the world, and there's not greater guarantee of it than to leap out in-front of a fully loaded logging truck that couldn't hardly slow down for 100 yards, let alone stop on a dime.

Like death by cop, where the criminal runs out with guns drawn only to be shot down without firing a shot, this is where a broken rider goes to die. A ritual so brutal that everyone is scarred by it. Even the road stays stays stained by sin until the next heavenly baptism.

But leaning into a corner, feeling the heel of your foot just kiss the rushing ground, opening the throttle to pull you out of a corner, it's magic.

People who don't believe in God don't ride bikes. It's easy to be an atheist when you're not barreling down a dark, unknown road filled with deer and coyotes and dark spots of asphalt that might be oil slicks, wet leaves, or potholes. The trees look like natural cathedrals reaching up into a cloudy sky with a broken moon trying to give a little light. And when you hit 90 and that shake starts rattling your taint just right, and the tires bite into the hard ground, you feel a connection to something outside yourself. I don't give a sweaty flying fuck if that connection is to the bike or to god or to some source of all energy, but that feeling is there. You are part of something outside yourself - something that is deeply inside you that reaches out. That's religion. Everything else is just sore knees in a church.

You trust that machine exactly as much as you trust yourself right then. If your faith falters, then you're not going to make that tight right hand turn with enough counter-steering and leaning. You're going into the other lane of traffic, and fuck you if there's a truck barreling down on you. Or that long, late arching left that seems to beckon you over to the soft edge of the road and off a fifty foot drop into pure fucking darkness. The magic is there and if a person doesn't feel it right then, they probably best just pull the gun off the mantel from the first act and get to the third already.

A desperado. Desperate. I'm leaning into the turns with the throttle full open. One of these turns has to be the right one.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:40
Bryan Howie

Bryan Howie always wanted to be either Batman or a writer.  Since he doesn't have the legs for tights, he started writing.  He now lives in the American Inland Northwest, where he has been searching for a muse to amuse in the trees and rivers. He loves photography and motorcycle riding, but has a hard time doing both simultaneously.

His short story "Your Mother's Smile" was featured in Volume 6 of The Best of Carve Magazine.  More of his work can be found at Solarcide.com and Redfez.net. 

Website: bryanhowie.com

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