Tag Archive: Rides

More Alike

The article “More Alike” by Bud Miller/Zen Motorcyclist was originally published on the “RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel” magazine website on 3/27/17.

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” —”Human Family” by Maya Angelou

There are times when the deadline to finish this chronicle sneaks up on me. I am by nature a procrastinator and work better under pressure. As it happens, I’m writing this one from a hospital waiting room as my mother undergoes a biopsy. She’s been in remission for 16 years now but her doctor recently discovered a mass that has us all concerned. I, of course, rode the motorcycle here.

My mother has been an example to me that being kind and compassionate is more important than being right. She, more than any other person in my life, is the reason I am so concerned with riding safely; so that the woman who taught me love and kindness never need hear that I’ve been injured. I have no interest whatsoever in causing her pain.

I’ve taken a bit of a step back from social media of late and feel relieved to have done so. Kindness, at least online, seems to have taken a back seat to contention, argument, judgment, and sadly, the reposting of fake news. It’s something I see and hear little of among the motorcycle community, at least those I ride and trade emails with. The previous RoadRUNNER Touring Weekend was completely devoid of that kind of tension, even in the midst of a politically polarized year. Motorcyclists usually leave such things at home and simply enjoy each other’s company.

We tend to lean toward the good, toward positivity and open-mindedness. Whether that is true of all motorcyclists or just true of those I call friends is of little consequence. The important and lasting thing is that the vehicle itself, and its transformative nature, seems to promote positivity rather than the negativity it can be so easy to fall victim to. When in each other’s company, we discuss our children, our spouses or significant others, our travels, our trials, our griefs, and joys, and not our political or religious affiliations or our resentments and social grievances.

So, as I sit here and wait to talk to my mother’s doctor, the silliness of carrying around angst of any kind seems to melt away much as it does when riding. My only concern today, right now, is smiling toward and sharing a kind word with others in the waiting room. Sometimes hardness hides hurt; sometimes we’re just so guarded we need the other person to smile first, and I kind of like being that person.

I have a friend, Quinn, who I’ve seen disarm complete strangers with kind compliments and a wide smile. It’s funny how such small gestures can lighten someone’s load and bring them joy. I’ve seen her do it on several occasions. That Quinn is 10 years old serves as a lesson to me that our perceived differences are learned; we aren’t born with them. We could all stand to be a bit more like her, a bit more concerned with smiles and seeing commonality than in identifying difference.

I’ve always disliked labels; they are an all too easy way to define someone, and too often we allow them to stop us from connecting with others. Everyone has a mother and no one wants to sit where I’m sitting now, having just sent her, fearful and fragile, to undergo a procedure with such hateful potential. As sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, we all share the desire for our loved ones to be home, healthy and happy. As motorcyclists, we just want to share the road and the experience with each other. We’re lucky—we have the bike as a commonality. I can’t help but think though that it shouldn’t take a sport to connect with people whom we may not otherwise agree with ideologically. Maya Angelou’s “Human Family” says what motorcyclists, in my experience, feel and exhibit innately. “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

When I see mom in recovery I’m going to read it to her. She’ll love it, because she lives it, and is the kindest person I will ever know. Ride safe, my friends.

 

Better Shared

The article “Better Shared” by Bud Miller/Zen Motorcyclist was originally published on the “RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel” magazine website on 1/30/17.

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. —Mark Twain

 

As I sit down to write this, summer is over and we’re well into autumn. I try to ride all year here in eastern Pennsylvania, but from late fall until spring I have very little company on the road. Fall is a time when, on solo rides, you recall the trips of the past year. Today I was thinking about riding at the RoadRUNNER Touring Weekend this past August, and of one route in particular.

It had been a while since I’d attended the Touring Weekend and I was happy to be back helping out, meeting new people, and catching up with Christa, Florian, and the rest of the staff. I loved the journey across my home state to Bolivar, PA, although it was smoldering hot with temperatures near 100. No matter, I had four days to do nothing but ride, have fun, and talk motorcycles.

On the second day of the event I had the opportunity to ride with Yuval Naveh, who writes RoadRUNNER’s “Motorcyclist’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. Yuval is a software engineer, avid rider, and friend to everyone he meets. We were also roommates for the duration of the weekend. On this particular day we ended up in a group with three other riders and the five of us set off in the blazing sun to do the Flight 93 memorial tour. If you’ve visited the memorial in Shanksville, PA, I’m sure you found it as moving as I did. I didn’t expect to be as affected as I was; but walking on the path the plane took and reaching the viewing platform I was struck by the beauty of the place. It was hillier than I had imagined, breezy, and beautiful. I could smell summer in the air, and the wildflower scent carried on the wind.

That such obscene and inhumane ugliness could happen in such a place really affected me and I felt nothing but sadness. I heard my friend Yuval say quietly, “beautiful, very respectful,” and we spoke about the tragedy that took place there as well as others he had lived through in his native Israel, where, sadly, such things had happened more often.

 

Out on that platform overlooking the crash site I had a sense that everyone felt a similar sadness and so the smiles among strangers came easily. Everyone spoke softly, respectfully, conscious that this was a place to share and process grief for people none of us had known but whom we nonetheless hurt for. Sometimes just being in the presence of others feeling the same confusing rush of emotions is a great comfort. That’s certainly how it was for me.

When we rolled out on that bright, cloudless day, I was happy to be with our group but also thankful to have the silence inside my helmet for a while to make the transition from sadness back to the joy of the ride. I was glad to have visited the memorial and rode away moved but grateful for the day, the weather, the trip, that evening’s dinner with new friends. I felt eager to experience whatever came my way. Visiting a scene of such tragedy has a way of inviting joy, or at least making you appreciate life in a way few other things can.

A few hours later we passed an idyllic, calm lake, so we stopped for a break. It didn’t take long for us to agree that a swim was in order, so (with consent from our female companion whom we didn’t wish to offend) we stripped down and jumped in to cool off, scaring away a pair of fishermen in the process. After a few photos and some time to dry off we hit the road again.

Miles later and with a storm closing in on us, our GPS systems failed one by one. One failed to charge and the others routed us in circles. As the storm engulfed us we took refuge under a bridge for the 10 minutes it took to pass and for the sun to return. Then we were off again to find our way back home. What made this ride memorable was the range of situations and emotions the five of us (who for the most part had never met each other until that day) experienced together. We went from the excited anticipation of a day of riding, to sadness at the memorial, to quiet reflection, to the childlike joy of jumping into a lake, to getting lost and caught in a storm.

The ride reminded me of why we do this; why we ride firstly and why we seek out others to ride with secondly. It occurred to me that two things are most certainly better when shared: sadness and joy. One is to be divided, and the other to be multiplied.

 

You can never prepare for what may come your way during any ride, but that’s part of the fun. On some you find out more about yourself, on others more about those you’re riding with. Mr. Twain was right, but his sentiment can be extended. Whatever you experience in life, be it sadness or joy, is always better when shared.

 

William Shatner Cross Country Ride

ICON WILLIAM SHATNER PARTNERS WITH AMERICAN WRENCH TO CREATE THE RIVET MOTORCYCLE FOR A CROSS-COUNTRY RIDE
TO BENEFIT THE AMERICAN LEGION

8-Day Ride Set To Kick Off From American Wrench Shop On June 23rd

Rivet Warehouse

William Shatner(June 1st, 2015 – New York, NY) The legendary Hollywood icon that captained the Starship Enterprise for over 30 years, William Shatner, is teaming up with American Wrench to create the first-of-its-kind Rivet motorcycle. In conjunction with the release of Rivet, Shatner will be riding across the country to showcase the machine on the open road. The ride will kick off on June 23rd from the American Wrench shop just outside of Chicago. “The Ride” will be an 8-day journey showcasing Rivet in various cities across the United States and will be following the legendary Route 66 for most of the trek.

Accompanying Shatner on the ride will be some of the team from American Wrench and members of The American Legion Riders. Shatner will be meeting with Legion members along the route to raise awareness for the work The American Legion does nationwide. The journey will be making stops in St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Las Vegas before wrapping up in Los Angeles on June 30th.

I am taking another step into the unknown!” said Shatner. “A phenomenal bike made by American Wrench and a 2,400 mile journey, where the road holds the big mystery.”

“The Ride”

The Ride MapThe machine, straight from the creative brain of Shatner alongside American Wrench owner/designer Kevin Sirotek, is the ultimate landjet and unlike anything the world has seen before. A video describing what Rivet is can be seen here.

Having this unique opportunity to design and build a custom machine for William Shatner, we knew it had to be nothing short of amazing,” explains Sirotek. “Our vision with Rivet is simple, to give the most thrilling motor experience possible.”

The journey will also be documented for an upcoming television show. The show will follow Shatner and company on their voyage through each city and traveling along the route. There will be opportunities in each city for people to come out and see the Rivet in person and meet Shatner and the riders. More information on this will be available in the future at American Wrench and Rivet Motors. Fans can follow Shatner @WilliamShatner and Rivet Motors @RivetMotors for up to date announcements.

For more information on American Wrench or “The Ride,” please contact:

Kevin Chiaramonte / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116
Paul Freundlich / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116

About American Wrench

American Wrench, a division of IAE (Illinois Auto Electric Co) is located outside of Chicago. IAE was founded in 1915 by Joseph Sirotek (Kevin Sirotek’s great grandfather) and today it is owned and operated by the Sirotek family. American Wrench has been at the cutting edge of building custom motorcycles, specializing in design innovation and high-performance machines. For decades, they have been committed to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Horsepower.

About Rivet Motors

Rivet Motors was born out of the desire and passion to build machines, which like those who ride them, have command, presence and personality. The goal is to rival the experience a driver would get from any vehicle on the street. Without a formidable machine in the marketplace that provides this experience that William Shatner desired, he partnered with American Wrench and set out to design and develop something that would not just meet his expectations, but blow the minds of everyone who sees, pilots or experiences it. The machine, RIVET, will deliver an experience that rivals the refinements and power of a fine automobile, but does not compromise the raw sensory feedback and grit of a motorcycle on the open road.

About The American Legion

The nation’s largest wartime veteran organization, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veteran care and rehabilitation, Americanism and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation. www.Legion.org

The RideAmerican_WrenchRivet

Changing Face of Harley Davidson

Harley-davidsonThe changing face of the Harley Davidson – from rebellion to museums

The Harley Davidson has been living a bit of an odd period in its life lately, with the brand’s 110th anniversary recently seeing it blessed by the Pope at a special celebration in Rome. It’s an interesting turn for a company once seen as being synonymous with rebellion and shifting attitudes.

It was once the case that (more…)

Coastal Cruises (sponsored post)

Five coastal cruises that will leave you breathless

Some can say there’s no better feeling than rumbling down the road on a motorcycle, wind in your hair, sun on your face, with miles of road stretching out in front of you. Actually there is one thing that could top all of that: discovering the country’s ocean-side views while tearing down the road, wind in your hair and sun on your face. But with thousands of miles of coastline it can be hard to make an actual decision. The five routes below are some of the top coastal cruises the States have to offer and are sure to provide the eager motorcyclist with an exhilarating and picturesque ride.

img1Coastal Highway 1: This meandering stretch from Kittery to Bucksport, Maine is the oldest highway on the east coast. In addition to being in the heart of lobster-country, the route is populated with quaint towns, antique shops, seafood and lobster shanties, more than 50 lighthouses, and crosses nearly 50 peninsulas. Coastal Highway 1 is by no means a one-way road; it connects to a plethora of nearby scenic routes as well as a ferry (more…)

Staying Alert On Familiar Ground

Staying-Alert2-400x400The article “The Road Often Traveled: Staying Alert on Familiar Ground” by Bud Miller was originally published on the “RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel” magazine website on 4/01/2012.

My commute is 40-45 miles one way, which is about an hour on a good day. I’m fortunate in that the ride is varied in terms of terrain and traffic, with a mix of country roads, highways, and some city riding. I’ve ridden it so many times that I’ve taken to naming different parts of the ride to help me focus and stay alert when the conditions require it.

The first part I call “Deer Park.” It’s ten miles of twisty two-lane country road with no shoulder and few homes – and it’s crawling with deer. I was hit by one a few years back, which in and of itself is enough to keep me focused. Over the years, I’ve learned where the deer cross each day, and to be extra careful during the rut (mating season).

I refer to the second section as “Indy” (after the race). It’s a ten-mile stretch of four-lane highway bypass with tons of merging traffic. It starts with two lanes and then splits into four. A few miles later the four lanes merge back into two and the speed limit drops from 65 to 45, ending at a stoplight. So it’s a bit of drag strip during the morning commute.

“Bagel Alley” is a two-lane road with strip malls, gas stations and convenience stores on both sides. In the morning it’s a blur of merging and left turning traffic. Everyone is trying to gas up and get their morning coffee and still make it to work on time. I believe one of the doughnut shops is the morning meeting place for P.A.T.S. (Pennsylvanians for the Abolition of Turn Signals) because I almost never see them used. Apparently they all call or text each other as they arrive too, because it seems like every car on the road is driven by someone operating a cell phone, which is still legal here in Pennsylvania.

It might seem silly, but naming the parts of the ride reminds me that certain sections of my commute have particular concerns. This helps focus my attention as I approach each one, and I think that has kept me safer, and somewhat entertained over the years. If you ride the same route enough times your focus tends to slip. This is just one way I try to prevent that from happening.

Learning As You Go

Learning-as-you-GoThe article “Learning As You Go” by Bud Miller was originally published on the “RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel” magazine website on 7/07/2013.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to write sometimes. When that happens, I remember what Ernest Hemingway said to get started—write one true sentence. Well, here goes: Life is a lot like motorcycling. I know, I know, I’ve never started a post that way before… but bear with me. Remember your first days? You start out full of excitement and trepidation, eager to take on the world, too naive to see the pitfalls in the road ahead; carrying too much speed all the time, and trying to lean, muscle, and brake your way through every situation to compensate for your lack of skill and knowledge.

You gain experience as you go, scooping handfuls of memories from the roadside as fast you can before reaching out for more. You swallow sunshine along with gulps of wind, breathe fire, and sometimes when you stop to look back years later, you can’t imagine how you had time enough to squeeze it all in.

I’ve experienced a lot over the last 2 years, 4 months, and 24 days. I can flip through the memories of that period in every intoxicating detail at a moments notice (and often do). If you do the math backwards the starting date is significant to only one other person on the planet; but I mark that period as the most deep, joyous, and spiritual time of my entire life.

Remembering the well-spring of your joy goes a long way toward ensuring its growth but that alone isn’t enough, you have to keep expanding your skill set and growing. Experience builds like a relationship does, through care, repetition, attention to detail, applying what you’ve learned, becoming better for it and progressing forward, and wanting, always, to do it well even if you are learning as you go.

Sometimes though, you stumble; you forget the lessons your time on the road taught you; forget to look far enough ahead and to know what to look out for; forget to plan the next move and through either lack of foresight or indecision you might pay, and pay dearly. Some lessons you learn the first time; but some mistakes you never make because you’re careful and hold what really matters clutched close to your heart like a secret you’d die to protect.

I encourage everyone to continue learning, growing, progressing, correcting for inexperience, youth, or simply not having been down certain paths before. Admit your mistakes and always keep the prize in sight. What’s the prize? The prize, in motorcycling and in life, is the joy of the ride and having gone from there and arrived here, with something worth celebrating and remembering.