My favorite love affair

So finally! I got on my Harley today since it was well into the 50’s. Hard to imagine since it was only this morning that I was skidding on ice patches going to school. The love affair between me and my bike is something I’m not sure I can do without. It was my second deployment and I was contemplating how I was going to treat myself when I returned. I thought of getting a new truck or maybe paying for more ballroom dance lessons. Then a part of me starting looking at street bikes. They look cool and all and go pretty fast but the cost to quality ratio is horrible in my opinion. The overseas sales program had a fairly decent lineup of Harleys for sale so I gave it a closer look. I never thought I would actually own a Harley simply because the cost is seemingly outrageous. I looked at the V-Rod model as well as some sportsters. It was hard to visualize what I would actually enjoy owning. A good friend of mine suggested I take a look at the Street Bob. For some reason I had passed over it before because when I saw it I fell in love. It was a simple design, decent price and customizable just the way I like it.

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We were stationed at a base about a twenty minutes (by Blackhawk) from Mosul, Iraq. Luckily we had the Internet so I spent countless days researching options, reading reviews and coordinating my finances. My love affair had started as if it were some online dating service. I finally worked up the courage to take a trip down south to Tikrit where they had an office for the overseas purchase program. I was shown what was available for purchase and would soon be introduced to a vin number that would soon be all mine. Wanting it to be specifically mine, I asked to have some custom handlebars put on along with a few smaller additions. I even had LoJack installed alongside the security system. Pretty cool setup really. I put ten thousand down on it and it was officially mine.

Over the next six or so months I spent my days and nights fantasizing about my new love. Her name would be… Amanda. Others would spend time on the Internet chatting with loved ones, or browsing dating sites for a good time when they got back. I however was thinking of Amanda. Where I would take her, who I would show her to, who would get to ride her. This moment in time would be all about me. I sacrificed enough for a cause I may or may not agree with. No one else was going to do for me what I really needed so this inanimate object would be one of the few things that makes me come alive.

Upon returning to the states, the only thing I could think about was meeting her. After a few days of reintegration briefings and a few delays at the local dealership, the day finally came. She was everything I had hoped for. Plastic film was still attached from the assembly line and the minor customizations made her like nothing else I’ve seen. Much more was to be done, but it due time. The first ride around the block was a bit nerve wracking. A 1584 cc motor has quite a bit more torque than one may experience from smaller bikes. After getting comfortable, I signed a few papers and I was off and running.

To date I put 25,000 miles on her. A new exhaust, air filter, computer and aesthetic accessories are about the extent of changes that I’ve made so far. Something I forget about during these long winters is what this thing has done for my soul. It’s not so much the materialistic aspect of it, but of what it has created in my life. There is a brotherhood of riders that often go underestimated. I’m not a member of any particular club but I have ridden with and remain friends with people from all walks of motorcycling life. Some are bad ass mofos that have had my back during some sketchy situations, and some are truly amazing people simply because they understand that being a true motorcycle rider takes a certain breed of character. Misfits and wannabes aside, the hidden treasure of this brotherhood is just what a person like me needs at times.

That being said, my recent decision to sell my bike may have to be rescinded. I wasn’t offering it for sale due to desperation. It’s paid off and I don’t have a reason otherwise to get rid of it aside from having less stuff to take with me when I leave this place I’m in now. Though my ride today was short and less than high speed as usual, a part of me started to come alive again. Everything I’ve worked for in the past decade of my life can be summed up by the indescribable feeling I get when I wrap on the throttle and take off losing just enough grip on the road to remind me what I’m in control of. The looks I receive from others is a funny little bonus as well. Presumptuous I know, but when I see a man and a women driving by, a lot of times the woman is staring, almost in a trance. I wonder to myself if she has a desire for freedom that I have. I know that when men stare, that is exactly what they think! (Mostly…:) ). Sometimes I’ll simply smile to myself when I’m on the road remembering anything from my trips from motorcycle rallies, to rides with {insert deviant motorcycle club name here} and even the entire process of how the love affair started. Everything in between as well. Some things will remain between me and her.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me and I may end up in a position where the best decision will be to get rid of the bike. What I’m learning now though, is that if I give it up, it better be for something damn good. Not because it needs to replace this mechanical object, but because whatever it is needs to be able to give me a life that I can enjoy. If we can’t find a happy place for ourselves, how can we expect to be a part of anyone else’s happy place?

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5 comments on “My favorite love affair

  1. What an enjoyable post. I sincerely hope you never have to, or want to, give up Amanda. Big hug and smile to you!

      • You’re welcome. Maybe someday you can take Amanda on the road and write about your journey. You certainly have a gift for it.

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