Three years on two wheels
It’s been three years since I fulfilled one of the items on my “bucket list.” I had always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle.
My parents were opposed to it when I was young, and, after I left home and got married, the money was too tight to think about it.
So, at the age of 59, having never ridden a motorcycle, I signed up for the rider’s course at Great South Harley-Davidson and, at the end of the course, had my motorcycle license.
Since that time I have logged about 35,000 miles on two wheels. For the first couple of months, I was very tentative and stayed within a few miles of home but, after gaining some confidence and a smidgen of ability, I hit the road.
I have made solo trips to Orlando, Virginia, South Carolina, Daytona Beach, Tennessee, Alabama and a number of points in between. I would rather ride than drive — even in the winter.
One church member remarked a year or so ago that I was on my bike too much. But I’m not. I get about 50 miles a gallon and if people see me on my bike, I am likely going somewhere work-related. Or not.
Sometimes my time is my own and I enjoy riding. I like the wind, the sound of the road, the feel of the bike, Zac Brown or Lynyrd Skynard playing in my iPod, and the certain knowledge that, at least for a while, I am not on the phone, the computer, or some other communication device. I have a brief interlude of privacy and solitude.
Owning a bike, as someone said, is cheaper than a psychiatrist. After 40+ years in the ministry, I have finally learned that some people aren’t happy unless they are complaining about something. So, complain away. I’m going for a ride.
Much of my riding is solitary, but I enjoy riding with others too. I have gone on several charity rides, and we have formed a riding club at our church, Warrior’s Motorcycle Club, that has about 12 members and schedules monthly rides after church during good weather.
I am also currently a member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, which is a great source of camaraderie and brotherhood. Two of my sons also ride with me in the Warrior’s MC and the IOMC.
My current best ride is a 2006 Harley-Davidson Road King which I picked up a couple of years ago from a man in Albany, Ga.
When I went to inspect the bike, I discovered that it only had 410 miles on it. He bought it new off the showroom floor and never got comfortable riding a motorcycle. So, year after year, it sat in his garage covered by a tarp. Once a month or so, he would ride it around the block and polish it. It was beautiful.
I got, in essence, a brand new bike for a used bike price. He said it had never been in the rain. After I paid him, I jumped on the bike and, three miles after I left his house, the heavens opened up and I rode the bike three hours in a driving rainstorm.
My wife doesn’t ride. She is a professor or nursing and, frankly, is afraid to ride because of what she has seen in the ERs over the years.
I understand and am fine if she never gets on a bike. I recognize the dangers, too. I get up every morning with the idea that everyone that drives a car is out to murder me.
So far, I have avoided injury — no thanks to some incredibly stupid drivers who have nearly murdered me.
Still, I love to ride and the only regret I have is that I didn’t start years earlier. Maybe someday I will get a trike (a 3-wheeler). Lots of older bike riders go to the trike as they get older but, for now, I’m keeping it on two wheels.
See you on the road and — be careful out there — that biker you almost hit just might be me!
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U.S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]