Why We Ride

Why We Ride

Editor’s Note: Brett Koranda’s interest in motorcycles began as a toddler when he was perched on his dad’s gas tank in the back yard. Growing up, his idol was Evel Knievel. He moved from bicycles to mopeds to dirt bikes then onto street bikes growing up. Koranda joined J&P Cycles in 2007 as a sales and service supervisor in the Iowa call center. Recently, he joined the merchandising team as a product merchant. Koranda’s current ride is a 2001 Road King Classic. Married to Andrea, the two love taking in the beautiful Midwestern countryside via motorcycle. He has two daughters, a step-daughter and two step-sons and recently became a grandfather.

While mulling over the topic of my inaugural post on our blog, the nagging thoughts were two-fold.  First was “go big” and the second was “get the readers involved.”  Well, you can’t get any bigger than asking why a human being makes the choices he or she makes, so I’m good on thought No. 1 .  When I’m wrapped up here, I’m going to challenge you to answer the question, “Why do I ride?” Thought No. 2 should hopefully pan out, should you choose to accept my challenge.

It seems a simple premise, but I often found when considering my own thoughts and asking those around me, it always comes back to what one likes about the activity.  One often hears a rider extoll the virtue of “freedom.”  I get that, but it’s an intangible that doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny.  One can “hit the road” in a car.  If you have a ragtop you can even get the wind in your hair, sort of.  Then you have to register your bike, insure the bike, get your license, perhaps get your bike inspected and in some states you have to wear a helmet whether you choose to or not.  Our Californian brothers and sisters can speak to this with considerable expertise as their elected officials turned self-appointed caretakers have yet to encounter a rule too silly or infringing to impose on their constituents.  Yes, you can flip off “The Man” and do what you want, but you do so at your own financial peril.  You have to admit, “The Man” always gets his in the end.  So, freedom, as always, isn’t always free.  So, again, what is it about motorcycling when a car will get you on the road and from here to there?

Others point to camaraderie.  True – it exists in this world of motorcycling, but I think it has become overly romanticized these days.  We’re as segmented as they come.  You have your Harley riders, Goldwingerscruisers, dirt riders, sport bike riders and on and on with each segment prone to snickering about the others from time-to-time.  In my case, my wife and I ride a lot, but tend to be lone wolves.  We’ll ride with a friend or two occasionally, but you won’t often find us at rallies or on other big organized rides.  Our time in the saddle does immeasurable good for our marriage.  Riding with your life mate, though you’re out in the open, is ironically an intimate experience in my view because it’s “our time.”

Some say it’s a matter of self-expression.  What you ride or how you customize it is definitely the mark of the individual, but that doesn’t explain the siren call of motorcycling.  That said, one can’t deny it is something like a calling and it really gets in your blood, but why?

Ultimately, I can only speak for myself.  For me it’s that there is singularity of purpose that takes over when my I fire up my mount.  All the decisions on what to ride, what to wear, what maintenance was required, is the insurance paid, helmet or no helmet (to my mother’s chagrin I choose not to wear one on occasions) have been made and all fall away.  First and foremost motorcycling is risky business no matter how accomplished a rider you are.  Therefore it requires total focus.  That total focus requires all other distractions to fall away.  When I’m on the road I’m not concerned with bills and taxes.  I’m not giving politics a second thought (if you knew me, you’d know that’s quite a statement).  The dismal headlines of yet another Middle East conflict, fiscal cliffs, campaign smears and so on ad-nauseum – it’s all just…gone.

It’s the road, the rumble of the engine, the heightened smells of the world coming to life in the spring, a freshly-mowed hayfield or a steak on someone’s grill.  It’s a fleeting sensation to feel completely tuned in and 100% alive I’ve found in my life experience.  When I’m on the bike, that’s all there is.  I don’t hook up stereos and smartphones or have my helmet wired for two-way.  Some do and that’s great;  it’s just not me.  I crave being cut off from the outside world when I ride.  Driving a car just doesn’t deliver this phenomenon for me.  When I ride I’m fully “there,” experiencing nothing, but the moment.  It’s an opportunity I can provide myself every day.  It’s the opportunity to just…be.

So, think it over and tell us why you ride.

By |2015-04-15T13:27:22+00:00December 6th, 2012|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles|69 Comments

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  1. Fritz in Miramar, FL February 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I fell in love with motorcycle when I was very young. (12- 13 years old).Different from american kids, I couldn’t afford one,I was leaving in Haiti and my parents didn’t have the money.On top of that they were over protective of us.Through some friends, I learn how to ride, but never gotten good at it.In my late teens I grew out of it by witnessing so many of my friends getting killed in motorcycle accidents. In my early 20’s I left Haiti to come and live with my mother and sibling who were residing in Philadelphia,PA.I was a newlywed and I came with my wife.We were in America for about 7 months when we got a tragic news from Haiti, my wife’s father who was a biker for most of his life got killed in a motorcycle crash. At this point the word (motorcycle) could not be used in my house unless it’s in a bad way.I kept my dream quietly from 1978 to 2006. By this time my kids were grown and the agency that I work for, got me an assignement in Fort Worth, TX. I was surrounded by bikers.In 2007 when my job ended in Texas I came home in Florida and I purchased a 2003 Honda Shadow ACE 750, I have been riding it since. I love it, and I consider myself a biker. Love it!!!!!!!

  2. Bill Rhoades May 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I ride 2002 Gold Wing. I was recently dismissed with cancer and have regular doctors visits. I have learned that my blood pressure is always 15 to 20 points lower on days when I ride to my appointments. If that isn’t a therapeutic value, I don’t know what is.

  3. cork January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    some how my comment (which was based on all the input about the cam chain tensioners) ended up here. By the by, I ride ’cause I can’t be at peace without it. Starting with getting a good look at this magnificent country that we live in, down to all of the different mix of people you meet. In my 50 or so years of biking I have been broke down along the road, and people stop to help, or offer a ride to some where to get a part or fix a flat, or the use of a tool that I needed and didn’t have etc. etc. We as bikers are a breed of our own for many reasons, We’re not afraid to travel a road unknown. Who knows what’s over the hill!

  4. cork January 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Mr. Brett, I hope you send this whole page of comments to Mutha Harley, she needs to be held accountable.

  5. Kim Roy December 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I started riding on my mom’s gas tank at the age of 3. She was a single mom. I remember holding on to the middle of the handle bars of her green yamaha going to the lake where my grandparents lived. Now this was a 15 mile ride. What a thrill!! Here I was the feeling like the pilot in my neon green shimmer helmet with no one or anything in front of me. Then the next year I was riding on the back, but still having the time of my life. I rode with her as often as I could untill when I was 18 and she had a very bad accident which landed her in the hospitable of a month. She no longer rides.

    So a couple years later I meet my first husband. We rode two up as much as possible. With him having two children that made it hard. I longed to ride. Something was missing. After 16 years of marriage, I went and go my permit which I didn’t tell him about. Then I bought a 2000 Honda Shadow 600 still he was unaware. SO I took it to my fathers house. My marriage was falling apart. My Horse was my salvation. I learned to ride for the first time in a abandon parking lot. I knew then I was FREE in so many ways, no longer waiting on a man! I knew I could do it by myself like my mother so many years ago.

    So a new chapter in my life started! So now I ride on my Vulcan 900, to which I have done many customizing to it.I don’t care to ride two up. I ride alone and in large groups. The reason I ride… freedom, therapy, joy, comradery, it is part of of me & who I am.

  6. Pete Huisenga December 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I think it is like Robert Pirsig wrote in his book”Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”, it is because you are in the picture rather than looking at the picture. The sun beating on you is real, the pavement 6″ under your feet is real, the rain hitting you is real. In your climate controlled car it is just so much more television

  7. Randy Travis December 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Yes it is a spritual thing.The feeling of flying as I roll the throttle. Also the pride that comes from taking a pile of parts and putting it all together with all the care and love that I can. Been an industrial mechanic for 26 yrs,something about doing something thats all mine. I have been a rockclimber all my life ,theres something simaler about riding.Its the chalenge of being fit and trying to make each curve come out perfect.

  8. J.W. December 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    To live the moment, to be spiritual, to realize life is short. It’s very personal, I’ve known lots of guys who bought bikes to make friends or be a part of something perceived, only to find out that riding to them was the lonliest thing they’d ever done. Bike goes up for sale,so sad. I get close to my maker in a thankful sort of way when we ride.

    • Brian December 25, 2012 at 6:53 am

      that’s it…spiritual!

  9. Dana M December 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Why I ride is an easy question to answer, because I love to. The hard thing for me is to put in words way I love riding so much. It 2 day before Christmas with about 3 inches of new snow on the ground and I just put the bike’s to bed for the winter months this weekend. I should say that I live in central New York so I try to ride 9 month of year. I have been riding for over 35-years and my first bike was a 71 Bridgestone GTR-350 that got me hook on riding and I have never look back. Along the way I have had the honor to meet other great riders and introduces others new rides into this great way of life. Starting from my wife for over 30 years who was riding with me before we got married (2-up), to riding next to me on her own bike the first year and loving it. Now my kids also ride and we continue to introduce others into the brotherhood or sisterhood of riders.
    It’s easy on a weekend to take off for a ride and get lost in the scenery of the Adirondack for a 150 to 200 mile ride, just ask any one who’s attended the motorcycle rally in Lake George, NY. Riding to me is one of the best stress relief to the anxiety of life and it gives you a freedom that cagers never know. The only thing I can add in closing it not what you ride but you ride, so keep riding…..RIDE FREE & RIDE SAFE………..

  10. ScooterchickHD December 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I ride my Fat Boy Lo because I have to. Something inside me requires me to climb on that bike, and go fast (when I can:) Then wind in my face is the breath of god, and all my problems and concerns get left on the road behind me. Nothing else makes me feel so free.

  11. sunbored December 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I ride because I can, it’s a love affair with the road. I also enjoy the brotherhood and the little wave that we give each other to communicate with someone else that knows what it feels like to be constantly aware of your surroundings or be dead. The cagers just wouldn’t understand

    • sunbored December 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      by the way I’ve been riding since 1970 and turned 21 in the hospital after being hit by a 16 year old girl with a learners permit, It’s not about the party, I learned a long time ago that alcohol and motorcycles DON’T mix.

  12. popeye December 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    i ride cause i can!! rain or shine i dont do ice but if one of my 4 Harley’s will start i’m gone lately its been around zero but WTF it’s allways rideing weather , Nothing else i got runs . If ur one of those folks that rides 3 months out of the year ur a wantabee!( Wantabee warm) aint nothing like ridin it ‘s not for everybody ‘but if u ride be safe brother.s and sister’s . WATCH OUT FOR THOSE STUPID CELLPHONER’S!!!!!!!!

  13. Robert M. Dobbs December 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I ride because……….hell I don’t know anymore, I have been riding since 1954. It was fun back then, just me and my old HD 45. I still ride, my ride is still a HD, but a lot newer model now. I guess now it is just the most peaceful thing I can think of, for some the love of riding is a life long thing.

  14. Krazy Bob December 22, 2012 at 3:17 am

    I will tell you why I ride. I am 71 years old and have been riding since I was 15 y/o. I have had my share of road rash and close calls (and worse) with stupid drivers and confused animals on the road. Unfortunately animals such as deer and bears will attack you on the road (especially during hunting season when they are rattled already by noise and near misses.) I once came so close to a black bear in WA state that I literally knocked him off his feet. I was able to keep the bike up and I saw him stumble and fall in my mirror as we went by him. He had charged me from the side of the road ( I was doing 75) and I saw that I couldn’t avoid hitting him so I cut in front of him which saved my wife and me.
    But why do I ride…?
    1) I love the freedom that riding gives me. I feel very close to nature and I feel very close to God and the beauty of this great earth we live on.
    2) I own six Harleys, the worst gets at least 20 mph (stage 1 engine) and the best gets 45 mph (stock 1996 Road King).
    3) I have traveled over most of the western highways including Interstate highways and cannot count the traffic problems I have encountered during my 50+ years of riding. I have also traveled many of the same routes in a cage. I have probably been in 40 or so wrecks with a car, a few were my fault but mostly it was the other guy getting stupid and trying to do a maneuver the car was never meant to make.

    I have been in three heavy bike wrecks since I have been riding and they were all d/t mechanical failure.
    Pretty good record eh?
    Most of the car wrecks were other people making stupid mistakes that I was caught up in.
    4) A motorcycle is hardy and durable. I happen to prefer Harleys but all the motorcycle manufacturers make a good product. If they didn’t, they would not be permitted to sell their products in the U.S.A…..Hopefully, anyway!
    5) A motorcycle is easy to park and easy to move if needed. If you have any problems with your bike, it is easy to move it off the road and out of another vehicle’s lane of travel. Try this with a car w/ a flat tire on a freeway when the jack is missing).
    6) I will admit that this entry may not be for everyone. I am a Patch Holder in what the media and law call a “Motorcycle Gang”. Actually we are nothing of the kind. We believe in free expression and choose to exercise that right by riding our motorcycles. We obey all posted road laws and contribute taxes through our lawful employment. We break no federal laws or statutes and endeavor to be law abiding citizens that ride ‘motorsickles’ as they used to be called in the old days. I will only say that some law enforcers are unfairly zealous in trying to pin guilt and at times they target unfairly. This causes undue hardship on their targeted individuals who are just trying to live and survive in this great USA. Unfortunately there are zealots everywhere!
    7) There is basically a common community found in people who ride motorcycles. This is evidenced by the waving to each other by riders going in opposite directions. No one asks what their affiliation is or what they ride, it is just a salutation of ‘buen viaje’ or ‘have a good trip’ to both riders regardless of anything else.
    People in cars do not have this type of cameraderie nor could they d/t the enormous amount of traffic on the road.
    8) Motorcycles are vastly more maneuverable then cars (cages). When operating a vehicle, your view is restricted by the four walls around you. You have mirrors but they offer you slices of surrounding vision at best. A motorcyclist also has mirrors but has the freedom to turn his head to look around and observe real data both in back and sideways in traffic. In states with helmet laws however, this advantage is somewhat reduced. Also if you need to make a quick maneuver on bike to avoid an accident, you can do it on a bike…good luck in a car.
    This has saved many bikers from accidents and injury.
    9) Again, this may not be for everyone… I feel proud riding my bike! My bikes look good and people look when I ride down the street. I like that…it makes the work, money and effort I have put into my machines justified. I built good looking bikes because I enjoy riding them and also enjoy the looks and stares that we get when we ride by. I think vanity in this case is a trait that most bikers enjoy (even the RAT bikes) if they have any pride in their ride.
    I could go on but I think I have said enough to answer your question ‘why do you ride’.
    I hope that anyone reading this either identifies with it or is maybe sparked enough to go out and make the initial investment to buy a bike. Otherwise you are just a wannabee.
    Krazy Bob GRMC GFFR

  15. Señor Gar December 22, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Why I Ride

    Started riding in ’62 on a 692cc Royal Enfield which until that year had been the largest British bike of the day. Rode English, Japanese and American for the next 40 years; the last 12 on a Yamaha FJ1200. For me it had become an athletic event to ride to my limits through the twisties. Then I retired from work and riding ‘cause I was getting too old to ride at up to twice the speed limit.

    Figured I was pushing my luck so I got two large dogs for the back of my pickup. That taught me to drive slowly and 8 years later I was smitten with the new Honda Fury. I couldn’t resist. Those old feelings came back in slow motion. It was a perfect marriage, a fresh beginning and a whole new experience. Almost never exceeding the speed limit I can actually see the world around me (instead of just the white lines and large metal objects) and absorb the still primal experience of a relatively sophisticated V-Twin. Although a ‘chopper’ style I soon had 82 liters of GIVI hard cases, a luggage rack and a custom seat with backrest.

    Always a 2 hour rider I am now seeking out 500 mile days! Did I mention it was a whole new experience. Hard to explain why vibration under my saddle, wind around my full helmet (no windshield), traffic flying by at times and long stretches of smooth straight pavement for 10 hours in surprising comfort can be so seductive. Part of it is that it requires one’s full attention with little room for error, there is the draw of the unknown to new destinations and people which adds a mild sense of adventure and as many have said before, you effortlessly leave all your other cares behind. My winter therapy allows time for little ‘engineering’ improvements which help preserve my sanity for summer. During my 6 months of weather above 50° (preferably 60°) I rarely drive, often riding home with groceries and 40 lbs of dog food strapped across the back.

    Two years ago my first road trip, since I was 20, took me and 2 friends 1500 miles through the BC Cascade Mountains for 5 days of rain. I loved it. What, am I nuts (rhetorical). With almost perfect rain gear I was giddy with excitement, a rare feeling at my age. Last summer saw 3200 miles cruise by in 12 days down to Southern California and back; part with a CA mate and I discovered the joy of riding solo north of San Francisco. Can’t imagine why I enjoyed a temperature range of 60°-100° exposed to the elements (little rain this time) but I did. Well there you have it. A little more tinkering and planning next summer’s long ride will keep me going.

  16. marty December 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    why do i ride? soooo many reasons! but in short i love the feeling of the open road. my father rode, my uncles rode,my brothers ride it’s in my blood. for many years i was raising a family and set aside my passion for other prioritys. now i’m back to riding a 2000 superglide and loving every minute i’m out cruising around. i want to wish all my fellow riders and thier familys a merry x mas or what ever you celebrate this time of year! ride safe!

  17. Dave H December 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I have truly enjoyed this blog. When I was a child, I had two favorite models. A corvette and a dresser motorcycle. I would dream about the day I would own them. Somewhere along the way, the corvette lost it’s luster. My first Harley was at age 18 – a Sprint 50. Since then I have owned countless metric bikes, British bikes and now have a few old vintage gems I ride in parades. But it wasn’t until I tuned 59 that I said I was not going to go into my 60’s not owning a dresser. So, I bought the 2011 Ultra Glide Classic Limited. It is the grand culmination of my motorcycle career. As far as riding, it is an extestential experience that puts the spiritual senses in motion. While a part of me is paying attention to the safety aspects, the other is bathing in the overwhelming sense of belonging to something bigger than I. Thanks for hosting this valuable posting.

  18. Ren December 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I just love it! I love my little horse, Azul (94 sporty hugger). I’m not a biker, just a guy who owns a bike. I’ve always been an outdoor kind of guy, and I’ve always wanted a motorcycle. Been riding for 4 months and I’m going to ride until the day I die! Why? Because my soul is happy when I do.

  19. Dan December 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm


  20. Hal P December 21, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I’m 53 years old and suffered a major life crisis two years ago. A few days later I was waiting in my car for the light to turn green and wondering “how in the world am I going to get through this” when a growling hog pulled up in the lane next to me. I had never been interested in bikes before, but I couldn’t take my eyes off that rumbling iron horse and the leather-clad dude in the saddle. I thought to myself, “now that looks fun!” I went home and did some research on the internet, and I was bitten by the H-D bug and have been blissfully “infected” ever since. I bought a 2007 Softail, signed up for a beginners riding course, and, well, you know the rest. I could have spent $$ on therapy to help me get through the fallout of the crisis…but, NAH! There are many reasons why I ride, but primarily, it’s just plain FUN.

  21. Suze S December 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I ride an ’05 Herritage Classic which I call Chuck Tayler. It fits me just like an old pair. I came home from work 1 day completely stressed, barking at the kids & my 13 yr old looks me in the eye, smiles & said, “mom, you need to go out for a ride.” I did & when I got back home I was purring instead of barking!

  22. Jim H. December 21, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I’ve never really come up with an difinitive answer to “why I ride”. I guess I ride because I’ve been doing it so long and it just brings a smile to my face. Motorcycles in general have that effect on me. I don’t think about the danger aspect or how far I can ride or who I can ride with, or a lot of times where I go, it just happens. Some days I’ll just go out in the shop and sit and look at them, enjoying their company and other days I’ll go out and take my favorite, a Harley Heritage Springer, and just go. More than once I’ve started off on a day trip and ended up hundreds of miles from home and a day or two away. It’s just me.

  23. Tom Clough December 21, 2012 at 3:33 am

    If you never rode a bike its hard to explaine . The things you see the smells the looks you get . when I step in to the garage and the Electra Glide Ultra Classic calls out lets ride its 10 min of bliss or 4 or 5 hrs of bliss just sayin ! Merry Christmas to all .

  24. Joe Steingraeber December 21, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Riding my Triumph Trophy 900 triple switches off sensory overload and inspires my spirit.

  25. Zar December 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Brett I can agree with you except on one point. You stated you crave being cut off from the outside world when you ride. For me,it’s being one with the outside world. Look at it this way….todays cars(and trucks) are like sitting in your easy chair in your living room. With A/c in the summer,heated seats in the winter,6way reclining seats,multi-speaker surround sound,power steering and all the other goodies. We have lost touch with the outside world. When I’m on my scooter I feel every temp change,every drop of rain,the foggy mist along the river. I smell the fragrance of pine trees,rose blooms and yes,every cow pasture along the way. All that keeps me in touch with what’s real and keeps me alive.

    I started out back in the 1970’s on a Harley SS350 Sprint,a neat little thumper. I worked my way up through the Trumpets,Beezers and such and now,at almost 60,Im back to thumpers.Riding a 1996 Suzuki LS650 Savage 80 miles a day to work and averaging 1000 to 1500 miles a month in the saddle,Kentucky weather permitting.

    Enough drivel…..The main thing is the love of the ride! Ride safe!

    • Riverine December 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      Well said, pine trees, rose blooms, cow pastures and bugs

  26. Peter Finnegan December 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Therapy, Clarity. Riding awakens my senses because you have to be focused on safe riding which makes me see and smell my surroundings. I thank God every time I am on my bike for being able to have a bike and to ride. I ride to work and get to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It makes me smile really big especially when I get to ride with my two buddies. You can’t put the experience into enough words or words to describe it to a non rider.

    • curtis nelson December 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Well said brother Pete, its great therapy, it can make bad news disappear, always puts a smile on my face when I hear my two great bro’s pull up my driveway, I know then its gonna be another great day…

  27. Chelydra December 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I rode a bicycle all my life and enjoyed the feeling of moving through the wind and the feeling of freedom. I wanted a motorcycle ever since I can remember but didn’t get one until after I turned 41. Within a month, I sold my car and never looked back. There is something about experiencing everything from on top of a vehicle rather than inside of it. It’s almost like flying just off the ground. Its hard to explain but nothing has brought me this much happiness…ever. My goal is to never own a car again and I’ll ride until I can’t physically do it anymore.

  28. Richard December 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I hadn’t ridden a bike in over thirty years, one bad accident and I decided that it was enough for me. Then this last summer, my wife decided she wanted a sportster, the kids were grown, and she wanted to ride. She then encouraged me to get a bike also so we could ride together. I jumped in whole hog! I have an 08 Electra Glide Classic, and ride all I can. I had forgotten the feeling of actually experiencing the environment, instead of just looking at it through the windshield! When we ride we are a part of the space around us, not just passing through! You cant get that from a car, you can on foot, but you wont feel the rumble!

  29. Leslie December 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I ride because I feel excited about it and do not bored with it. I enjoy the freedom of hopping on my ride and taking a long trip or just getting a cup of coffee locally. I love slicing through warm and cold air pockets. I breathe deep taking in the various scents marking different times of the year. I enjoy the camaraderie as well.

  30. Rich Uhl December 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    For me it’s the open air. At 6′ 5″ every car feels like a shoebox and never enough room to be comfortable. When I’m on my Harley, I’m no longer restrained or boxed in. I can stretch out with my legs out on the highway pegs with nothing else around me. I’m part of the great outdoors and my senses are amplified, sights, smells, the feel of the bike on the open road. I feel alive.

  31. Jerry Taylor December 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I am effin’ 70 years old….and can’t believe it……I am hooked on the sound and wind and danger that permeates the joy of riding my 2005 Dyna low rider….1450 cc’s of power… I am young again……until
    I look in the mirror………..WHERE did the years go ?
    Long story short…. Can’t explain why I’m still drawn to firein’ it up and blasting out to yet another unknown
    2-3 hrs. of bliss.

  32. Ben December 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    The reason I ride is similar to why you ride but a step farther is not everyone wants to ride nor has the inclination to do so, but it’s doing something that most people won’t so you know your still alive.

  33. Bill Brandon December 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I think Brett nailed it. I own a big beautiful sweet Kawasaki Vulcan 1600, BUT have always wanted my own Harley. Harley owners know the feeling of wanting it bad. Maybe one day! (I did save enough to buy two new Harleys but at the dealership a misquote by a sales lady who judged me by my dirty work clothes stopped the sale). I love to ride because I can. I love to hear the gears whine, the motor rumble, I love the power at my wrist. I do not love hitting the ditch at over 60 because someone did not see me. How do you fix that? Ride Smart and jist ride.

  34. Julio L. Ruiz December 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Pure enjoyment and I love it.

  35. Michael December 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Is there a character limit to this blog response? The word that I keep coming back to is “viseral”. Remember that kid in ‘Forest Gump’ when his leg braces fell off and he could “RUN”? Well I never had leg braces but related to that feeling on my first bicycle. 2 wheels, “Sting Ray”, hell bent for leather—or so I thought. Loved, loved, loved riding my bike. Didn’t really know a reason (likely just the physical piece, thrill of speed, freedom from parental guidance). Saw kids on ‘Honda’s’ and knew deep down that those things looked like fun. Begged my parents for a minibike back then, to no avail.

    Then at about age 12, I was at a friends house out in the country. He and his brother at a couple of old “step through” Honda 55’s (street/trail). Well it was like I had a private pass to the prostitute next door. My heart ached at the thrill of the ride, the incredible SPEED. Holy crap. I haven’t been without a bike since then. My Dad got me my first bike (a Suzuki 50) that summer. I felt like Thor. Invincible.
    The only time I was off a bike is if I was out of gas.

    Forward to now. I ride a 06 Harley Electra Glide. Much money has been blown in my persuit of Harley perfection. And I wouldn’t change a thing. That viseral feeling of carving through the sweepers at 85 mph, 2 up with my wife (no head sets for us!), on a sunny day. Heaven! If I could figure out how to make a living doing that I’d quit my job tomorrow.

    I can’t speak to what motivates others but for me it’s simple. Speed and the ride. Merry Christmas ya’ll.

  36. david December 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I ride to get from point A to point B, to hear the sound of thunder churning down the back roads, on the way to the beer joints, to raise hell and kick ass…
    also to git to work…. lol , David, Gods Servant

  37. Carl M December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Riding is Peace, Freedom,Therapy, it allows you to break away from the normal everyday hussle of life, when you climb on your bike your in control of what you do and where you go. I agree with the article, sounds,smells and the sights you wouldn’t normally get to experience with an automobile. I ride for the love of it and just to get out and go. It’s not the destination it’s the Ride! People get caught up in what they ride, I think that it is a showing of their personality, strive to be different, It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as you enjoy the ride!

    • Gabby December 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      It gets in your blood for sure. I bought my first bike in 1972. It was our matchmaker as my wife and I met while I was in college and I had the motorcycle with me. Got away from motorcycles for a bit when kids were young but bought our first Harley in 2005 and now with a StreetGlide. I ride to work as much as possible. I enjoy taking all the back roads and it’s a great way to start the day and end the day. My wife enjoys riding so we try to ride as much as possible. We especially enjoy our sunset rides. We purposefully find a road with a spectacular view as the sun is setting. We enjoy the two lane roads with little traffic and lots of scenary. No better way to take in the fresh air. There is no comparison to taking a ride in a car…on the bike, you experience it all…the curves, the smells, and being alone with someone who loves it as much as you do.

  38. Len December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    PS I ride simply because I enjoy it!

  39. Len December 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Bike rider are more alert while driving than are those is a 4 wheel vehicle. Examples: Have you ever heard of someone falling asleep while operating a motorcycle? Your not distracted by kids fighting in the back seat. You never see someone putting on make-up while driving their motorcycle. You have much fewer blind spots. You are less likely to drive recklessly or speed. You are much more causious in bad weather, just to mention a few. So live to ride but ride to live! Merry Christmas everyone…

  40. Russell Sheldon December 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I agree, No Radios, No Phones. I like the focus and ride that takes my mind off the world. To escape and just “Be”

  41. Mike Simmons December 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I rode someone else’s Harley at age 16 and was bitten hard.

    But then came college, Air Force, and kids. I got my first bike (Harley, of course) at age 60 after I retired.

    To me having and riding a motorcycle is like finding a piece to the puzzle that wasn’t obviously missing. It’s something I don’t really understand and can’t explain, but I don’t know how I survived that long without it.

    To my wife’s dismay, I’m a loner in life in general. My one-up Road King Police suits me fine. I love the solitude of a single bike on any road.

  42. RCA December 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I have been riding for years and I ride 27 miles one way to work everyday. I live in Florida and I have a nice Jeep Grand Cherokee but will still saddle up no matter if it is raining or 27 to 100 degrees. Like others have stated, to me it is being totally engrossed in my actions as well as everyones around me. Total focus. No time to let the mind wander, thinking about anything but the job at hand and the ever changing sights, sounds and smells that pass by.

  43. DAH December 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

    My first bike was a two-year old ’66 Norton Electra that I bought and rode in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. It was love at first sight, despite my many problems with Lucas electronics. Many bikes and many years later my 2003 Indian Chief beckons me from my garage while I type. I’m 69 years old now and the allure hasn’t diminished. I’ve modified my Indian to the point where it needs nothing else. When I’m too old to handle an 800 pound bike I plan to put a sidecar on it and have a reverse installed. Once in your blood motorcycling never leaves. I have a good friend who is a retired USAF Colonel and fighter pilot. Once he bought a Harley he never considered flying again (at least not in the air)!

    • Cork January 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Where in the world did you find a Norton in Nam? That is awesome!

  44. RHN December 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I have ridden since I was six, before that with my dad on an old Harley dirtbike. I was a caretaker for my wife while she had cancer and she also loved to ride. The few minutes I could get away on our bike when the stress got too bad was therapy. Then when she passed away, I rode every chance I got, just to clear my head. Like you sad, it is just you and the road. When she passed away she had told me to do certain things with the life insurance, the first being to buy a chopper, I did and it is my daily rider. I ride in memory of my wife, I feel closer to her and God when I am riding. I ride and she is always with me there.

    • Alice Perreault December 21, 2012 at 12:06 am

      Simply beautiful!

  45. CJB December 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I can define the word RIDE in many ways.
    It is everything that all of you have said and more.
    A Ride for me is on or in my Dirt Bike, Street Bike, Snowmobile, ATV, Lawnmower, Boat, Bicycle, Full Size 4×4 Pick-up Truck or just to get outside and take a look around.
    The Activity that we call RIDE is who we are.

  46. Ward Parker December 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Why do I ride? Started on a HD hummer at 17, with damned good reflexes from riding bicycles on farm cow paths. Rode until I was 45, had 17 accidents, and was given choice of bikes or wife. Chose wife and it was a good choice. I lost her 3 years ago after 46 years together, and buying a sporty just seemed like the thing to do to clear my head and get my mind off her death. Therapy! Now married again, been through 5 bikes (slow, big, FAST and back to an 883 because I still get crazy!) and am settled on my sporty…so the answer, even today is THERAPY…nothing like a bike, whether its a day trip or just to the grocery store.

  47. Clay Godwin December 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    At 51 I have been riding motorcycles since I got my 1st one at age 15 when my parents divorced and I needed transportation. However I had wanted a motorcycle since I was old enough to know what one was. The divorce forced my dad’s hand because like I said I needed a way to get around. Since then I have owned every brand but a Harley, it did not stick. I became a police officer and in 1994 got my 1st Harley, a Heritage Softail. I soon after became a motor officer and rode a police bike also for 3 years (How great is that, 2 Harleys in the garage!). I still have my Heritage and just can’t let it go. It fits me like a glove and I have customized it over the years. My wife does not ride so I ride solo. I enjoy the solidarity and silent freedom from the world and time with myself, no distractions. I also don’t have to worry about the stress of being responsible for someone on the back, it is just me. Ride on. I enjoy taking trips with friends but I do not like being in charge of the ride or destination. I am in charge at work and don’t want that on the road. I am happy to go where ever my friends want to go, mindless freedom!

  48. Ron Blanton December 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Its like you said , once the bike starts its me and it as one… No other thoughts just the pure concentration on what I am doing. This to me takes my mind off every thing else. Instant relaxation .

    • Dave Cotta December 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

      You nailed it!

  49. Steel Pony December 20, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Let me count thy ways. . .
    1. It’s an economical way to get to work.
    2. The fact that not everyone does it is appealing to me.
    3. The element of danger makes it exciting and keeps me focused.
    4. I never get bored on a motorcycle.

  50. LaVonna Deffenbaugh December 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I ride for survial. Not only do I have a stressful job, like most, I have cancer that will shorten my life here on earth. To get on my bike and ride for 10 minutes or 5 hours is the most freedom I can experience. I truly can share that time with God and his amazing planet. Just the smells, the visuals, and the wind around me give me so much peace. I will always ride no matter what!

    • Brett Koranda December 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Wow. All the best to you. That really keeps things in perspective.

  51. Carl Murphy December 20, 2012 at 2:44 am

    I have a Laser Red 99 Heritage Springer Softail with the 2″ Dunlop Whitewalls and to me, it’s my ’57 Chevy Belair. Most everyone likes appreciation for what they’ve built and customized, and I’m one of them. Sometimes when I’m in a parade, it feels like I’m cruisin down the strip. It’s so much fun! More importantly, what got me riding, is the adrenaline rush and freedom. Years ago, I used to go the lakes down south here of Colorado Springs and I owned a Jet Ski. After a long week of work, it felt so good to get that Ski on the water and pull back the throttle and race across the lake. At that point and time, it didn’t matter if my whole life was a lost cause because during that run, it all disappeared. But then I realized, I wasn’t getting enough of that. Why wait for the summer months (Jun – Sept here in Colorado) to drive the ski for an hour and a half on a trailer and then finally unload it onto the lake and go when I could get that “Thrill” I so desire right from my garage almost 365 days a year with a bike. Once I got on the 2 wheels and took off from the garage, I haven’t even thought about going to the lakes to get on a Ski. As a bonus, I have really found out how beautiful Colorado is! The sights, sounds, and smells are so addictive and I am hooked for as long as I am physically able to ride. Thanks for the oppurtunity to write about this. There’s not many places to express this kind of thing where others will understand. Merry Christmas!

  52. Giggz December 20, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I ride to work work to ride, that’s my statement it’s what gives me the urge to go to work and going back, it’s that feeling I by myself on the road with nothing else matters. It’s you, your bike, and the road, a music in your ears is just a background theme. I ride everyday in all weather conditions, not just summer or spring, it’s the unspoken language between me and my Shadow Sabre 1100. It’s when riding at night and your only friend is those orange turn signals lighting or flashing in the dark empty road. I rarley join those organized rides although i love tht look power of 100s bikes hitting the road, but I cant live on that only, its doesnt cover all my needs, its an everyday ride or nothing.

  53. Jeff Koranda December 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Although my “mount” comes in the form of a 2 stoke with knobby tires, the reasons are pretty much the same, whether climbing a hill in the wide open or tearing through the tight woods banging the bark busters on the trees, there is nothing else being though of except what is right around me, in front and what I just saw. Then stopping and looking around at what God has made 10 miles off the road in the Rocky Mountains back country reminds me that everything will be ok, that life’s stress and pressures are really no big deal. Riding is a means of hitting “reset” and getting back to what life brings always remembering that there is another trail or road we can ride the next day or weekend.

    Yep, I am Brett’s little brother and though we live miles apart we share the same enthusiasm for motorcycling be it on the road or off. Love you bro, keep twisting the throttle!

    • Brett Koranda December 10, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Well said! Can’t wait to get out there and get in the sticks with you.

  54. Deron December 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I started riding when I was young then my dad bought me my first bike when I was nine. I had that same bike til I was sixteen and got my endorsement. Motorcycles have always been a part of my life. My fiance likes to ride as much as i do, so we too ride together. The feeling you get from riding is like no other,if you don’t ride you don’t know!

  55. Bill December 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Brett expresses my feelings quite well. I live in Florida and ride year around. Sometimes the walls just close in on me and I just need to get out. To me, having the wind in my face, riding along the ocean or through Florida “wilderness” is like taking a shower from stress. I can feel the tension just rinsing out of my system!

  56. Bryan December 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    There are days when every essence of your body yearns for the open road as its the only thing that will clear all the clutter in the head.
    Its not on the same level as food and oxygen. Its much more important than that.

  57. The Geez December 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I can’t live without riding. Up here in Canada a lot of guys take their bikes off the road in the winter. I can’t do it – it makes me uncomfortable.
    The bike is my partner. She’s my mistress, my therapist, my best friend, my partner in crime and a statement of what parts of my soul look like. Some parts are shiny and clean, others need a bit of work, some bits are dark while others are loud declaring ‘get the eff outta my way. Or don’t, I’m comin through either way.’
    I ride for the freedom. The love of the road. The brotherhood. And the fact that although anyone can buy a bike, there’s only so many of us that really get what it’s all about. And that is why I ride.

  58. Brad Cook December 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Therapy – Running a small business comes with many challenges. At the end of the day I climb on my therapist and slowly all the days trials seem to be no big deal in the whole scheme of things. Brad

    • Mike December 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I have yet to see a motorcycle parked in a psychiatrist’s parking lot (unless the bike belongs to the psychiatrist). It’s the smells, the low rumble of the engine, the sights, swiveling your head to check for distracted drivers, feeling like you and the bike are one and having it go where you want, it’s about the journey and not the destination, it’s about meeting interesting bikers from all walks of life. it’s about the hand signal from an approaching rider of a special brotherhood (ladies included), it’s about pride in your ride, it’s about riding in the elements with very little protection and accepting what comes your way and dealing with it with a smile, it’s about the stories but most of all for me, it’s the spot to be in. Ride safe my friends. I hope to meet you at a rest stop or overlook on the road.

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