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, Goldwingers, cruisers, 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.