Motorcycle culture has brought a balance to my life that I can’t possibly explain in one simple blog post. Yet through my experiences – I believe I can share some insights into ‘why I ride.’
Just about every weekend morning I make sure to wake up with my 2 year son, Everett, have breakfast, get dressed and take him out of the house and give my wife some down time to reset. Trips to Home Depot, museums, brunch at the pub, swimming at the creek with our dog Jesse – you name it, we do it. The important thing is I get one-on-one time with my son and every new experience for him is a new one for me.
Lately, I’ve been working with the gang at Two for the Soul to rebuild my 2005 Harley Sportster 883XL C from an overweight chrome leisure bike, into a DIY café bobber with an aggressive posture and a laundry list of low-cost, big-impact modifications.
I won’t lie to you. I’ve been riding for about 10 years and I know very little about mechanics, and even less about motorcycle maintenance. I set out on this project with Charlie Raley and a handful of other moto-enthusiasts to turn my Harley into something awesome and learn as much about bikes as I can. The past several weekends I’ve been wrenching, grinding and scratching my head with confusion.
On Saturday morning February 21st, I needed to go to Home Depot, Auto Zone and the coolest bike shop I know of in NOVA—Crossroads Cycles. It’s a museum, a classroom, workshop, clubhouse and talented collective of pro wrenchers and custom builders. I was picking up a (traded) 19-inch wheel mounted with a new wider tire in order to lower the front-end of my bike and give it a forward stance. I packed Everett in the car and we were off.
When we pulled up to Crossroads Cycles, the snow was falling and my heart filled with excitement when I saw the garage driveway filled with its typical collection of 20+ classic bikes in for repair, rebuild and restoration – they were blanketed with light snow and it was like something from a movie.
As I unpacked Everett from the car, the owner nodded to me through the glass window from inside. He waved me in, spit a strand of dip on the floor, grabbed my wheel and walked off into the shop. YES! They hadn’t mounted the tire. The great thing about this place is you can hang out there as long as you want and it is filled with vintage beauties, two wheeled stories and a wealth of bike knowledge.
As I walked in, Dennis glanced over and said “we don’t mind if he walks around if you don’t mind…” I look around at the tools, rusted parts and oil-slicked floor and then glance at my son who looks at me and says “DOWN!”
For the next hour or so, Everett and I looked at bikes, asked some profound questions like “what’s that?” It was fucking awesome! These guys do great work, chat about bikes, kids, and just about anything else that you may think is cool. The other day when I dropped off the wheel, Dennis was plowing his driveway with a Bobcat (I think) and had a smile from ear-to-ear pushing snow off his driveway.
If I can get 2-4 (maybe 6) hours on a weekend to play with my motorcycles, take a ride, pull chromed exhaust off my Harley, learn how to do an oil change, or wander around the Crossroad Cycles parking lot museum of classic bikes – I’ll take it, I need it and thankfully my wife supports it. If I get to do it with my son – that’s the best. Like a MasterCard commercial from 5+ years ago… Priceless.