Friday, June 18, 2010

Rediscovering Priorities

I've been thinking about my motorcycle a lot these past several weeks, but I haven't been riding it a lot. I can't really blame the weather; although we've had more clouds than sun lately, it's June and certainly warm enough for enjoyable riding. And my work has slowed down the last couple weeks (I'm self-employed).

Truth be told, I've been spending a fair amount of time buying parts and accessories for my bike, including a Vance & Hines full exhaust system; a Doherty Machines high-performance air cleaner; and a carburetor modification kit from CV Performance. Besides these planned mods, I've been running around getting countless little parts like gaskets, clips and specialty tools I will need to install the above parts.

A stock Harley is like a blank canvas waiting to be customized. Even in stock form, my bike, the Dyna Wide Glide, has a generous amount of chrome, but there's something about owning a Harley that makes you want to "make it your own." The previous owner kept it mostly stock, with a few upgrades, including a touring seat, drag pipes and a sport windshield. Now it's my turn to customize it. Right now, I'm focusing on functional upgrades, but I would like to make some strictly cosmetic upgrades as well.

As much as I have the urge to do it all at once, my finances won't allow that, so I browse through catalogs and online, planning and researching future upgrades for my motorcycle. But today, I realized that my priorities are starting to go astray. I mean, it's peak riding season, yet I haven't ridden my bike in over a week! I bought the bike to ride it, not turn it into a show bike, but my character flaw of being a perfectionist was starting to take over. I don't have to wait to turn my bike into the "perfect" bike before I ride it. Like me, it's a work in progress.

So today, I hopped on the bike for a ride to Westerly, with the purpose of stopping at a certain hardware store to look for a particular tool. It was sunny, warm and I wasn't working, so I had no excuse. I'd almost forgotten how my cares and concerns just melt away while I'm riding. It's just me and the bike, God and nature, and I'm living in the moment. My only concerns are other motorists. It's a zen-like state, with only the sound of the wind rushing past my ears and the V-twin engine throbbing between my legs ... pure bliss.

The hardware store did not have the tool I was looking for, so I was a bit bummed out, but only for a little while. As my girlfriend Anna says, "It's not the destination, it's the ride." And I truly felt blessed to be able to ride today.


  1. That's the spirit, Ken. "More miles than money." I have no idea how much disposable income you have. But the more versatile you make your bike (like having a T-bag so you can carry stuff) the more you will ride it. The more you ride it, the more parts need to be legitimately replaced (of course, with new shinier ones). That leads to tools, and so on, all resulting in hundreds of blissful hours spent on the road and in your garage.

    Still lovin' your story.

  2. All things take time. If you do it all at once then what's left? :) Well I guess lots of riding!