To me riding a motorcycle is a bit contradictory. I love the solitude of it, alone in my crash helmet, concentrating on nothing more than the road, and singing as loud as I can without leaving myself open to vicious and uncalled for criticism. However it is also the camaraderie of mates talking crap in the bar, café or garage that adds a colorful dimension to my life.
It is amazing how diverse my band of brothers and sisters is, and I am sure the same could be said for all of you. I go from unemployed ex inmates to ex police officers who were on royal protection duty and from dustbin men to guys who design microchips or ladies that are doctors of biology immersed in researching strange and bizarre things about fruit flies. The great thing is none of those things make a blind bit of difference to how we get along because when you get down to core values we are not different at all.
I am really proud to say that every friend I have made through motorcycling has remained a friend, some for more years than we care to remember. There was the chance meeting on a wall in the center of a town with a strange bloke on a customized Honda 200 in the late 80’s. A couple of school friends who are still around from before that, the younger brother of one of those and then there are the guys I met only a couple of years ago but who have blended in seamlessly. All those people are as much part of my life as they have always been. We might live in different towns and even countries now but we still meet up and party regularly.
In the days before social media, even before email and mobile phones we kept in touch. A phone call in the middle of the week would see us on the bikes heading off to meet up for a weekend of beer and silliness in the middle of nowhere. Now a post on our Facebook page means that we can arrange and plan to get together for a ride out to the “office” or even more amazing considering our abilities to get organized a summer holiday together. The world has moved on and so have we…but in our hearts we have stayed the same idiots we always were.
Charlie, forever young.
And then there are those who are forever young. Those who enter my thoughts every day and effect the way I live even though I will never see them again. Edgar, a mountain of a man with a huge heart, Rambo before Rambo existed, but not so tough that he could survive an argument with an old lady in a car on his way to work. Derek, the one all the girls wanted to be with whose luck ran out when a wheel came off a bus an hit him. Ady, Old Doug, Big Tim, JP..the list is far too long. Then there is Charlie, who died today some 25 years ago. Today is Charlie’s day, he was the first to go and like memorial day his day is the day that we use to celebrate who we are and who they are. Life goes on, and just because they are not here with us now it doesn’t mean they do not go on with us. While we tell the stories they are still here with us. As the Vikings would have said, they have word fame and to me they are still riding with me, still partying with me, still friends.