Any Motorcycle is a Touring Bike if you want it to be…

Posted: November 10, 2020 in Life and Memories, Motorcycles, My view of the world
Tags: ,

In the mid 1990s, I rode my motorcycle into a Hardee’s for coffee in East Tennessee and, as cyclists tend to group together, I parked next to a sportbike I had spotted as I pulled into the parking lot. After I got off my bike, I stared in wonder and amazement at this bike that carried a California license plate, it had a seat that seemed about 3 microns thick and saddlebags that appeared to be attached by divine intervention to this grimy, road-worn cafe style racer. In the 1990s, you didn’t see that many motorcycles with out-of-state plates…and you certainly didn’t see uncomfortable (in my opinion) sportbikes traveling from out of state unless they were traveling in the back of a truck.

At the time, I was in my early forties and traveled quite a bit and I couldn’t believe anyone could have been riding that misery machine across the country and still be ambulatory enough to walk into the restaurant. I went inside looking for the rider and spotted the kid, which was easy, as he was the only other person in the place that was wearing motorcycle gear, and I walked over and spoke with him. It seems he was headed to DC from Cali and he told me he had been averaging 600 to 700 miles per day (which was amazing in itself). I asked if he felt stiff or cramped after riding all day in a position akin to being stuffed into a pringles can (I probably didn’t mention the pringles can, but that was the image I was seeing) and he said no, not at all and looked at me a little oddly as if this were one of the sillier questions he had heard. We spoke for a couple of more minutes and I bade him safe travels as I strode to the counter to grab a coffee.

For decades I have thoroughly enjoy traveling on cross-country camping trips and at the time of this story, I did my cross-country traveling astride a pearl BMW K100RS and at the end of the day, after a few hundred miles in the saddle, I would often feel mind-numbing stiffness and pain from my neck to my hips, as I wished for the sudden invention of a portable traction machines I could carry along with me that I could use to uncrumple my aching joints. As I watched him don his armored jacket and helmet and then hop on his bike and roar off on his journey, I shook my head while thinking that this kid (he might have been in his early twenties) must have been one of those rare humans born without any pain receptors at all. I of course, was simply jealous that he could ride crouched over all day while my middle-aged abused body griped and complained incessantly when I told it to bend into a position that only slightly assumed the yoga-like posture this kid seemingly enjoyed being in for hours at a time as he rode the highways and byways of America.

Jim

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