I bought a motorcycle helmet. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to spend $200 so quickly. But I wanted full face protection from the wind, not to mention that I like my jaw just the way it is. Really, a Vespa’s more my style than the big old bike we’ll-call-him-Logan recently acquired. Don’t get me wrong, the bike’s super cool. But I’ve never been a speed demon, so if I’m ever at the wheel of something with two wheels and a motor, it’ll be a scooter…
I would love to see more people (calling all bohos!) – including those who don’t fit the black leather image of motorcycles – utilize bikes (and scooters) for everyday transport. With less cars on the road, bikes would be safer. The demand for fuel would drop and with it pollution, not to mention money spent on transport.
The first time I rode on a motorcycle, Logan picked me up at the train station in Philly on his Yamaha 250. The bike – for all I ended up loving it – was small, and my helmet was smaller. We jumped on the highway within minutes and the wind tucked under the face plate and smacked me hard enough that I had trouble breathing. Not to mention that we were flying down a highway populated by crazy city drivers, my knees scant feet from their fenders. I chanted affirmations in my head, and we did make it through alive and well, except for the massive pressure headache I had from the ill-fitting helmet. Thus my willingness to sacrifice income for one that felt just right.
There’s a store in Bar Harbor, Maine called Jekyl & Hyde: One side is full of bright colors, jingly hip scarves, and flowing skirts; the other is knives and black leather. My sister has commented that this store is a metaphor for my relationship: me the crunchy boho, Logan the biker in black. That being said, motorcycles are a pretty awesome boho mode of transport, since they’re easy on gas and get you out into your environment.
The latter was what really won me over: Once we got off the highway, I could feel the moisture rising off a nearby stream, smell the pine needles and the farm fields. There’s no real separation between you on the bike and the family on the sidewalk or the horses in the field or the deer by the side of the road. Cars put boundaries between us and the rest of the world. On a bike, it’s impossible to pretend those exist.
I think we’ve gotten comfortable with our boundaries, and lots of us are a little scared to be out there without doors and windows. That takes courage… It turns out you do have to be pretty badass to ride a bike, after all.
(Just rediscovered this draft. It’s a little out of date, but what the heck.)