Dear Montana… today I write from the Crowsnest Pass in the Province of Alberta, your friendly neighbor to the north who has been as hospitable as she has beautiful… never to exceed your own beauty of course 😉 but beautiful none-the-less.
As I rode deeper into the outback of the Canadian Rockies, just north of the small town of Coleman, in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta… it suddenly occurred to me… this bike I ride right now, this motorcycle… is not just a bike… not just a motorcycle, it’s one of my best of friends. You know I had given “The Bike” a name last year… and I have to be honest… it just never stuck. First, it was a girl’s name, and that was probably where I went wrong. Sure, ships are named after girls, cars are too, but bikes… MY bike? I don’t know, it just occurred to me that the stuff I am doing with this friend of mine, is not the stuff of femininity. I don’t mean any disrespect to my fellow female explorers and adventurers, but when I am heading down a trail, and I am DRAWN to make that split-second decision to take a sharp left and head straight up that narrow, muddy, rocky, puddle ridden path and venture into the dangerous and unknown on my bike… it can only be my best buddy, my compadre, my partner in crime joining me on the most challenging of adventures. There is no room for actual fear or a desire to turn back… the words are “go” and “yes” and “conquer” and never retreat. On the contrary… “be careful”… “i don’t know” and “not a good idea” have no place at this moment in time, and will only diminish and destroy the experience every man and his bike is meant to feel together.
Our message to the wild and unknown that lies before us, goes something like this… “Bring it on… whatever you have to throw at me, at us… we can take it and we want it.” We are riding right on the edge… right on the edge of those “holy shit” moments and losing it all. The stakes are high… you don’t want to pick yourself and your trusted buddy up from the embarrassment of a muddy puddle of shame… or worse, find yourself at the bottom of a ravine, unconscious. But it’s that “holy shit” edge, if you will, that is where it all happens… where you are running on all cylinders of life… and it’s a beautiful thing.
Through thick and thin… we are going to explore and we are going to get through whatever obstacle lies ahead of us. And the fact of the matter is that my buddy doesn’t really need a name. He’s “My Bike” and he’s happy with the nomenclature. There is no room for “feelings” and “appearances” on these back roads, and certainly not formalities such as proper names. We are riding, and riding it what matters and makes us happy.
What makes this relationship, this bond so strong and significant is what bonds most relationships together… trust. If I did not have that with my bike… and we ride 50 miles deep into the grizzly bear back country without passing another human being… we are literally risking our lives… and as good as that feels… we both know, neither one of us will let the other down. I’ll get him out, and he’ll do the same for me. I’ve never been a soldier. I have the utmost respect for those who have gone to war… but with all due respect to the great warriors of history, and what they must have been through together… It would seem that my bike and I, when we are pushing the limits… have a similar bond to that of soldiers carrying out a mission together. The trust I have in my bike gives me the confidence to go where I want to go, and do what I need to do to conquer my enemy, which… you might say is those broken arms, legs, neck and always lurking around every corner… death. When riding hard, or anywhere for that matter, it’s a dance of sorts with death… we don’t want it to happen, we don’t ever want to take her home with us… but it is… without a doubt… a flirtation, and sometimes we want to see just how close we can get to complete and total tragedy, without ever opening the door and letting her in.
It’s great to just chug along and be thankful that your trusted friend is showing you the new unexplored territory, but… there is another dimension that’s worthy of discussion here… and that’s speed. This conversation we have goes something like this… “Bye – Bye”… and that is pretty much it… whatever is on your mind, whatever is behind you, whatever you want to leave behind you… is said a quick goodbye when you make that ever so subtle but effective twist of the wrist and leave it all in the dust. Yep, “see ya” feels good, and so we say it, and as selfish as the thought might be… sometimes it’s just what a man needs to set himself free when he needs it most.
There are all kinds of bikes… but I have to speak from my own experience and what riding means to me, to us… My bike and I are no spectacle to others. We’re the kind of riders that don’t mind getting dirty, our colors don’t match, our style is nonexistent… we don’t mind having paint chips on us… and we don’t need a bike name brand to impress anyone. Our “style” if you will, doesn’t need to play dress up and wear a theatrical uniform. Don’t get me started on the Harley guys and gals out there… but I will say this… Look, we get it, it’s good to wear leather so when the unexpected and unfortunate happens, you save your ass, and the skin that covers it, but I have to laugh at the degree to which this biking community dresses up like a bunch of comic book bad asses. Sure, some actually are the bad asses they are portraying, but I find it rather comical that the majority are CEOs and VPs of Sales who wish they weren’t. We get it, it is a culture, and when in Rome and all of that… but my bike and I would like to make a suggestion… look in the mirror, and then look at your buddy and then the tens of thousands of your community doing the same thing… and ask yourself… do you really feel like the rebel bad ass you are trying to portray as you blast your excessively loud hog down main street in an attempt to send us a not so subtle message that you’re perhaps a little more bad ass than you actually are? Or are you missing the point and do you feel like you are missing the boat you really long to be sailing on? Might you instead be following the path of least resistance and inadvertently just “fitting right in” with the crowd you were hoping to separate from, in spite of your best bad ass performance? A man and his motorcycle is, at its heart… is about Freedom. It’s about Independence… it’s not about following a flock of sheeple. But maybe that’s just me, and so I digress…
As we rode deeper down Forest Trunk road we came over the pinnacle of the mountain range… much to our dismay. No doubt, going down the hill is fun too, but the mindset is different. It’s not quite the same feeling you get when you are tackling a mountain, when you are reaching for the stars… Somehow, coming down is more like eating a freshly baked peach pie. It’s good, it’s great even, but it’s something Aunt Sally can do and enjoy, and so, you feel like everyone, and not the independent free spirit you do when you climb. You are now “going home” and home is where the cat sleeps.
R. McKinnon Baxter, an Automated Business and Online Marketing Expert, has sold nearly $50 Million in products online over the course of 13 years. Today, he enjoys his life as a Travel Writer along with the freedom of the mobile working lifestyle driven by his automated business model and strategies. To learn more about McKinnon’s principles and methodologies, visit www.AutomatedProducer.com.