Motorcycles Are A Gift to Mankind So We Bless Them And Each Other
I’ve never been much of a joiner. I suppose I ascribe to the old Groucho Marx adage:
“PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER.”
It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s more that I don’t really care for most people or wish to hang out with them – at least for very long. So it might seem a little counter-intuitive when I say that I spent some time over the weekend doing exactly that thing I rarely do.
I took a ride with my best friend and paid a visit to one of the staple events of the motorcycling world, a “Blessing of the Bikes.”
As long as I’ve been riding (and it’s now approaching forty years off and on), the act of climbing on a motorcycle and tearing ass down the road has been a solitary pursuit. A thing I do to clear my head and test my reflexes. A chance to feel the road and concentrate on what I’m doing fully, and that sort of focus is generally hard to come by at the pace we live these days. You always feel the tug of duty, a feeling that you should be engaged in something productive. So making this kind of social run was a novelty for me, and now that I can look back on it, I can safely say it will remain a novelty.
Don’t get me wrong; I feel a real kinship with riders, and it has nothing to do with what make of bike they ride, what sort of political views they may have or any idea that we have much in common other than a love of motorcycles and riding them.
But that’s enough, more than enough, to make me feel at home surrounded by bikeriders.
During the event in question, the annual Lakeshore Blessing of the Bikes in Holland, Michigan, I was taken by the fact that all those different people with their divergent tastes in machines felt it necessary to gather and receive what was basically a short prayer for their safety during their upcoming year one the road.
I can offer my personal guarantee that among the few thousand on hand for the event, there are some I’d like to see in jail, some I’d like to see have their voting privileges permanently revoked, some who I believe should be horse-whipped and placed in stocks in the public square and some who I would like to personally thank for their efforts.
And that’s what made the event so good. It’s also something genuinely in short supply in our society. We spend a lot of time in solitary pursuits. Texting. Working at computers. Commuting. And though all those activities seem unavoidable, they do prevent us from making actual connections while we try to connect. Being on hand to see all those people with a common bond, whatever that might be, gave me a lot of hope for the future and reminded me that, in general, we’re all pulling against the same strong tide and trying to accomplish something, anything.
It also made me want to offer everyone who rides a bike my sincere wish for happiness and safety. Neither of those things can be guaranteed by a Constitution or document, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting if for all my fellow riders.
So there it is.
I don’t have to like you and you certainly don’t have to like me, but I do offer you my respect and I expect the same from all of you.
At the core, I believe that is the principle of democracy – and riding a bike – I find most appealing.
I won’t be going to this kind of event every year, but I will be thinking about you all and wishing you the best.