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Flying Without Wings


Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul. ~Author Unknown

 They are the sexiest thing on two wheels, rockets that fly on pavement evoking the feelings of being a airplane pilot, a jet pilot cruising at mach speeds in an open cockpit being buffeted by winds, pelted by smells as you fly into the coolness of shadows and explode into the heat of the sunshine. Fly on two wheels and you will come to appreciate the smile of a dog as it sticks it’s head out of the window.

I love riding motorcycles, enjoy the exhilaration of speed, the feeling of raw power purring inches beneath my body, thrive on the feeling of freedom when riding for hours on open country roads listening to nothing but the whine of an engine, a whine that eventually fades to nothing creating a void and in that void hearing the beat of your own heart mile after blissful mile.

This weekend Chicago hosted the International Motorcycle Show. I attend the past two years to see the latest in two wheeled technology, to marvel at the craftsman ship and the artistry of the custom creations, the bends in the sparkling chrome, the intricate paint jobs some which are fantastical in the blend of images and color while others breathe beauty in delicate tones. I like to take my time at the show, take enough time at each bike to burn the subtleties of the craftsmanship deep into my mind’s eye, love to imagine myself seated on the bike flying over the open roads before moving on to the next work of art, my next fantasy. I love them all, the sport bikes exuding speed wind cutting speed while standing still, the cruisers flexing their prodigious muscle, mostly I love the minimalist vintage bikes, the raw steel, raw design, naked beauty.

Last year, I attended with my grandson. I felt it was time this 6 year old boy was introduced to the world of two wheeled wonder. He likes to sit on the motorcycle in my garage, twist the throttle and make engine sounds while he pretends to be riding. He was thrilled at the show, so thrilled he wanted to take in every bike, sit on every bike and pretend but sit on them for only a few moments until the next bike called to him and he rushed to that bike then next and the next and the next. There was a display of custom bikes I wanted to absorb, view from every conceivable angle but he quickly became antsy and wanted to move on because these bikes were not to be sat upon and his goal was to sit on every bike at the show and have me take a picture of  him.

I planned to attend the show this Friday. My calendar was marked for a 2 pm exit from work at which time I would hurry down to the show before the heavy traffic made the trip very difficult. Then a meeting was called, a meeting I had to attend, a meeting at 3:30 pm. I still thought I could make the show despite having to leave later than planned, thought I could make it until the snow started falling at lunch time, started sticking to the streets which would, at minimum, double the travel time. I finally got out of work at 5:00 pm too late to attend the show, to late to walk up and down the displays of two wheeled beauty, too late to run my fingers over the perfectly contoured chrome and steel, too late to sit on the bikes and imagine myself on the twisty open roads of America flying without wings.

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2 comments on “Flying Without Wings

  1. I have not yet attended a motorcycle this year which makes me upset. Last year I went to the Easy Rider show in LA when I was out that way for work. Loved It. Work can sometimes work for you or against year. Today I tooled around with my cycle in the Igloo I call my garage. With 8 inches of fresh powder outside, I did not see the light of day.

  2. I haven’t been to that bike show, which comes to Cleveland, in years. Life just gets in the way of things we enjoy. At least this winter has been mild and I’ve been able to ride each and every month.

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