As much as I love to wrench (well, it is a love-hate-relationship), I love riding even more. The thrill of the speed, of the small margins separating success from disaster, the wind in my face… There is no feeling like it. So today the Nite Ryderz assembled for the second time this season…
Today it was time to give the old KTM EXC 450 a good run. Granted, riding in the city on enduro tires isn’t exactly optimal gripwise, but it’s not unrideable in any way. And the bike itself is so damn nimble and agile, it feels like it was designed to cruise through traffic, jump off sidewalks and swallow potholes. How will I ever be able to sell it?
I’ve been trying to teach my brother how to ride a bike, rather than drive it like a car. Personal preference aside, I truly believe that lane splitting and riding aggressively save lives. I’m not saying that you should ride dangerously, nor take too many risks, but riding a bike requires a certain mindset, a willingness to use that extraordinary power and speed at just the right time. In all honesty, I’ve had my share of scares these last years, but you always take something with you from those moments and what now might look like reckless riding is actually pretty controlled. Then again, I’m not doing powerwheelies with my sport bike, nor am I riding 200 km/h so harnessing the power and using it right in the urban setting I normally ride in, is not super difficult either. I mean, I am not a riding master.
What truly astonishes me are the old geezers in full gore-tex gear, riding their BMW800GS like they were driving a car, not having a smile on their face and being to grumpy the wave at other riders. How do you lose that feeling? I am happy to say that they aren’t that many though. Most people running up to another biker will say “hi” and chat for awhile about bikes, and that too is a part of the magic surrounding biker life.
Having the opportunity of owning two completely different bikes, I’ve noticed that riding my Honda gives me more waves than riding my KTM. It’s like the commuter riders, for a lack of better word, and cruisers don’t appreciate the dirt bikes, unless they too have an offroad interest. It’s like they consider a dirt bike, even a 450 which is quite a powerful enduro, more as moped or something. Strange considering the awesome torque and power of a bigger dirt bike.
Sport bike riders often waves, and I think they get the thrill because what they feel when riding fast is the same feeling an enduro rider gets when riding a technically difficult path in the woods. And many Harley riders here in Sweden seem to think that they are the baddest men alive and that it’s beneath their dignity acknowledging other riders. Well, fuck’em, right? I’ll continue to ride whichever bike I feel gives me a smile and a warm fuzzy feeling inside. And I’ll continue to greet other bikers too. If they don’t respond, it’s their loss!