It seems that the majority of motorcyclists on the road today are Greybeards like me.
Motorcycles have always been “Mystique on two wheels.” As kids we feigned motors for our bicycles with playing cards in the spokes. For 95% of us, as we got old enough to buy a motorcycle, life gave us higher priorities: education, service, a job, a spouse, a family, etc., that kept motorcycling simmering on a back-burner.
I was in my early 50s when a casual comment made half in jest over lunch got a positive response from my wife. The camel’s nose was in the tent! I took the Motorcycle Rider Safety Course over a very long weekend and qualified for my motorcycle endorsement on my license.
Two days later, I picked up my brand new 1100 cc cruiser. Instantly, I was a kid again. Riding to work or a simple evening cruise was not a sensory-deprived trip in an isolated cage, but an excellent open-air adventure.
Over the next year I travelled 12,000 miles by motorcycle, met hundreds of new friends from every walk of life and did mostly group rides of three or four to groups of 30 or 40.
I got a unique opportunity to get the Power Cruiser of my dreams: a six-cylinder beast with all the touring gear for extended trips. Words are insufficient to adequately explain the boundless joy in commanding a big cruiser capable of (but, of course, not doing) triple-digit speeds in seconds; cruising in absolute comfort for hours on end; and negotiating mountainous routes with aplomb.
As a lifetime of work and responsibility robbed me of my youth, vigor, and physical stamina, my precious motorcycle restored the immortality of my youth: no distance too great, no hill too steep for me and my mount! I enjoyed another 1.5 times around the Earth by motorcycle before physical infirmities threatened my ability to respond to emergencies and ended my motorcycling.
Seventy percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by cars violating the motorcycle right-of-way. Hang up and drive carefully: the Greybeard you save is simply trying to enjoy what’s left of a lifetime consumed by responsibility. Frank D. Banta