Sunday, May 4, 2008

Crisp - Sturgis 2007

Sturgis 2007

Early morning. A little coffee and maybe a sweet roll in the belly and you are ready to roll.

Your choices for the day’s ride are many. The stark beauty of the Badlands is waiting. The close up, three dimensional views (and yes, if there is a fourth dimension it has to exist right there) of Mount Rushmore are waiting too. Listen. It doesn’t matter how many photos you take or have seen. If you haven’t panned the granite presidents with your own eyes you have not really seen them.

Or you can head for the Badlands, Spearfish canyon, Devils Tower, Custer national Park and the famous Needles rock formations. You can also visit Crazy Horse monument (literally the biggest Native American of all time). Don’t forget the Mother of them all…Sturgis for a take on crowd gathering at its finest. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

They are all day rides and they are all great rides...filled with the beauty of the land and enough curves to keep you alert. Before the day is over you will air your iron pony toward every degree and every cardinal point on the compass. You will wonder at the feel of the grips in your hands, the torque that comes on the instant you twist that grip. It will happen hundreds of times on a day trip and, if you are lucky, millions of times during your life of riding.

You check for the neutral light and then thumb the switch. "Crank!" It’s the gears of the starter, immediately launching itself at the heart of the big bagger’s engine. "Thump!" It’s the first explosion of air and fuel in protest to the starter’s sudden shot of energy.  "Crank…Thump…Rumble!!" The bike fires up faster than you can read these words and settles into the classic, “potato, potato” rhythm that gives the icon its reputation.

You pause to wait for the oil to begin circulating from the engine’s crankcase to the outer reaches of the engine casings.  The oil will warm and lubricate the bike in preparation for a full day of torque and horsepower responses. During the pause you work through the routine of gloves, sunglasses, zippers and maybe a do-rag. Then you mount. 

You throw a leg over the iron horse and simultaneously lean your weight from left to right as you wrestle the pony up from an awkward incline against the kickstand. Then you have her upright and balanced but she is still clumsy… waiting for the centrifugal effect of wheels turning to make her the graceful blend of form and function that she is.

Your left hand squeezes the clutch while a practiced left foot finds and presses the linkage to check...yes, she is in first gear. A slow, deliberate release of the clutch with just the right combination of right hand turning the throttle and she is in motion. The air in front of you reluctantly gives way as you slice through it, creating turbulence most noticeable in your hair, your shirtsleeves and your pant legs.

Crisp. Early morning in the Black Hills. The air is perfect and taking huge gulps of it is the best way to enjoy the route to wherever you are going. The air is also crystal clear and the views of everything are striking in panorama. Yes folks, no special 3D glasses required.

You will never be as close to God as you are when you are riding a motorcycle on the edge. It is up to you to define the edge but it is really anywhere from zero to infinity in terms of miles an hour. You can be gone instantly if you are at a stoplight and the driver behind you doesn’t stop. You can be gone instantly if you tire on a long stretch of Interstate and forget to counter steer when on the exit ramp. You can be gone instantly if that cage driver in the opposite lane approaching suddenly decides to make a left turn in front of you.

In any event, you are right there at His doorstep, waving as you pass by. He, or She says, “Today is your day so enjoy. The time will come when I will call you home but for now, enjoy that earthly pleasure. By the way, what kind of pipes do you have on that Hog?”

I am grateful all right. Thanks to my amazing wife Julieann who is the Earth Angel always on my shoulder and thanks to God for another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom, nice post! I'm new to the bike scene still but I think you've done a great job describing what it's like to drive a motorcycle.

Are you going to be heading to Sturgis for this year's rally? In case you are, I wanted to give you a heads up... I work with Progressive Insurance and am happy to say that we've got a booth at Sturgis's Thunder Road this year!

We'll be giving away some neat stuff including a free exclusive Sucker Punch Sallys custom-designed t-shirt. To get it just go to our website:

Then print out the coupon and show it at our booth to get the shirt! There will also be a chance to win a custom Sucker Punch Sallys bike!

By the way, I hope I'm not overstepping any boundaries by commenting on your blog about this... I'm hoping you're going again and are interested. Let me know if you have any questions, and we hope to see you at Sturgis!

Harold Doherty