Thursday, 12 May 2016

Morning muses - the biker life for me?

I'm feeling a bit reflective today, and with a cancelled meeting and accounts get done it seems like a great opportunity to sit down and reflect.

this is probably going to be all over the place - so you probably shouldn't waste your time reading it.

Last Saturday we were all set to take a ride out to Hebden Bridge for the sideburn event that was there. I barely rode last year as all my spare time was involved in building the 345.

I was hoping that going to Born free was going to give me some clarity of mind as to what I wanted to build next as my main riding bike. Before going I thought in my head that it would be a long, skinny springer bike - very much akin to Caleb Owens bike Uncle Sam. That bike with him on it looks cool as hell to me; I think the backdrop of the pacific road may has as much to do with it - but that's what I thought I wanted. Even to the point that I had some extended springers and an old beaten up knucklehead frame there ready to work with.

I may have mused over this on here before - but Born Free wasnt exactly what I had in my head - that isn't a slight on the show in any way shape of form; as I think the expectation in my head was all wrong. I think I was expecting to walk back in time to some 60's event where EVERY bike was old. That's the power of the internet I guess, its all smoke and mirrors, and people showing you certain parts of their lives (as I also do through instagram).

I know some people use bikes as their daily commuters etc; but to me this "chopper world" is largely dressing up for adults. Escapism from your normal life. That's not to say your normal life sucks; personally I'm blessed with a great family, was born into a time where hard work and determination means you can succeed, and have good friends; BUT I do fantasise about taking off on a bike and living some weird nomadic biker life. It'll never happen, I'm far too much of a worrier and like consistency in my life but it doesn't stop you from thinking about it.

Anyways - back to born free - I was amazed by the sheer numbers of bikes, but modern bikes - all Harleys. over here it would be swarms of superbikes. but it got me thinking - I just needed a bike to jump on and ride. not worry about what needed to be fixed, what might fall off, how far I'd get before having to phone the AA. I ended up buying a stockish sportster.

I also realised that I had far too many projects on the go, and its at that time I swapped out the custom frame 45 project for a Sportster long chop. I now had a dilemma - I had 2 bikes that in theory were push button and go bikes - so wanting to live my long bike dream, within 2 weeks of buying the sportser I moved it on again.

The problem is that that I never got on with the long chop. Yeh, it looked the part, but there was 2 issues - I hadnt built it, and it was awful to ride! Form over function! I know some people argue the toss and say you get used to long fork bikes etc.... well not this guy.... I did a sale / part ex deal with it last week. I had given it a few laps around the race track at the barn as a parting ride, but I wasn't sad to see it go. The deal involved a 76 xs650. After the lad tentatively rode off with a look that exuded both elation and fear in equal proportion I fired up the xs and did a few laps. It was great fun; it wasn't trying to kill you, it handled well, and even had a front brake!

My main issue was now that a stock 57 plate sportster had been acquired a few days earlier, and as I only needed 1 "go to" bike the xs has just left my possession. so sadly that bike had also left despite me trying to reason with myself to keep it.

Roll on to Saturday morning and the much anticiapted ride out - I left the key in the bike so it was flat on saturday morning. while bump starting it it got hit by a car overshooting a side street so my day was finished before I started. The bike is fine, my knees are cut to shreds, but they'll heal.

Its given me a bit of a shake up, and time to sit and think; something i'm not very good at doing - I always like to be doing something.

Its had me thinking:-

The internet and now social media - are they a good thing for you?

why do I spend so long building these bikes sat alone in a barn?

Should I jack bikes in all together and focus on being a good dad and businessman and thats it?

these are the answers I've come up with so far:-

The internet and now social media - are they a good thing for you?

  • with all good comes evil, both platforms allow you to meet people, share knowledge and information, and provide opportunities for other ventures along the way. They do promote an unrealistic and sometimes an unachievable image / lifestyle. Take it with a pinch of salt in some cases - people only put the good stuff online, and you never know what peoples personal circumstances are (especially financially) walking into this world. Use it for the good - and ensure you add to the community rather than becoming like a lot of people who resent or bitch about the achievements / possessions of others. 
why do I spend so long building these bikes sat alone in a barn?
  • because I need to. I need to feel like can achieve tangible goals in my life. I can go to work and produce a good report, or procedure or whatever the client wants, but for me a real achievement is in learning, and creating. I could definitely do other less expensive hobbies, but the "fancy dress" escapism side of things definitely appeals to me. I also have a lot invested in this - not just financially, but the learning that I've done. I'm very quick to put myself down with the amount that I don't know. but with all the trial and error that I've put in over the past 7 years or so, I guess I know more than most these days. The solitary bit is also good for me, when i'm making things my brain is fairly clear and the pressures of life dont seem to be present for that time.
Should I jack bikes in all together and focus on being a good dad and businessman and thats it?

  • This is the hard one for me. the compromise between being the provider for the family, and then the guilt of the time and money that I put into selfish personal endeavours. I think that I have a good compromise in reality. a lot of the money I spend on bikes is generated from that life - buying, selling, making etc. I'm guilt free on the knucklehead engine as all that money came from my buying and selling which I have a separate Paypal for. As for being a good dad- I feel that this compliments them. I hope that my achievements will inspire the kids to see that if you want something in life that you have to go and get it. That isn't sat on your butt doing a 9-5 its putting in the hours and always trying to better yourself. they probably wont like bikes, I'm cool with that - but hopefully they will learn from the values that I can pass on to them.

So in light of all above I'll carry on down my merry little path. No matter what the world will keep spinning, and people will keep doing what they are doing. Some times you have to walk down a path and see where it leads. 

Sometimes you have to stop for a minute, think about where you have been and where you are headed and decide if that is still the path you wish to follow. 

I choose to keep making mistakes, and to keep learning from them. Its the only way I know how. 

now if you've got to this point youve probably a lot of work to catch up with, or you have been on the toilet that long that youre legs are dead. go forward and live your life the way that YOU seem fit.

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