I guess if I was pressed, I would be able to say with certainty where my desire to start riding again comes from. But, it seems more reasoned to think that there is not a single reason that I’ve begun to start thinking about riding again. Instead, there are a number of good reasons why I’ve begun to ride again, so I’ll try to give you a little background.
Between the ages of about 13 and 22 I rode a number of small, mostly off-road bikes. I owned a Yamaha LTMX 100, which is a 100cc MotoX bike, and then after going into the Air Force, I purchased a Honda MR 250, onto which I installed a brake light, so that it was street legal for the roads of New Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed riding all of those bikes, and even though I had a few accidents, I was never really hurt in any way. Unless you consider falling into a cactus while riding in the desert as being hurt, this remains a true statement. It does need to be said that I needed help to get all of the cactus needles out of my body, and it took hours before I could even think about walking around.
It’s been about 30 years or so since I did this riding as a younger guy, and after watching Neal Baily Rides Peru, I guess I was swept away by that force of nature that claims us, stakes out territory, and is relentless in taking control until we submit, and give in to the force. In my case, I did not fight, but instead, I embraced the force, and with a glimmer in my eye, I started on my journey to become M/C certified, and to begin preparation for a trip to Patagonia in 2014.
I recall that as I rode when I was young, there was a good deal of stress put on my body as I rode quickly between the trees, and through the paths in the woods behind my home in Connecticut. I was lucky to have a trail network directly behind the house, and a neighbor that was every bit as crazy as I was. He also owned a bike, and as I’ve come to know him more and more over the years, I realize that this guy (Chuck) was a perfectionist, with a zest for life. He was a radical, enthusiastic, take-no-prisoners kind of rider, and he was my buddy.
The two of us would routinely ride in the woods, and we’d come back completely exhausted, with our forearms engorged with blood from trying to slow down this little bikes in preparation for the next turn, or to avoid the next tree. Thinking about this kind of torture, and how it might affect me now that I’m “Over 50”, I carefully considered my state of health, and decided that I was finally going to start losing weight, so that when the time came to ride in Patagonia, I would be in top shape, and able to ride every minute of every mile with a smile on my face, enjoying it to the fullest. So, I tied together the weight loss program with the desire to tour Patagonia, and that’s how Neal Bailey inspired me to lose weight, and get in shape for the trip. Thanks Neal, your inspiration was very much appreciated.