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Old May 26th, 2016, 12:39 PM   #1
lizardywizard
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Why do we bond with motorcycles?

Ever since I saw that "Why are women attracted to motorcyclists/cycles" thread, I've felt like this is what I've really been wanting to get at... not why hypothetical "other people" admire our machines from afar, but why we feel a bond with them that could often be called love.

There are people who love their cars, who give them names and call them by a pronoun. But in the average car community you won't find too many of these people. In the motorcycling community, it's a much higher proportion.

We anthropomorphise our bikes. We talk about "bike bonding" courses, using images like this:



And we're constantly seeing this kind of photo on Pinterest and other places.



I confess I feel the same way about my bike. She has a name, she has a gender, she has a personality. She's not just a machine and there's no way in hell I'd just trade her in a few years down the line to get totaled by some squid.

We know why we ride. We might have ideas about why others admire our bikes. But why do we feel this depth of love for them? (Those who do, anyway.)
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Old May 26th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #2
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+1 for figuring out how to use anthropomorphise on a bike forum. hahahahahah

The complete opposite here. My bike is nothing more than a machine tool to me and refer to my 250 by "my" race number. Odd... isn't it?
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Old May 26th, 2016, 01:00 PM   #3
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I think it is because you guide the bike through turns and in a car more so with older cars you muscle them through turns. So they seem more alive. You never see a car flip on its side right itself and keep going.
* skip to 30 second mark*

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Old May 26th, 2016, 01:26 PM   #4
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+1 for figuring out how to use anthropomorphise on a bike forum. hahahahahah

The complete opposite here. My bike is nothing more than a machine tool to me and refer to my 250 by "my" race number. Odd... isn't it?
^^ that is interesting Chris

I mean there really is nothing wrong with that method of thinking at all, and in many ways it is literally the most accurate thought process around a racebike - it is absolutely a tool for the operator to wield

But I find myself sliding onto the other side of the fence; my bikes almost becoming a partner of sorts working toward the same goal. There have been more than one occasion where I literally have gotten off the track, and my response is to pat the side of the tank of my bike like it was a horse or a dog , alive and deserving of my praise for helping me.

Strange really.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 01:33 PM   #5
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It's been that way for 20+ yrs and all kinds of bikes and cars. Now I do have a very special place in my heart for old Monte Carlos, was my first car. Maybe just haven't found "the one" yet possibly?
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Old May 26th, 2016, 01:44 PM   #6
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For me; motorcycling is about carving the corners whether dirt or asphalt.
I'm sure it's an extension from bicycling which started for me from my earliest memories. Tricycle to begin with then the neighbours bike for my first stab (scab? ) at two wheels. I've always loved the corners and the rithym of the road.
When Honda came out with the Trail 50; a friend let me ride it around the yard and a little later my babysitters boyfriend wanted to get rid of me (parents were in Hawaii) so he turned me loose on his Honda 90! So KEWL and I loved that guy! Lol!
But; it wasn't until I was around 14 when I got a ride home from work on the back of a Yamy 350 with a rider that knew how to rail that I was hooked for life: there's 270 degree, banked exit off our 2nd narrows bridge and this guy dragged the pegs all the way around that curve!
I still pray the exit will be clear of traffic every time I head that way which is 2 or 3 times a week. I may not try to drag a knee anymore but I am still reminded of why I love motorcycles (all motorcycles) every time I'm in that corner!
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Old May 26th, 2016, 01:49 PM   #7
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OMG!!! I AM SO EXCITED YOU STARTED THIS THREAD! I was just telling my friend how I am becoming attached to my motorcycle, almost like it is a person who I am falling in love with. He told me I was insane! OMG! I am glad other people feel the same way as I do. I was beginning to think I was nuts. But then again, people said the same thing when I told them my dog is my best friend..
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Old May 26th, 2016, 02:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by csmith12 View Post
It's been that way for 20+ yrs and all kinds of bikes and cars. Now I do have a very special place in my heart for old Monte Carlos, was my first car. Maybe just haven't found "the one" yet possibly?
LOL now that I think about it, it probably would be a lot better if I could adopt that mentality as then it wouldn't be so hard for me to have to let one go, sell, or whatever.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 03:22 PM   #9
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I think the reason we bond is simple...if you take care of it, it will take care of you. And vice versa.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 03:55 PM   #10
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Admiral Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy: Well, this is a new ship. But she's got the right name. Now, you remember that, you hear?

Lt. Commander Data: I will, sir.

Admiral Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy: You treat her like a lady. And she'll always bring you home.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 04:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NevadaWolf View Post
Admiral Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy: Well, this is a new ship. But she's got the right name. Now, you remember that, you hear?

Lt. Commander Data: I will, sir.

Admiral Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy: You treat her like a lady. And she'll always bring you home.
This will get me in all kinds of hot water I'm sure but my little Ninja 250 seems happiest when she's being flogged!
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Old May 26th, 2016, 07:01 PM   #12
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macharity View Post
I think the reason we bond is simple...if you take care of it, it will take care of you. And vice versa.
I bought my bike the day after I passed the MSF course and received my license. I was desperate to ride and had been searching for weeks ... that day I made the decision ... the owner brought her to me that night in a downpour, on a trailer he pulled behind his truck. I had never seen it except on Craig's List. It had a dent in the gas tank and a repaired, cracked upper front fairing, but it started and it was music to my ears.

So when I saw her in the light, looking bruised, but with only 11,589 miles, I was like, "Okay. We can do this. I will take care of you and you, me."

And it's been pure joy ever since. Who can ever know how awesome it is to ride the twisties like you and the vehicle are one -- a car never feels like that, at least not your typical passenger car. Maybe an Indy class car is like that. But it is unique to me. It's fun and the bike doesn't complain too much if you take care of it.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 08:24 PM   #13
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I don't love my bike. I love how I feel when I'm having fun on the bike. Many times I hate my bike. Like right now. I just got back from 2000 miles, 2 long days of which were blasting up I-75. I hate that. I'll get over it and start riding again next week most likely.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 09:30 PM   #14
lizardywizard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity360 View Post
OMG!!! I AM SO EXCITED YOU STARTED THIS THREAD! I was just telling my friend how I am becoming attached to my motorcycle, almost like it is a person who I am falling in love with. He told me I was insane! OMG! I am glad other people feel the same way as I do. I was beginning to think I was nuts. But then again, people said the same thing when I told them my dog is my best friend..
I'm glad I could provide some solidarity! I'm so glad to have helped you not feel so alone.

I'm absolutely in love with my bike. I fuss over her, I love cleaning and working on her, and I totally give her hugs. Yep, I hug my bike.

Both me and my housemate seem to feel it's instinctive to give the seat a little pat when we go by too.

@NevadaWolf, I want that quote as my signature!

And @wendyjboss, that's a beautiful story... I can picture it in my head like a scene from a movie, you meeting this bike for the first time in the rain. I want this to be a short film or something.


So here's my take on the topic. I can't post a blog here yet still, but I wrote up some thoughts on this on another journal of mine a few days ago:

Quote:
I read a few days ago - I can’t remember where, now, or who said it - that we fall in love with motorcycles because they break.

I don’t think that’s strictly true. Hurricane’s never actually broken, thank the gods; she’s been in the shop for ridiculous amounts of time that basically ended in a checkup and a new shifter, and she lost a bolt today likely because the technician who worked on said shifter didn’t replace it properly, but that’s not “broken”. It’s more like “injured”, like “temporarily having a sore foot”.

I think there’s a grain of truth there, though. Part - not all, but part - of why it’s so easy to get attached to bikes is because they require our care.

As today showed, I can’t just ride Hurricane how I want whenever I want. I have to be attentive to my bike’s condition. I check her over before and after most rides - I confess, not before every single ride, and I’m so glad I did today. I checked the oil (good, since it was just replaced, and she runs better than ever on it), tires (rear pressure was perfect; front pressure was off by quite a bit for some reason. Now fixed, but I’ll have to keep an eye on that), brakes (looked good), chain (did my best to clean it up - the chain lube I have is so gunky and leaves white stuff everywhere)… and then as I was idly playing with her shifter I noticed the missing bolt. There’s more to a thorough pre-ride check, but that brought everything to a halt, and I ended up not riding after all.

Despite how it sounds, she’s a resilient machine. I’ve been hard on her; if I hadn’t dropped her so many times the shifter wouldn’t have needed replacing, and the bolts would have still been in factory condition - for want of a bolt the ride was lost, etc., or thankfully just postponed in this case. But I do have to pay attention to her, to listen to her engine, to check her vitals regularly. And having to focus on her, having to care - that does build a bond.

Like I mentioned, I changed her oil for the first time the other day. Though she’s only 490 miles young, she’s nine months old, and it really needed it. The stuff that came out was thick, brown, sludgy; the stuff in there now is yellowish and translucent. It’s shaved about 1000 rpm off what she needs to get up to any given speed - it really is worth doing before the dealership will tell you to do it.

The following is going to sound either borderline pornographic or unacceptably gory, or maybe both, so, you know, cover your ears now if you want. But there was an intimacy to it, something between a release of pressure and the healing of a wound. I had the drain pan ready to catch the oil, and I’d been told to expect gushing, but I didn’t expect hard enough; most of it went in the pan, but it spurted all over my hands, too, warm because you have to warm it before you can drain it. And I felt like she was relieved, but also very vulnerable; as the oil drained out, she became unrideable - turning the engine on would have ruined it. It was like putting someone on life support, rerouting their bodily fluids through a machine. She was on hold, in stasis, unable to be revived lest it kill her. She needed me now if she was to come back around at all.

So I cleaned her off and poured in the fresh oil, which she guzzled more of than I expected; nice fresh mineral oil, good for breaking in new engines. And… I don’t know. Even though she could have stayed in that stasis, that in-between point, without harm, I felt like I was performing open-heart surgery. But on a lover: someone whose trust, whose care, whose daily and mundane needs, were completely in my hands. While she couldn’t have stopped me from doing it, I still felt a kind of awe at how she’d let me see her so vulnerable.

She ran like a dream afterwards. But that moment, where I crouched with her oil all over my hands, with no turning back - I’ve really done it now, I have to follow through because right now I’ve just made her helpless - I don’t know how to describe how powerful and strange it was.

I hold her life in my hands every day in the garage. And out on the road every day, she holds my life in hers. She trusts me not to destroy her; I trust her not to destroy me. It’s fascinating, and frightening, and beautiful beyond compare.

Or as the motorcycle meme goes (apparently this is indeed a popular saying in the community):
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Old May 27th, 2016, 12:07 AM   #15
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I was beginning to think I was nuts.
We would know that we went bonkers as soon as we start humping our exhaust muffler right AFTER a ride!

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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:21 AM   #16
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whoa! All good posts, I think it comes down to I really love the way I feel when I'm riding you .... as was said by so many in creative and direct ways. But seriously how awesome is it to ride the closest to perfect line through twisties on a beautiful sun streaked day ... !!-)
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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
I hold her life in my hands every day in the garage. And out on the road every day, she holds my life in hers. She trusts me not to destroy her; I trust her not to destroy me. It’s fascinating, and frightening, and beautiful beyond compare.
This.... I love this. I am stealing this!
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Old May 27th, 2016, 06:34 AM   #18
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@NevadaWolf, I want that quote as my signature!
It's from Star Trek: The Next Generation Encounter at Farpoint part 1. First cameo by the original crew in the new series.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 06:37 AM   #19
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It's from Star Trek: The Next Generation Encounter at Farpoint part 1. First cameo by the original crew in the new series.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 06:44 AM   #20
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I once thought I was having a moment with my bike, then the weed wore off

It's more of an interaction than a bond, people just get attached to inanimate objects, case in point Japanese and their sex doll fetish.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:00 AM   #21
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I once thought I was having a moment with my bike, then the weed wore off

It's more of an interaction than a bond, people just get attached to inanimate objects, case in point Japanese and their sex doll fetish.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:12 AM   #22
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I once thought I was having a moment with my bike, then the weed wore off

It's more of an interaction than a bond, people just get attached to inanimate objects, case in point Japanese and their sex doll fetish.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:17 AM   #23
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Honestly, to me, I got really attached to my bike because it is the first vehicle I saved up my own money for and bought. My car was a gift from my grandmother, but my motorcycle is 100% mine. When you work for something it because so much more valuable to you.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:22 AM   #24
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I'm not crazy, the meds haven't worn off yet....
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Old May 27th, 2016, 10:40 AM   #25
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This.... I love this. I am stealing this!
Go right ahead!
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Old May 27th, 2016, 12:34 PM   #26
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I think the feeling I have for my bike is a state between fear and elation (riding) or grumpy and grateful (wrenching). Somewhere in that pendulum swing is that special moment that can only come from trust and confidence.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #27
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why.....

why do we bend motorcycles?

poor, innocent motorcycles

oops.........bond. ....... james bond.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 04:47 PM   #28
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Motorcycles hold your life in their hands much more so than cars. You have to learn to trust a motorcycle much more than car. You have to know it better. Take care of it and it will take care of you. I know my motorcycles way better than I know my cars.

For me, it's literally my zen. Have a ****** day? Go to the shop and work on a bike. Even if it's just a wax job. Check the chain. Check the tires. Check the fluids. Gets my mind off of the other parts of life.

Crank up the tunes and just go away for a while.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:11 PM   #29
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...
The following is going to sound either borderline pornographic or unacceptably gory...
You're one step closer to dominating the motorcycle maintenance sub genre of erotic fiction.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:16 PM   #30
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Isn't it because you're much more intimate with your bike than with your car?
You have to trust that motorcycle a lot more since you're more vulnerable; you're not surrounded by metal.
I haven't bonded yet, maybe because it's not MY bike (it's the bf's).
I did bond with the bike I rode during the MSF course though lol . Loved it. Wish I could've kept it
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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:21 PM   #31
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The bike becomes an extension of you, as you get feedback from the bike you cannot get from a car, while a car can be an extension, it will never feel the same as it does on a bike. Once you learn to ride without thinking about what you need to do, the bike feels as if it knows exactly what you want to do before you make the move to do it.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 10:24 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toEleven View Post
You're one step closer to dominating the motorcycle maintenance sub genre of erotic fiction.
My work here is done.

And yeah, I really liked my MSF bike too actually. Tiny little blue putt-putt. I love Hurricane the best, but I did like that bike.

Speaking of bike love, btw, the random Ninjette pic when I logged on was this lovely photo... someone lying across their yellow Ninja looking so content and happy, with such a peaceful smile. Sadly when I tried to copy the URL and post it here it just took me to the general gallery. There should be an easier way to get to individual pictures, like a permalink or something...

Anyway, if that's you, your picture is adorable.
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Old May 28th, 2016, 10:02 PM   #33
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I've always anthropomorphized my vehicles. And the pets are people. So ... yeah.

My bike is Marigold, and is a she. And yes, I pat her seat when I pass by in the garage.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 03:17 AM   #34
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It seems to me there are two kinds of people that ride for fun. The ones that want to be cowboys or cowgirls, and the ones that want to be knights. I'd bet in most peoples minds their bike is their steel horse. Thinks about Sturgis, out there in the Badlands, lots of cowboy legend there... I think most of us want to ride off into the sunset with our trusty steed to have adventures. How many great stories start of in a stagecoach a buckboard?
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Old May 29th, 2016, 07:09 AM   #35
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Quote:
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Motorcycles hold your life in their hands much more so than cars. You have to learn to trust a motorcycle much more than car. You have to know it better. Take care of it and it will take care of you. I know my motorcycles way better than I know my cars.

For me, it's literally my zen. Have a ****** day? Go to the shop and work on a bike. Even if it's just a wax job. Check the chain. Check the tires. Check the fluids. Gets my mind off of the other parts of life.

Crank up the tunes and just go away for a while.


I would had post the same, word by word.

Adding that I feel a deep connection with the tools that I use to work on my motorcycle, as well as on my other's bikes/cars/bicycles/karts.

Those have become extensions of my mind and hands.
Few things are more frustrating than reaching for the right tool at the very right moment (yes, it works like a symphony, where instruments must be played at the correct time) and not finding it there.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 06:46 PM   #36
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It seems to me there are two kinds of people that ride for fun. The ones that want to be cowboys or cowgirls, and the ones that want to be knights.
Guilty as charged, heh... if Knight Sabers count as knights anyway...
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 06:07 AM   #37
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My friend and I were talking this morning and i just realized I dont even know how to pop the hood of my car (sarcasm ), but I can fix my clutch, clutch and brake levers, adjust them, adjust my chain , change my oil, replace my turn signals, and Change the position of my shifter on my bike xD
talk about bonding <3
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 12:16 PM   #38
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^^ that is interesting Chris

There have been more than one occasion where I literally have gotten off the track, and my response is to pat the side of the tank of my bike like it was a horse or a dog , alive and deserving of my praise for helping me.

Strange really.
I pat Mantis on his forward fairing and gas tank quite frequently, even while riding. Occasionally I even talk to the being that is Mantis. We are pals who are constantly being hunted by caged, mindless beasts who have no regard to our safety. We have been through so much and we help each other. I spend over an hour each way to work (over 140 miles a day) it's my therapy, my me time, my passion, my freedom. I do as much maintenance on my own as I can and am always working towards more tools and knowledge for the job. We heal each other and grow together.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 12:24 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by 1wardogusmc View Post
I pat Mantis on his forward fairing and gas tank quite frequently, even while riding. Occasionally I even talk to the being that is Mantis. We are pals who are constantly being hunted by caged, mindless beasts who have no regard to our safety. We have been through so much and we help each other. I spend over an hour each way to work (over 140 miles a day) it's my therapy, my me time, my passion, my freedom. I do as much maintenance on my own as I can and am always working towards more tools and knowledge for the job. We heal each other and grow together.
That's beautiful.

I just ordered this book recently... apparently many others have conversations with their motorcycles. I often talk to Hurricane in my mind and give her little pats.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 12:40 PM   #40
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I seem to have another book to read on my list. Sounds good. Thanks.
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