I have a confession to make:
I am a motorcyclist.
My friend Teresa, when introducing me, always says “And she rides a motorcycle!”
I asked her one time why she doesn’t introduce me as a friend she plays poker with, or a librarian or a past president of my alumni association, all of which is true.
She said the reason is that of all the things I might be, I didn’t look like a motorcyclist.
Leaving aside the argument of just what does a motorcyclist look like, I have to say there is something in me that bristles against being defined by my occupation, or what I drive, or what I do in my spare time.
But here’s the reality.
I am a librarian, a Catholic, a bleeding heart liberal.
And a motorcyclist.
Nothing drove this home more than recent events.
After a winter where I don’t think I took my bike out but once or twice after October, I really was looking forward to spring. And spring didn’t disappoint. Unlike last year with its wet and cold weather, spring came early to Jersey, and stayed for a while. There were many days in April where one could saddle up and ride without the “electrics.” This year promised a long and wonderful riding season full of interesting rides, dinner meetings and bike nights.
Then my bike broke down and was never fixed properly. Since April 24, I have only ridden my bike three times, and each time, my bike wound up being brought back to the shop.
At first I wondered if this was a sign that maybe I shouldn’t be riding. Then that distilled down to maybe I shouldn’t be riding a Harley. And the thought to trade in the Harley on a different breed took root and flourished.
But what stuck with me was the longing to ride. The snapping of the head in the direction of the sound of a motorcycle engine winding out. The ache in the heart when my peripheral vision would pick up a bike heading down the opposite side of the highway. The sigh of longing that escaped my lips when I would look out my front door and not see my bike parked in the street, waiting for me.
Long after I have sold any bike(s) I may own, gotten rid of my leathers and given away any motorcycle-related paraphernalia, I will still be a motorcyclist.
It’s not just something I do, it’s something I am.