Why We Love the Ride
As a kid, seeing my Dad and his friends heading out on their dirt bikes drew me into another world. The bikes rolling. The smell and sound of those old 2-strokes leaving my sight, heading out into the world. I was left playing on my bicycle with my neighborhood friends, making motorcycle sounds in imitation of the bike I really wanted to ride.
Growing up, I dreamed about dirt bikes every waking minute of every day. My introduction to dirt bike riding came in the form of my friend’s little Honda 50. I think I rode it more than he did. Then I got my first real dirt bike - a 1986 Honda XR80.
About 500 metres up the road from my house was a retired Department of Transportation pit we called the Crusher. My friends and I would burn through countless tanks of fuel there. All the while, our folks could hear us from home so they knew we were alive. We came home tired, happy and dirty. The ideal for any kid.
The day I turned 16, I got my beginner’s permit and as soon as possible, I had my motorcycle license. My best friend and I both bought Yamaha DT200s; quiet, capable and best of all, they were street legal 2-stroke dirt bikes. We were now able to join rides with my Dad and his buddies. These were great adventures.
Fast forward to today. I’m 45, married, and have a beautiful family. I have been self-employed for almost 20 years. This does not mean 20 years of stress-free living, in my bathrobe at home sipping lattés. We have the same stresses as all families, but dirt biking continues to be my go-to activity, this time as a stress reliever.
About eight years ago, I bought my first dirt bike as an “adult”. Since then, I’ve been through a few bikes, countless parts, and I’ve made close friends with some of the best people I know. These days the ride is about time alone in my head. Time pushing myself physically and mentally while riding to and though beautiful places. Physically, I’m in better shape than I was in high school, save for a few lingering injuries which I attribute to regular dirt biking and mountain biking.
Sometimes the ride is a chill time with one of my soul brothers. Sometimes it’s a posse out for an imaginary race. Sometimes it’s a series of trials tests, and sometimes it’s just about getting out and meeting new people or seeing a new place. Sometimes it’s working at the local hare scramble races, helping riders through their races. The ride is always something different for me and that’s part of what keeps me wanting for the next outing.
That’s what the ride is for me. What does the ride mean to you?