November 24th. What a great day to remember all the folks who have help us out along our way as motorcyclists.
Time to remember that friend who used to let you rip around on his minibike because he had one and your parents forbid you having one. Time to remember the guys down at the moto shop who let you hang around. Time to remember the folks who helped you figure out how to work the throttle and the clutch - at the same time! Time to remember the friend who helped you do your first valve adjustment. Time to remember the folks who stopped to help you when you were broken down on the side of the road. Time to remember the cool guys who let you come on their rides when you were just starting out, and then made sure you didn't get lost or dropped when you fell behind. Time to remember the cop who cut you some slack when you were being a fool on your bike.
The list goes on and on, doesn't it? Folks often tend to view motorcycling as this intensely individual activity. When you're riding it's all up to you. Head in your helmet, by yourself (often), iPod blasting in your ears (sometimes), captaining your own ship (always), encapsulated in experience if not in steel. Yet when I think back, motorcycling has often depended on other people to a great degree. Not just the folks who helped, but the folks who've been there, who've shared the moment, the view, the road food, the buzz of a twisty road ridden quickly. The folks who helped us keep going. The folks who took care of us when we were hurt or broken down. The folks who showed us the way when we were learning or lost. The folks whose kindness made it all so much better.
Today is a good day to remember those folks, and having remembered them and all their many kindnesses to us, today is a day to make sure we pay those kindnesses forward. Today is a good day to help a newbie rider, to share a favorite backroad, to buy another rider's lunch, to help someone work on a broken bike, to show the smooth way through a turn, to stop to help a broken down rider, to lead or sweep a group ride. Today is a day to remember everyone who made motorcycling so much more than an intensely individual experience, and do the same for another rider. Ride it forward.
Miss you, Colin.