Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Motorbike Mania

Recently, I stumbled across this motorbike. I’m not sure who makes it but I was struck by its rugged, simplistic beauty and filled with the desire to own one. In college I owned a Honda 50cc motorbike and I used to cruise the city in the pre-dawn hours of morning, after I got off work. I had the streets to myself, riding with the company of my thoughts and the buzz of a two stroke engine.

For Americans, motorcycles are Rock and Roll. They are a symbol of youth and rebellion. Ride one and you are a young Marlon Brando or Peter Fonda. And in addition to the image they project, motorcycles are just plain fun to ride. All those reasons are why you see middle aged people on Harleys. The person who pulls up next to you on a Road King, decked out in leather chaps, could just as easily be your dentist.

Recently more people have also taken up riding scooters and motorbikes. Vespas are more popular now than when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn rode one in "My Roman Holiday." People are restoring Honda Cubs, the Model T of motorcycles, with the same zeal as vintage hot rods. I doubt anyone will make a sequel to "Easy Rider" featuring a Honda Rukus or Yamaha Vino, but the Top Gear hosts recently rode three motorbikes across Vietnam in one of their most epic adventures to date.

Getting somewhere on a motorbike is an accomplishment. A trip is a throwback to a time before the internet, on demand everything and jet travel. You ride at a leisury pace, a mere crawl in todays frentic society. I like to think this is why motorbikes have caught on recently--but whatever reason, it's good to see.

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