Wyatt Underwood's



[Me on my Sportster at a park]

My Harley dealer sells a T-shirt with the motto "If I have to explain, you couldn't understand."

I should probably take notice, but explanation's got a hold on me.... I'm hepless....[Little smiley-face]

Nothing else sounds like a Harley, and it's not just to the ears. The Harley rumble is elemental, it resonates in the marrow and the bloodcells. Your whole body attunes, settles into the rhythm. Blocks go by, then miles and more miles. When you have to stop, your body needs a moment or minutes to adjust to a world with no throb.

But while that throb lasts, you're more alive to the world: air brushes across any skin it can find, scents rush, even tastes borne on the air liven your tongue. The temperature makes sudden changes, as does the intensity of light when you ride past trees or buildings, cliffs or water. Bird calls pierce the rumble, sometimes even the rustle of leaves. And always the wind insists.

Part of the added aliveness results from the alertness required. Road conditions that make no difference to a driver could rob you of the traction that lets you control where the bike goes and how. A turn is a measured lean into that traction so the double gyroscopes of your wheels effect the turn. Sand, water, or oil on the road can't be ignored. They're complicating factors in that traction, possibly lethal. And traffic consists of barriers that dodge about beside, before, and behind you, a challenge to your skills and reactions and the nimbleness of the motorcycle.

Parking really is touching down, grounding. You throw the kickstand out and lean the bike onto it, careful that it takes and holds the weight. You turn the key and the throb ends for a while. You've returned to a pedestrian world with both relief and pride that you survived. Even without the throb, your step has an extra bounce and your shoulders added height.

And as soon as you can, you'll be back.

Want more? Look at the table of contents (on your left).