From hereafter, a man’s motorcycle is an archetype to its own; the Shadow, the Nighthawk, Rebels, and Triumphs, they are named after men and legends, Norton, Indians & Harley, or weapons of militant use, the Enfields of the world, protecting borders and nations, and carrying riders from the Jungles of India, to the autobahns of Germany and backroads of America. The two wheels, frame and analog parts that come together to give its rider a means to move, can make a man King for a day. He forms a relationship with his bike, like a lover, you listen to her needs, and she replies in tow with favors and the gift of travel. There is a keen magic in the ride, a kind of science that transcends the mere classical mechanics. Nothing is done insensibly, or without meaning, a ride in the country hearkens up new adventures and a greater sense of global positioning, broadening ones territory, and exposing oneself to the forays out from his own home, simultaneously opening up new channels and pathways to the interior of the soul. For the way traveled is as much within as it is without.
I was thinking about the machine that a motorcycle is, a wonderful feat of technology, and how our ancient ancestors might have perceived it. For instance, if the Egyptians or Mayans, or Vikings were on our streets and in our cities today, what would they think about a Harley Davidson, or in my case, an ‘82 army special Honda Nighthawk? Would the builders of the pyramids, and clinker warships, be struck with awe upon seeing a V-twin engine roaring to life, and seeing the rubber they used as offerings to their Gods, used create the tires that support a mortal man to fly down a freeway at 120km/hr. What would the Vikings think about our use of iron and steel in building engines and carburetors, and mufflers, that sound like wild beasts of the North. What would Eirik the Red, that Norse Barbarian of the sea roads, drive if he had a motorcycle? Methinks the ancients would probably be as compelled by our brand of technology in the form of motorcycles and moving parts as we are of their sacred geometric pyramids, longhalls, and carved wagons.
We ride these modern day horses of metal, manipulated by forges and machines to create strong, fast, and powerful means of getting us from one place to another. Yet the motorcycle is much more than this. Compared to a car, where you are experiencing the world through a kind of screen, your windshield, on a motorbike you are the scene, and have a lot more intimate relationship with the road. The pavement rushing beneath your feet a few inches below is real, and the buffeting winds of an eighteen-wheeler can blow you sideways as you pass by. There are a multitude of things that can spell bad news for a bike, its the unforeseen aspects of the traveled road that one needs to be aware of, the gravel in the turn, the oil in the middle of the lane, a darting deer in your path or at high speeds even a squirrel can upset ones day, that knocking sound in your engine, blind spots, black ice sheets, wet sand on forest service roads, keeping your steed steady at speed on major highways, potholes on the back-roads, roadkill; these are some elements that are more risk laden than when driving in a car. There is a lot less allowance for these obstacles and hazards.
It takes a certain kind of man to ride on two wheels, a quality of courage, and daringness. Like having a psychedelic experience with an unknown drug, starting a movement, or touring the world to foreign countries, and with the risks come bounty. It’s the pioneering spirit of seeing beyond whats in the bend in the road, or over the next mountain, and what life is like, further away from comfort. I think that riding a motorcycle is an appropriate form of travel for someone like myself, nomadic, free, and original. I relate it not only to the lifestyle I have chosen to carve out, or the romance of the biker culture, but to deeper reasons, like ancestry, and a sense of primordial instinct. To be a wanderer, a master of travel, to know that you are the rider, and not the riden. With self driving, automated cars these days, it becomes very easy to drive absent mindedly, perhaps while you are checking your text messages, or talking to passengers. With a motorbike, you must enter into a kind of zen meditation before and during your trip. There is a confidence when you cover the miles of a long journey, ranging through all kinds of weather and terrain to reach your destination, to meet a friend, a brother, kinfolk, and ultimately to come to terms with yourself, taking stock of where you are, and what you are made of, and what you have accomplished.
Some folks around the county have started calling me ‘The Biking Viking’, and I thought it an apt name for this transmission. I guess there is a dose of truth in that. The Vikings were far rangers and explorers of new land, and they moved with a fierceness behind them, but they were also craftsman and navigators, they would be our master mechanics and pack leaders of today. It is written in my genetic code, to instigate something, lead a tribe, start the world, it’s the lions nature, and my affinity with Norse paganism is worked with magic into my bike itself. :R:oad prayers before every trip, a wayfinding Taufr hanging from my bars, :RUNES: and freedom mantras painted in black camo on the side panels, and travel staves on the ammo cases. Mead mixed in the fuel tank, and a small library of motorcycle literature and poetry in my cargo. I’ve merged my DNA with the very lifeblood of this bike. Though my own mare has only been on the road shy two months, I’ve riden her almost 4,000 kilometers. For awhile I mounted a set of 10 point stag antlers to the front, until having lucid dream that the bike took offense to the horns, gender confusion issues I think, so I took them off, she is my woman after all. I rode with her to the Laurentians of Quebec and back to meet my brother in arms, cruised backroads to Kingston, and all around the townships of Bastard/Rideau Lakes, & Leeds and Grenville; Athens, Plum Hollow, Lyndhurst, Harlem, Chantry, Portland, Lombardy, Morton, The Bush, Westport, Newboro, Forfar, and my current digs at a cabin in Delta, where the Old Bastards got their start up. Soon it will be time to park her away for the riding season, and mentally, at least in this Canadian climate, I’ve given myself until Samhain to enjoy a few last rides, and languish in the autumn colors of the backroads of Ontario. Then she is going to be in good hands with a brother in the club for the winter months while she gets reworked, tuned, and built back up again, maybe even a paint job, a whole new heroine.
I’ll be parting with one lady and looking for another on a grand adventure in India for five months. Next month, I’ll take flight for the sacred lands and find myself a Royal Enfield on the streets of Mumbai in Maharasthra, then ride it to Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry, before heading North, winding my way through the vastness of India, en route to the Himalayas and the holy Yoga towns. This being said, I have no itinerary, the monsoon rains hit India off the Arabian Sea in November, and it may be more practical to find something more kin to elemental travel like a VW bus or some other alternative. I am leaving as much openness as humanly possible for the mystical, magical and unexpected to happen along the heroic journey. My travels in the Kali Yuga will be guided by intuition, ritual, and cultural sensitivity, like the Icelandic Vegvisir stave on the back of my hand does for me in a more familiar home.
There I will encounter men and women of the sorts I have never met and some I have; Sadhus, Pilgrims, Muslims, Hindoos, Peasants, Beggars, Farmers, Children, Tourists, Fellow Bikers and Nomad Travelers like myself. The myths waiting to be told, the old Gods and Goddesses to be encountered, and the wild places and spaces soon to be visited makes the blood in my heart pump faster, and an inner fire stoke hotter than before. The new year will be brought in with ceremony, awe, and wonder. They also say India is the place of Love, where one falls in Love, with oneself? with the land? with ones soul mate? Perhaps all three. Perhaps an alchemy of all things unknown. Most certainly.