I went to an old friend’s son’s hockey game last night. I didn’t grow up as a hockey player or fan. I never had a favourite team. There was never a Leafs or Habs or Canucks jersey in my closet. Sure, I played some road hockey and ‘took shots’ at buddies and took my turn standing in net with phone books taped to my legs, but I was never a hockey nut and my parents weren’t ‘hockey parents.’
I pretty much played every other sport you can imagine, though. I was a downhill skier in the winter and when I finally got my first dirt bike – a used 1980 Kawasaki KX80 – I was a motocrosser in the summer…and then in the winter too.
What is it about motocross (and maybe motorcycles in general) that holds such power over us? Our every waking moment is pretty much dominated by the thought of spinning wheels and hitting jumps and berms. I’m not sure it’s the same in every other sport.
I went with my girlfriend to meet an old friend of hers and her husband and new baby. They were great people and we talked about all the normal stuff people talk about when they meet and see each other for the first time in a while. Their phone rang and it was his mother calling. At the end of the conversation he was asked if they were coming over. He said that he didn’t think so because nothing was mentioned about a visit.
They are antique collectors and sellers. Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, sure enough, a while later their car was pulling into the driveway and the couple seemed a little surprised by this unannounced visit. I didn’t know what to expect.
They came in and all the polite introductions were made and we went back to our seats and continued the rather basic conversation. It was when the father asked me what I did for a living that it all changed.
I always say that I run an online ‘motorcycle’ magazine/website. I leave the type of motorcycling open just to get a sense of a person’s interest. They may be roadies, the may be motocrossers, or, like most often, they may not care about either. Well, it was at that point that the father mentioned they live in Hensall, Ontario (about 50 minutes straight north of London), and he asked if I had ever heard of or been to Hully Gully.
Yep, you know where this is going! Nobody else mattered in the room from that point on. We were talking about names of people we knew (I asked about #187 Jimmy Dickens and they knew the family). The father’s demeanor was completely transformed from ‘quiet parent on the couch smiling and nodding’ to active participant in a conversation to which I saw no end!
It’s amazing what the love of motorcycles can do. Then he mentioned that he had a mid-1950’s Honda Cub but that he was having difficulty locating a rear tire for it. Well, I’ve been after a Honda Cub for years (not actively searching, but always wishing I had one) and here was this new friend telling me he had one but that he just needed a tire. I told him I’d look into it and see if I could come up with one for him.
Yes, my motives are mostly self-serving because I figure if I can come through with the part, there’s a chance that little bike that changed the world could end up in my garage one day. “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” Remember that?
I also told him of my dream to one day take a bike like the Ducati Hyperstrada for a tour around the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. To my surprise, they’d actually heard of these French islands just 25K from the shores of Newfoundland. Yep, you read that correctly. Check it out HERE. I would say fewer than 5% of the people I mention this to have even heard of the islands’ existence.
Anyway, time melted away as we talked about everything we could that had to do with motorcycles and I think the rest of the group just sat and stared in disbelief at the father’s new-found exuberance. Before I knew it, it was time to head out to watch my buddy’s son’s hockey game. It was at that game where I got to thinking about the passion we all have for motorcycles and how different it is from other sports.
I know many of us play other sports seriously or simply for fun, but there is just no denying the deep-rooted passion we all share for the love of all things two-wheeled. I don’t even want to tell you about the hockey game anymore. To be perfectly honest, my friend told me the wrong time for the game and we got there just in time to see them all getting back into their cars after a hard-fought tie. Oh well, I’m sure they had fun…not motorcycle fun, but still fun.
Have a great week and enjoy any and all conversations you may find yourself in about any form of motorcycling. See you at the races…