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Love Machine

Originally Published in the IAMC Newsletter, June 2013
Editor’s note: This article is republished by permission of the author, Peter Jones, and originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of Cycle World, pp. 72-73. For many it captures the inspiration of motorcycles and sums up “the why of riding.”

LOVE OLD BIKES FOR WHAT THEY WERE AND NEW BIKES for what they are. I love the romance of kick starts and the convenience of starter buttons. I love bikes with more power than I sometimes have the discretion to use properly. I love passing cars where no car can pass. I love how motorcycles keep getting quicker, if not faster. I love the feeling of freedom and power a bike gives me.

I love the responsibility of riding smartly. I love being alone on a motorcycle. I love riding in groups. I love how motorcycles make me feel like the hero I’m not. I love that riding a motorcycle means I might be half as cool as Steve McQueen.

I love that motorcycles are confusing to non-bikers. I love how being a biker is to be a member of a special club. I love how bad girls are turned on by guys who ride bikes. I love how good girls are turned on by guys who ride bikes.

I love how a motorcycle is the cheapest way to go racing-roadracing, drag racing, dirt racing, any and all racing. I love choppers. I love sportbikes. I love riding down a long road to nowhere. I love riding too fast down curvy roads. I love the boom of Singles, the bellow of Twins, the In-A-Gadda-DaVida beat of Triples, the screams of Fours and Sixes…I’d love the sound of a fivecylinder if someone made one. I love complex valvetrains.

I love fully adjustable upside-down forks. I love modifying a perfectly good bike into a beastly machine that’s a pain to ride.

I love putting on my leathers. I love hanging out in leathers, but only if I have a bike nearby. I love girls who ride.. .in leathers. I love attending roadracing events. I love the sound of a bike taken to redline in every single gear. I love the thrill, the look, the art, the feel, the smell, the taste, the sensual adventure of motorcycles.

I love wide tires. I love spoked rims. I love magnesium wheels. I love being able to pick up an engine with my own two arms that can take me to speeds more than twice any legal limit. I love doing stoppies. I love dragging my knees through turns. I love two-fingered braking. I love one-fingered braking even more. I love my memories of the Syracuse Mile. I love the hints of crazy hope that emanated from Jimmy Adamo every time he threw a leg over a Ducati. I love the stunning artistic beauty of the 1974 Laverda 750 SFC.

I love 70-year-old bikers who ride like there’s no tomorrow. I love watching the road fly by just below my feet. I love standing on the pegs and seeing the front tire going ’round.

I love riding a bike as fast as it will possibly go. I love going 140 mph for three minutes straight (that’s 6.99 miles). I love riding with no particular place to go. I love that being a biker means something, even if I don’t always like what it means to some. I love how bikes have connected me with people across the country and worldwide. I love hanging out at motorcycle nights. I love the foolish hell of Daytona Bike Week. I love saying aloud the mysteriously promising names GiaCaMoto, Yoshimura, Yoshima, Dunstall and Ferracci.

I love clip-ons and rearsets. I love loud pipes. I love tight racing gloves. I love wearing black leather. 1 love wearing leather of loud colors. I love going 175 mph with only the dyed skin of a dead cow between me and planet Earth. I love riding bikes and writing about them. I love hanging in the streets of L.A. with other bikers. I love riding the mountains of North Carolina. I love walking through seas of parked bikes. I love motorcycling’s brave history. I love taking girls for rides. I love how children stare in wonder at motorcycles. I love riding in any mountains. I love riding across the desert. I love splitting lanes in California.

I love washing and polishing my own motorcycle. I love visiting bike shops in whatever state or country I’m in. I love doing that for no special reason at all. 1 love dragging the pegs and bags of cruisers. I love customizing bikes.

I love admiring someone else’s customized bike. I love lightweight 600cc sportbikes. I love heavy sportbikes with insanely excessive power-I love those very much, thank you. I love riding around the Grattan racecourse outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love the Streets of Willow.

I love holding modern, thin, lightweight, chemically coated pistons in my hand. I love the chatter of flatslides. I love the rattle of a dry clutch. I love the intake honk of big bikes. I love the crisp rasp of an open exhaust. I love the beastly booming brutish bellow of a big Vee’s low-end torque. 1 love the risks of riding. I love 90-degree Twins.

I also love 45and 60-degree Twins. I even love parallelTwins. I guess I love Twins. I love old GSX-Rs. I love the feeling of anticipation while rolling a motorcycle out of the garage on a cool morning. I love the smell of burning twostroke oil any time of day. I love the conspicuous mechanics of motorcycles. I love the stance of a bike resting on a

rear stand. I love the insane hubris of the Isle of Man. I love riding ratty old bikes that remind me of my original thrill of motorcycling. I love bobjobs. I love re-reading old motorcycle magazines. I love collecting stickers from aftermarket companies.

I love how motorcycling makes travel intimate. I love how a bike gives me an immediate feel of subtle changes in temperature. I love wearing full-face helmets, because I’ve used every inch of the exterior of them at one time or another. I love how, on a bike, each of my limbs has controls of its own. I love right-side-shifting bikes. I love riding for days on end.

I love hiding under a bridge during a thunderstorm. 1 love how riding clears my head. I love bike clubs. I love motorcycle movies.

I love parking on a mountain summit and staring at my bike’s engine. I love machined-billet brake calipers. I love windowed case covers. I love how a motorcycle is sometimes a preposterous dens ex machina. I love the echo of a drive chain on tight left-hand curves. I love the technological efficiency of modern sportbikes. I love the simplicity of old naked bikes. I love the imposing nastiness of rat bikes. I love the mystery, romance and sex appeal of motorcycles. I love how bikes make me dream. I love how bikes make me who I am. 1 love how a motorcycle is never just a motorcycle. I love motorcycles.

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