Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What about "Therapy"?

My friend and neighbor, John, picked up a new 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle yesterday. It’s an Electra Glide Ultra Limited Edition and it is beautiful with more amenities and features than anything I've ever owned either two wheels or four. I’m happy for him and a little envious. Of course, if money were not object, I’d own a stable of bikes. A cruiser, a dresser, a sport-tourer, whatever I felt like riding at the time.

But since resources are limited and the state lottery did not pick my numbers recently, I will be content with what I have and celebrate with John his new acquisition.

Looking back, I realize that it’s because of John that I am riding now.

I had always wanted to ride and dreamed of owning a motorcycle from a young age. However, my parents in their wisdom deemed a motorcycle too dangerous a device for me – they were probably right – and so the dream faded and reality took its place.

Somewhere around my half century birthday, the desire resurfaced when the bass player in our band bought a Harley-Davidson Sportster with some inheritance money. Andy would regale me with stories of his rides, telling me that riding for a short while after a tough day at work was like ‘therapy’ allowing him to decompress.

I mentioned my dream to my wife and we spoke about it for quite some time. I explained what Andy had told me about it be so enjoyable that he considered it therapy. She was dead set against owning a motorcycle and as I remember, quite emphatic. “They’re too dangerous!”

“But what about it ‘being like therapy’?” I said.


Discretion being the better part of valor, I held any further rebuttal for a later date. I wasn’t sure when the right time to bring it up again would present itself, but I would know it when it came. It turned out that the right time was a few months later when John moved in next door.

John owned a Heritage edition Softtail – he has owned four of them over the years – and he would park it on the sidewalk that separates our houses. The exhaust on his Softtail was stereotypical of a Harley-Davidson, a low frequency rumble with a lope that reminds one of a galloping horse. We always got about a 1 minute warning when he was ready to leave on a ride.

I would hear his bike start and imagine myself taking a “therapy ride”.

Once, when he fired his bike up, I looked at my wife and said, “Therapy.” She just shook her head. Nothing more was said. But in the silence a plan started to take shape.

For the next couple of weeks, every time we heard John’s bike startup, I would say, “Therapy.”

At first, she would protest and remind me how dangerous motorcycles were, and how we couldn’t afford one, and how it just wasn’t practical. I let her protests dissipate in the air and went about my business.

Eventually I didn’t need to say anything. We’d hear the bike start up, I’d look at her and she would say, “I know. Therapy.” I would smile.

This went on all spring. Then one summer weekend John caught me staring at all the chrome as he wiped the bike down. We talked a bit. He told stories from the road, and I told of my desire to ride. Teresa saw us talking and I saw something in her I had not seen before. I think, although she won’t admit it, that she began seeing herself riding behind me. Envisioning a result is a powerful force.

Several weeks later, John fired up his bike, and without me saying anything or even looking her direction, Teresa said, “If you want a motorcycle, you can get one.”

It was as if Heaven opened up and angels were singing!

“Will you ride with me?” I asked.

“Nobody else better ride with you! Of course I will.”

So the journey began. And I give John the credit or blame... That and the need for “therapy.”

Therapy is a good thing.

Ride Safe!


Arizona Harley Dude said...

One of the best 'Why I Ride' stories I've heard. Thanks for sharing.

Doug C said...

Thanks AZ. Hoping to visit your great state one day. Maybe next year...

pablogrimes said...

This is such an amazing entry and I love to read more of it so that I will be able to look over and have it as an inspiration for further articles to write about when it comes to updates on motorcycle news and it's pros and cons too. I do hope you will get to visit our official website and let us know what you think about it. Here is the link
and thanks ahead. :)