Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Motorcycle Enthusiasts

Those who know me also know that I love the feeling of the open road, the wind in my face and the rumble of 96 cubic inches of V-twin power beneath me. I am not, however, one to ride my motorcycle at every available opportunity - that is, I am decidedly not fond of commuting to work on my bike or running errands and I do not consider it some form of fuel efficient “green” transportation. But I do enjoy the journeys that take place for no other reason than the journey itself; I am always up for a ride to nowhere. The term “motorcycle enthusiast” gets thrown around a lot and to different people it has different connotations that vary from a cloaked reference to membership in an outlaw motorcycle club to simply someone who likes the idea of having a shiny (and barely ridden) motorcycle parked in the garage. Most of us, however, fall into the expansive middle area.

I have been riding off and on (for the past several years, mostly on) since my teens. Even before my first bike (a 1974 Honda CB550 “Four,” purchased used in 1981), the call of the open road captivated me. My current ride is a 2007 Harley Davidson FLHR “Road King” and its moniker is a truly accurate symbol of what it represents. Big, heavy, powerful and loud, this bike is more than a presence on the road; it is an event. Like most Harleys owners, I have modified mine to suit my style, but the engine is mostly stock. Mostly. Again, none of this is news to those who know me either in person of via this blog. And though this blog is many things, it is not, in a dedicated respect, a “motorcycle” blog any more than Robert M. Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a motorcycle book. But the parallels between my blog’s subtitle, Perspectives, Purpose and Opinion, and riding are at least tacitly apparent.

Although I don’t necessarily write to gain large numbers of readers or any sort of a “following,” it would be misleading to imply that do not I get some degree of satisfaction that my words are read by others. I have a couple of “hit counters” on this site and I do check my numbers occasionally, but I don’t release the data to anyone. I don’t have any advertisers and I am not selling anything – these numbers should, therefore, be of no interest to anyone but me. But the Internet being what it is, others are able to track traffic to my page through a variety of means - Technorati is probably the best known, but there are others. I received an email from one such site (Wikio) today that indicated my blog is ranked number 52 in its top 100 motorcycle blogs. I have know for some time that a motorcycle forum has my blog linked on its site, but I had no idea that this ongoing project was considered a “motorcycle blog” to the extent that it could be ranked at all, let alone in anyone’s top 100.

Of course I am honored. They offered a badge indicating my status within their ranking and it is now displayed at on my sidebar. Just to put this in perspective, this blog is ranked at number 22,363 when not categorized. I posted this ranking on my sidebar as well. Still, of all categories, why have I climbed so high in the motorcycle rankings? I rarely write about motorcycles or riding - I would estimate that only a small percentage of almost 500 posts are directly related to motorcycles. Could it be that those who share a love of the open road also relate to my perspectives, my purpose(s) or my opinions? Perhaps. Like Persig, I find more to motorcycles than the machine itself. When riding I find myself closer to something transcendent - more than most anything else I can do. To the extent that we as human beings are always seeking to grasp at something larger than we are, the freedom a motorcycle brings seems to resonate amongst those of us who share a culture, an attitude... a perspective. The vast diversity of my readers indicates that this is not unique to “motorcycle enthusiasts,” but it would appear that it is largely common to us.

1 comment:

Belizegial said...

Congrats Mike, on the award! I just took a moment to read your sidebar and to view the award. A timely reminder there that we should dream big at all times. Keep up the good work with your students.