March 27, 2005


First and foremost, a Happy Easter wish to all peoples of the world. May the new season bring peace and freedom to everyone.

I awoke this morning to a beautiful Spring day. Birds were singing, and the moles that had mysteriously moved into my yard over the winter seemed to be burrowing with a special frenzy.

Being brought up in the Catholic Religion, I of course associate Easter with Jesus.

So it is no surprise that I awoke this morning smiling to think not only of the triumph of a risen Lord but of the interesting ways that Jesus has been used in modern times to sell things.

(Warping as the memory machine takes us back to June 2004)

I was browsing the motorcycle paraphenalia stands at last year's Laconia Bike Week, when suddenly I realized that I was in the Hell's Angels leather tent. It didn't take long for me to comprehend that I had somehow passed through "Suzie's Bandana Shop" into an abutting tent where black leather thongs hung next to purple leather whips.

"What ya lookin for," asked a hulking voice behind me? I turned and viewed the speaker. He was big, about 6'5", and spilling out in all directions from his tee shirt, leather vest, and dirty jeans.

Time to act cool and nonchalant. So, with the feigned indifference of a Cool Hand Luke, I muttered: "I was just looking at the bandanas as a possible gift for my wife." (Oh man, I thought, that didn't come out cool at all.)

The big guy looked at me as if I was a toad. "Get The Bitch a thong man. Bitches in thongs look great on the back of your ride."

Now I was in way over my head. For one thing, I had never thought of my wife as "The Bitch." For another, the last time I got so-called sexy lingerie for my wife, I got a lecture about how uncomfortable it was.

"No man," I replied, "I've changed my mind. Not gettin her anything. What ya got for us bikers?" Alright, I thought, now I sound better to this kind of guy. All the while I'm casually looking for an exit. I spied one to my right. Next to the exit was a table with another Hell's Angels guy sitting behind it on a stool. Looking at the first Angel I quipped, "I'll go check out that table." I moved quickly toward the exit. But I didn't make the exit before the stool guy grabbed my arm.

"If Jesus were alive today, he'd ride a Harley."

That's what the man said, as he pointed to a leather and chain device used for attaching keys to your jeans. I looked. It did say just that. Embossed into the leather were the words "IF JESUS WERE ALIVE TODAY, HE'D RIDE A HARLEY."

I was hooked. Looking over the stool man, I noticed much the opposite of the first Angel. This one was thin to an extreme. His hair and beard were straggly, long with that pepper and salt mix that we all seem to inherit as we push past 40. His teeth were few, and those that remained were in rather sad shape.

But he had a big smile, a genuine smile--the kind of smile that put me at ease and made me less anxious to get away from the tent. He wore a cross around his neck, and his vest was marked with his name: "Reverend Pete."

I inquired, "Reverend, how do you know Jesus would ride a Harley as opposed to a Honda?" Pete grinned. "I don't. But I know he'd be a biker man, cause he rode a donkey. He'd ride a bike today, no question." Pete's quick response was made with the conviction of true religion.

That was the end of Pete's sermon. He had no more time for me. A good looking lady had walked to his table, and was asking him where the thongs were. I saw the light of the doorway and left.

And it was this memory of Reverend Pete's sermon that put a smile on my face this Easter Morning.

March 22, 2005

Harmonicas and Motorcycles

Toots Thielemans is a master of jazz harmonica. Many have heard him and not realized that his instrument was the harmonica. His music was the muse behind the film "French Kiss."

So many of us grew up thinking of the harmonica as a toy rather than a true instrument. Some of us grew to appreciate the great harmonica players of the Blues: folks like Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musselwhite. They are incredible without question.

But Toots Thielemans, of Belgium, takes harmonica to a level beyond. His melodies take your evening breath away. Guys, trust me, this is the fellow to play when you want your lovely lady to feel that the two of you are holding hands and sipping fine wine at a quaint cafe in the heart of Paris.

So what, one might ask, does this have to do with motorcycling?

Well, says I, remember that many a grand day of motorcycling comes to a conclusion with you and your dream bike coming home to your significant other. Bring home some good wine, a smile, and a Toots Thielemans CD to share with your lady. She'll be far more inclined to approach your next adventure enthusiastically. She might even say, "Have fun. I'll see you tonight."

March 16, 2005



I'm often asked by non-riders why motorcycling is so important to me. I have a thousand answers to this question, but no one answer covers the myriad of reasons.

There are a handful of experiences in life that allow us to experience joyous movement, a moment when gravity is seemingly defied, and when the normal laws of time and space are suspended. Those who surf, those who ski, those who snowboard know what I am speaking of. It's almost indescribable: it's like surfing through the air.

On a warm summer day, I will cruise along a twisting country road in the backwoods or hills of New Hampshire. I will find a groove in which every undulation of the road, from surface to twist, is synced perfectly with my mind and my machine. I'm studying the next turn before it is even in view. I can see it and feel it without seeing it.

This is the Zen of Motorcycling. This is joyous movement. This is why I ride.

March 12, 2005

Easy Rider prepares to ride the Mount Washington Road, June 2004 Posted by Hello

The Annual "Ride to the Sky." Motorcycles climb to the summit of Mount Washington. Posted by Hello


Quest: "an act or instance of seeking: a chivalrous enterprise in mediaeval romance involving an adventurous journey: a person or group of persons who search or make inquiry."

So sayeth Merriam-Webster. So it must be.

Seeking to ride the Montauk to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, I've been checking around for others who might want to join in this romantic adventurous journey, this Quest. Not surprisingly I've learned that such a ride is already planned by the Mount Washington Road Foundation.

"The Ride to the Sky" is scheduled for this coming June 16th. Last year over 3,000 bikes made the trek, including it turns out a rather famous Easy Rider, Mr. Fonda himself.

I'm so excited about it that I spent hours last night programming all the maps and scenic rides on the way to Mt. Washington into my new GPS unit, a Garmin model called "The Quest." How appropriate!

March 08, 2005

Another March Snowstorm

Another March Snowstorm
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

We devotees of cycling yield to nature's forces.

When the snows from heaven fall, we dream of better days to come.

March 06, 2005

Sunrise over Puerto Vallarta

Sunrise over Puerto Vallarta
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

Mountains, whether in NH or Mexico, provide great inspiration to those who traverse them.

Riding the Mt. Washington Road

Originally uploaded by tikaro.

Speaking of riding in the mountains of New Hampshire:

Fellow biker, Tikaro, has a very cool set of motorcycle trip photos on flickr. He took this photo while riding his BMW down from the top of Mount Washington.


Check out his pics at

Spring Can't Come Soon Enough

It's March in New Hampshire. My yard remains snowcovered, but I see hints of change. A small flock of Robbins swooped through my backyard the other day. They found some bare ground beneath my southern-facing hedges sunny and welcoming.

Yesterday's temperatures peaked in the 40's. The snow melted from my southern-facing roof.

Other signs of Spring abound. Boston hosted its annual New England Boat Show in late February. New England's mariners were delighted.

My thoughts, of course, are turning to riding. I've been pouring through motorcycle magazines and websites, anticipation heightening to near frenzy.

Yesterday I suddenly announced to my wife, "I need to visit my bike shop." "That's silly," she quite rightly replied, "aren't they closing in 20 minutes?"

Damn! I detest such reality when I'm swooning in fantasy.

"I'll go next Saturday, earlier in the day," I thought to myself.

So instead of heading out to a house of motorcycle worship, I took a late afternoon nap. I dreamed of riding the scenic roads of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Spring is coming. Not even a guaranty of more snow in March will dissuade me from dreaming.

March 02, 2005

It's a Jazz Thing

It's a Jazz Thing
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.

Jazz is cool, hot, and everything in-between. Jazz is music in motion; it thus is something else to listen to while cruising on the Montauk.

"It's a Jazz Thing" is also one of the hottest Podcast streams out there. "Dubber," of Wolf Radio, New Zealand, indirectly from his new digs in Great Britain, streams out the nicest assortment of music you could ever want to hear. (See my link in the sidebar).

Tonight's show is mellow, cruisey. I just want to curl up before a nice fire and dream of Summer to come. Ah, that gilded time when all this New Hampshire snow will be gone, and our roads will entice me for a Jazz Cruise. I'm ready. Yes.

March 01, 2005

The Watchers

The Watchers
Originally uploaded by MontaukRider.
In travel we observe. We watch.

Our motorcycles bring us to wondrous places. We watch.

Others are watching. From a restaurant window one might observe a man. But the man is intent on another, here a cat. And the cat is focused on another, perhaps a bird?