Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Saturday, August 29, 2020


God doesn't call you on the phone or send you a text... but he does talk to you and answer your prayers. Just not the way you expect, sometimes.

Look, you don't have to believe in God, that is your choice and I'm not going to try to force my beliefs on you in this blog or on my YouTube channel- that's not what The MotoWriter  is all about. With that said, however, I do believe in God and I believe that, while we don't always hear or see His work, He is always protecting us and keeping us safe.

Broken cables, dead batteries and flat tires- DANG IT!!

How many times have you been out riding, stopped for gas and, when you hit that start button, the only sound you hear is the clicking of the starter solenoid? Have you ever gone out to the garage, fully intent on racking up some miles on an absolutely beautiful day, only to see one of the tires is flattened against the concrete? Or what about, when you're out riding with a couple of your buddies to celebrate a birthday, only to get about a third of the way before the throttle cable on your buddy's antique motorcycle breaks? 

When things like that happen, it's easy to get caught up in the moment, get mad, shake your fist to the sky and ask why you've been forsaken, but have you ever thought that the breakdown might have been God's way of keeping you from harm somewhere further down the road? What if that throttle cable snapping was the answer to your loved one's prayer, asking God to keep you safe? What if that flat tire or dead battery was God's way of stalling you, just long enough to let the truck that was going to run a red light and smash into you, get through the intersection without incident?

It's all about perspective.

I don't pretend to know everything, nor should any of us. I can't say that I've never been annoyed, thrown a tool across the garage or cursed the rain clouds when I wanted to ride and I definitely won't sit here and tell you that I've always had the best attitude about things. What I can say, however, is that the older I get the more I realize just exactly what is, and what isn't, in our control. I can also tell you that with adversity there comes opportunity- I've seen proof of that more times in my life than I can count. 

We should embrace that adversity and learn from it; become better versions of ourselves every time we are faced with a challenge. Life caters to no one and time rolls on, whether we are having a good time riding our motorcycles or if we are broken down in the parking lot of a casino with a couple of our best friends. We should be thankful that the trip didn't end tragically and be grateful for the laughs we shared and the camaraderie we had. 

Good friends, good times and the blessings of the day.

By now you've probably figured out that this piece is directly related to my latest video that I uploaded to my YouTube channel last week. If you haven't seen it, I made it simple for you to find, by linking to it in second paragraph of this post (and I just snuck it in again, here). My plan that day was to bring my two best pals down the coastline, through a few backroads, across the state line and end up at a restaurant & brewhouse for lunch, before making our way back to our respective homes, via some scenic and somewhat winding backroads. 

While we didn't end up at our pre-planned destination, we did end up spending some good quality time riding, laughing and helping each other out. We proved that day, that good times with good friends don't always have to go as planned. With a little faith, a good attitude about our predicament and a little bit of bailing wire and some roadside ingenuity... we still managed to have a great day on our motorcycles and isn't that what it's all about anyway?

Writer's note- 
As I wrote this post, the fact that today marks the 15th anniversary of the day that Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama coastline, was not lost on me. Nor was the fact that the people of western Louisiana and eastern Texas are now suffering through similar devastation from Hurricane Laura. Adversity has a way of bringing out the best in people, when you have enough faith to see it, that is. 15 years ago I, along with so many others, saw our coastal home devastated so badly, that I wasn't  sure that we could ever recover from it. But we did. We pulled together, helped each other out and supported each other as Americans, Southerners and most of all, children of God. While our communities still bare the scars that mark that tragic day, we have rebuilt our homes, our cities and our neighborhoods... even better than what they were before that fateful day 15 years ago. 

This message is for all those who are suffering- have faith, help each other, trust in God to give you strength and He will. Don't lose hope- you will recover from this; you will because you must. 

From the MotoWriter, and all of your friends and neighbors to the east, we are praying for your strength and speedy recovery. 

Friday, August 21, 2020


Why are motorcyclists so infatuated with riding?

The very idea of riding a motorcycle can be terrifying for some, but for others, it's as essential to life as breathing. Why is it then, that such a stark contrast of emotions can be derived from such a simple machine?

What is a motorcycle?

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines a motorcycle as: an automotive vehicle with two in-line wheels. Well, there you have it- how very technically accurate of them. It's not an incorrect definition; after all, motorcycles do have a motor and two wheels that are in-line with each other, but for so many of us, motorcycles are much, much more than this simple, and somewhat, diminutive definition would suggest.

Stress reliever and therapist

As I've previously mentioned in my blog and in my videos, my motorcycle is my stress relief- my therapist, if you will. After a long, stressful day at work, I look forward to getting on my motorcycle for what I like to call my "mototherapy." There's just something relaxing about coming home from work after a long, crappy day at the office and getting in the saddle. There are few things more relaxing than feeling the wind on my face, seeing the sun setting behind the tall, lanky southern pines and ancient oak trees and hearing the cicadas, crickets and tree frogs chirping and buzzing the final moments of daylight away. Just being on the bike while the sun slowly melts into the horizon, turning the trees into black silhouettes starkly contrasted by the fading orange, pink and blue sky, creating a hauntingly beautiful skyline, makes it feel like you're on the canvas of a masterpiece while it's being created. I know that may sound silly to some, but my fellow motorcycle riders know exactly what I'm talking about. 

The answer is in the question

Riding a motorcycle isn't something that you just do, it's something that you are a part of. You drive a car, but you ride a motorcycle. In a car, you are surrounded by layers of metal, fabric, foam and glass... much of which is completely unused on a daily basis. On a motorcycle though, you are on it- you are a part of it. You are the component that keeps it from falling over on it's side while at a stop. You must use both hands and both feet to operate it. The speed of the machine is directly proportional to the amount of movement you put in your wrist and the steering and control of the bike is directly and immediately influenced by even the slightest shift of your body. Riding a motorcycle isn't something that you simply do, but rather, it is a completely immersive activity. Being a motorcyclist isn't something that you do, it is something that you become. 

An emotional response

Motorcycles evoke emotions from, almost, everyone. Whether its excitement, anxiety, fear or elation, when someone sees a motorcycle ride by, they feel it. Small kids sitting in the rear seats of their mom and dad's beige SUV's and baby blue minivans, will sit and stare at a biker stopped for traffic. Kids and grown-ups alike tend to have an uncontrollable urge to wave at motorcycles as they ride by. Many of us can even remember a time in our childhood, when we saw (or heard) a motorcycle cruise past our house, or pass up the family truckster while we were taking a road trip to see grandma and grandpa. Even those among us that don't ride have some kind of motorcycle story to tell. 

Speaking of motorcycles

Every rider has his or her own story of how they learned to ride and, if you give them enough time, they'll be more than happy to tell you what got them into it. We can't help it, we love to share our passion for riding with other people. When someone gets inspired to try it out for themselves... we can barely contain our excitement for them. We want to share our successes and failures, tips and riding advice with them. We genuinely want them to be good, safe riders. When someone crashes their bike, we rally around them, supporting them and helping them heal... many times not even knowing them personally. We help them fix their motorcycle, or find a new one if it can't be repaired.

In the motorcycling community, we believe in helping each other out. It's common knowledge that if you see a fellow biker on the side of the road, you stop and check on him or her. Lending a hand and offering help isn't something that we have to be told to do, it's just something that we do, because we know it's the right thing to do.

Leather clad angels on two wheels

Motorcyclists are some of the most gracious, charitable and genuinely helpful people in our communities. The motorcycling community as a whole is responsible for donating millions of dollars a year to some of the most honorable and worthy causes in our communities. From raising money and collecting clothing for the local family that lost their house in a fire, to donating toys for underprivileged kids, to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to the American Cancer Society or Saint Jude's Children's Hospital, it's easy to see that not all angels have wings and a halo, some of them wear leather vests and helmets. 

When a police officer, firefighter or service member dies, there is usually some kind of procession of motorcyclists there to honor and respect the fallen hero. Often, you will see a mix of both police motor officers and civilian riders, slowly rolling together to honor the dead. Sometimes, the riders will park their bikes along the roadway, heads bowed and hands over their hearts, or arms stiffly raised to their brow in respectful salute, to show grace and pay their respect to the family of the fallen. 

One bad apple

Many people associate all motorcyclists with the "gangs" they see on television shows and news reports. There are, literally, millions of dollars to be made on selling these stories to the masses. Shows like Sons of Anarchy and America Undercover are proof of that. The ironic part is that most of these storied clubs refer to themselves as "one percenters", meaning that they, themselves, acknowledge that they only make up about one percent of the motorcycling community. That means that out of 100 motorcycle riders you come across, only one of them will potentially be a self-admitted "outlaw." That means that the other 99 are good, honest, law abiding citizens that just happen to ride motorcycles. Another ironic detail that many folks don't want to admit, is that even the guys wearing those ominous looking patches on their backs, will often stop to offer assistance to a fellow motorcycle rider that's broken down or crashed. We rarely see that kind of camaraderie among other groups of people, with old car enthusiasts being one of the very few exceptions. 

As kids, we are taught (or at least we should be) not to judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, so why do we allow all motorcyclists to be judged and condemned because of the actions of a few bad apples? Why do we propagate the fear of horrible crashes, bloody highways and instant death as a result of riding motorcycles to our kids? How many times have you heard "motorcycles are dangerous, I know a guy that knew a guy, whose best friend was killed in a horrible motorcycle crash"? That seems to be such a common comment. Of course, a little research into the story might often implicate the operator of said motorcycle of some poor decision making and reckless operation of his machine... both of which would have more than likely led that poor schmuck to the same fate had he been behind the wheel of a Buick, instead of being perched atop a Kawasaki.

Teach the kids to respect the ride

Instead of teaching the, inevitable, next generation of riders to be afraid of their machines, why not teach them to embrace them? I refer to them as the "inevitable next generation of riders" simply because most kids (and many adults who refuse to grow old) will always seek to quench their thirst for excitement with the satisfying libation that is riding. 

Instead of teaching the next generation to fear the power of the machine, we should teach them how to harness it. Instead of telling them they will die, we should be teaching them how not to. Proper gear, good techniques and plenty of practice are all great points to cover. Many people may not realize this, but a little known fact is that good, well practiced and experienced motorcycle riders are actually much better car drivers, too. They tend to look further down the road, anticipate the actions of other drivers faster and are generally more alert to adverse driving conditions. We never hear about them though, because we only track statistics of bad drivers- not good ones.

The final answer and my final thought

So, why are motorcyclists so infatuated with riding their bikes? Because motorcycles are more personal to each individual rider- the fitment, the power and the overall ride of every motorcycle is uniquely specific, and finely tuned to each rider and his or her preferences. We do this on purpose. We customize our bikes to make them fit us and our needs. We want to express our individuality and our personality in the bikes that we ride because we form a bond with the machine- we trust it, we take care of it, and in return, it will take care of us- both physically and mentally.

I suppose that Merriam-Webster's definition probably is the best, though. After all, if we tried to actually define our beloved motorcycles by what they actually are and what they mean for us, the definition would probably be 7 pages long and non-riders probably still wouldn't understand. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

WRIDING is my stress relief

Writing + Riding = Wriding?

OK, maybe coming up with new words should be left up to the scholars.

I'll admit that I often think I'm more clever than I actually am. For example, when I came up with the word "socafriend", I thought that I would be hearing it everywhere. Well... that might be a stretch, but I did think that I might, at the very least, have someone ask me about it. But I digress, this isn't a piece about making new words, despite what the title might imply. That part was just a cheap ploy to get your attention and, if you're still reading this, hopefully it worked!

I like my regular job. It can be pretty interesting, heck it can even be a bit challenging, at times. If you know me at all by now, you know that I also have a passion for riding motorcycles and at the ole 9 to 5 grind, I even get paid to ride one every once in a while. Overall, it's a pretty good job, but more than anything, I'm privileged enough to work with some really great people who make the task of going to my office every day a little bit easier. Moreover, the full time gig is what actually pays the bills. Even with good coworkers, a few friends and a decent work schedule though, the job can still be pretty stressful at times. 

Along with my passion for riding motorcycles, I also love to write. I'm not saying I'm any good at it mind you- I'm just saying that I like to do it. If I were a better writer, maybe I'd be able to make enough dough that I didn't have to consider selling off one of my scooters every so often, just to support my coffee addiction. 

Stress is a bitch

It is often an unseen, unheard, odorless, apparition that strips us of our livelihood and our happiness before we can even realize it's happening. Sometimes, we can see the embodiment of it in the form of a red envelope in the mailbox that says "PAST DUE" across the front, other times it appears as a flat tire on our car or a bright orange "check engine" light, glowing brightly on our dashboard as our car slowly rolls to a stop in rush hour traffic. The worst kind of stress, though... by far... is the stuff that creeps up on us while we are busy living our lives in our most routine and mundane ways. It often manifests itself as a headache that lasts for a few days, maybe a stiff neck or a sore back. Sleeplessness and nightmares, stomach problems and an unsettling anxiety that just doesn't seem to go away are all good indicators of it, too. When someone suggests that we seem stressed, we reply with "I'm not stressed", knowing full well that we just let a lie slip past our lips.

As a parent, it's extremely easy to get caught up in this kind of stress, so much so, that there are simply too many ways to even bother mentioning them here. If you're a parent, you already know what I'm talking about. Even if you don't have kids though, the daily grind can still get you feeling the crushing pressure of that invisible demon. Going to work every day, trying to beat deadlines, meet sales quotas, achieve goals, prepare for that big presentation or trying to get promoted, can all cause you to feel that listlessness, exhaustion and neck and back pain that will eventually cause your blood pressure to escalate and your heart to flutter. It can all sneak up on you before you even know it and there are a million and three different ways for it to happen. 

Stress relief is near

We all find relief in our own ways. Some of those remedies are, admittedly, less healthy than others. Some people deal with their stress through their daily (or hourly) cigarette breaks, others deal with it by making a point to try to look through the bottom of as many whiskey tumblers as they can. I don't recommend those particular ways to alleviate stress, as I've seen a lot of bad things come from them. I'm not preaching at you not to drink- after all, the occasional adult beverage can be nice after a relaxing motorcycle ride. I'll leave my opinion on smoking out of this, except to say that it does a helluva lot of damage to your insides. Personally, I never could stand the burning feeling of intentionally pulling that hot, dry smoke into my lungs, but that's just me. 

Instead, I find my peace and stress relief in the saddle of my trusty two wheeler. When the weather is crappy, if I'm a little too tired from my day at the office or if I'm just inspired with a new idea, then I write. Looking back, I suppose that I've always been drawn to the written (or in this case- typed) word, even before I had a motorcycle in my garage. Lots of people might argue that smoking cigs are safer than riding motorcycles and, in their minds, I suppose they might be right. For me though, along with the fresh air in my lungs and the cool wind and warm sun on my skin, there is a certain therapeutic affect that usually starts with a deep breath and ends up in a big shiver as the stress gets purged out at 60 mph. The soothing drone of a V-twin engine is like a symphony to me when I'm having a bad week and seeing the sunlight shimmer through the leaves of the passing trees in the early morning light is a visual experience like nothing else I've seen.

Writing requires passion 

Reading something that was written with no passion, absent of any genuine interest by the author, is immediately discernible to even the most indifferent of readers. Those are the articles that read like a press release- "just the facts, ma'am... just the facts." It's akin to reading an instruction manual for a new toothbrush. When the writer loves his subject matter though, when he is excited about what he's telling you, the creativity starts to flow and the reader starts to feel the enthusiasm in those written words. Again, I'm not suggesting that I have that ability, after all, that's for you to decide. I just enjoy riding my motorcycle and then trying my best to describe the feeling of riding to those of you who can't get out and ride because you are stuck in COVID quarantine, for those that don't know how to ride, for those with nothing better to do than read my blog or, for you folks that are laying in bed trying to just read something boring to put you to sleep. If you're one of the latter, sleep well.

If you're still awake and still with me, then hang in there, I'm almost done with this one

I find a certain level of contentment in letting my passion for motorcycling live outside of the rattletrap that is my own, stress filled, head. As a writer, if I can bring you, even a few, moments of laughter, joy or shared excitement for riding motorcycles, then I've accomplished my goal. 

I can usually find, at the very least, a half hour or so to ride my motorcycle, but if for some reason I can't, I try to at least write something that conveys the euphoria of motorcycle riding to anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog. By choosing the right words to describe the feeling, the sights and the smells that I experience while cruising down some random, two-lane back road in the middle of nowhere, I am hoping to give you the opportunity to experience, if only vicariously and for a few moments, the thrill of riding whenever you find yourself unable to do so.

I hope you enjoy reading my occasional bit of wordsmithing and I truly hope that I can inspire you to turn off your computer, or put down your phone, and go get on your motorcycle instead. If you don't have a bike, well maybe you'll be inspired to get one, and learn how to ride it. Either way, ride safe and make good choices, and maybe I'll see you out on the road. Maybe, we'll even give each other a wave as we go by.