I have had many bikes over the years. The reason I have had so many is that I have always had this niggling dissatisfaction with the ride I was on. I think this is the same problem almost all of us have. A biker is constantly ogling other bikes. Why? Part of it is to justify the decision he made about the one he now has. He may be looking for ways to make his ride better, but underneath is always that hunt for a better mouse trap. Sometimes it is little things that creep up in the back of your mind that you try to drown out. It is too heavy, too noisy, vibrates too much, too expensive, too top heavy, too this, or too that. Sometimes it is none of that. It is something you can’t name. The dissatisfaction often starts whispering in your ear on the day you purchase it. At times the intrusive doubts seem to go away, and you think to yourself that it was just an early second guessing that is natural. But the little devils keep coming back. You flick them off your shoulder on a good ride, and they reappear on the other one shoulder with a shift in circumstances. Then you start arguing with yourself. You go through all the reasons why you bought this bike in the first place. You lay out your bullet points. They still seem good. That will allay the problem. For awhile. But it is like that beating heart that only the murderer could hear underneath his floor in that Edgar Allan Poe short story. It never stops beating. You can take a hammer and pound it down like they do with those games at Chucky Cheese, but it will pop up in another place. Then one day it becomes a scream. And there you are again. You have to admit that this is is not doing it for you any longer and you have to take action. There is only one thing to do. You have to sell and buy another.
I just went through this not long ago with a bike that I had done research on and had concluded that I had at last found the bike that was the best of all worlds all-around. My hunt after all these years was over at last. If only I had this information all along. In over 30 years, I had never made it past a year on any bike. So when I hit 12 months, I thought that my research was well-founded. Oh, sure, there were little goads of dubiety all along, but I had argued them out of existence with convincing rhetoric and the inability to find anything else close to my standards. Then came 16 months. Things were looking good. But then the long–awaited whisper-to-scream-to-you-have-to-get-rid-of-this-thing conclusion finally arrived. What did it? I took a 320 mile trip two weekends in a row. What had resurrected as a ephemeral whisp from a shallow grave from almost day one – “this bike may not be good for touring” – came flying up out of the ground like a muscle-bound Dracula, Alien, and Frankestein all rolled into one. It was the same thing as that moment when the girl stepped through the TV in that movie “The Ring”. I rolled into the garage, turned off the key, went to Craigslist, and posted, “2004 Honda Shadow Sabre For Sale”. I never got back on it.
So I had to do it all over again. This time I bought a 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. As of this writing, I am at 10 months, and I hear no voices.
President Barack Obama’s complete speech and Q&A with Bill and Melinda Gates at the 2017 Goalkeepers event in New York City.
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