Don't Die Peacefully

July 31 2014

I owe it to my dad for introducing me to motorcycles; my first motorcycle experiences were riding around my town on the back of my his Harley. Now that he’s diagnosed with cancer, our Sunday rides have become rare, but I know that he will overcome it (He’s already planning his three-month motorcycle trip along the Silk Road (which stretches from India to China)). This Listserve is dedicated to my passion for motorcycles, but more importantly, my dad who has been a very important role model.
I will never forget the first time I took my own bike on to the actual road and felt that tire kiss the asphalt. I remember myself grinning ear to ear, tearing up in the corners of my eyes, amazed at what I was doing. My heart raced and my body was tense, yet my conscience was relaxed. Even on my first ride, functioning the bike felt natural, like it was meant to be. It was almost like my life was completed, even though I had the rest of my life ahead of me. Riding a motorcycle is like a roller coaster but better. Like driving in a convertible with the top down on a nice summer day, but better. It’s like getting an A on an essay, like landing that first date with a girl you’re interested in, like hot chocolate after playing in the snow for hours, but better. There is nothing holding you back when you drive a motorcycle.
Owning a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is much more than that. Its a definitional moment when you ride; who are you going to be, what are you going to do, how are you going to do it? If you've never ridden, it’s hard to comprehend what I am saying; but once you try it, I can guarantee you will be hooked for life. Everything that is felt is enhanced. Your sense of smells, sights, and feelings are stimulated to such an extreme that even the familiar seems strange. The smells surround you like a gentle mist of aromas. Everything that passes by tickles the sinuses. The smell of lilies, streams, trees, and fields of wheat are euphoric. At the same time, the bike is like the extension of your body. It’s almost as if you’re dancing in between cars. You move back and forth, this way then that way, and everything is in harmony - ground, bike, and self.
Why do I ride? It’s the thrill, the danger. But more importantly, it’s a connection to my dad. A short documentary I recently watched (I can provide a link upon request) perfectly sums up why I ride. It goes something along the lines of: Every time you climb on your bike and turn the engine on, you do not know whether you will be arriving to your destination safely. But you cannot let the fear of death stop you from doing things you love. We are only here for a while, and we are the sum of our experiences; our experiences, our memories all tends to blend together if we don’t punctuate it with some adventure. Years can slip by pretty fast. What did you do?
Feel free to reach out to me for that link or to talk. Also, if anyone has advice for a current sophomore in college, who is Pre-med/Majoring in Environmental Science, I would really appreciate it. Cheers!

Peter Schott
[email protected]
New York, NY

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