Famed motorcycle rider Burt Munro stated once, “You live more in 5 minutes on a bike like this than most people live in a lifetime.” How does someone evolve to be like Burt? How does one go from being a mere puppet doing menial daily tasks as directed by the puppeteer, to really living by doing important but not urgent tasks? These, important but not urgent, tasks are the ones that normally get left until it’s too late and “we’ve already fallen off the perch”. I’ve found myself getting stuck in the rut of living to work instead of working to live.
I grew up an average kid with no special talents that I chose to develop; a country boy on a dead end gravel road. Gravel and grass are not great substrates for learning to ride a two wheeled bike so I struggled even with developing that talent until I was about five. Everything changed when me we went to visit my mom’s friends in Wyoming who lived in a paved cul-de-sac. I was amazed at how easily I could ride on two wheels and not fall. It was much easier than trying to ride in the grass in our back yard where as soon as the momentum I received from my father’s push waned I would fall headlong on my noggin in the wet grass. Looking back, and I don’t know if this assumption is correct or not because my mother died at a young age and I never got the chance to ask her, I think my mother was a nervous nelly. She would never let me try riding on the dirt road for fear of me falling and getting really hurt. As an adult my thought process is quite different from my mothers. I would think one good crash on gravel would have been one hundred times better than the sustained head crackings I received over and over in the grass during months and months of failed attempts.
Considering my bumpy start in the two wheeled world, I still grew to love riding my hand-me-down-banana-seat special from Deseret Industries. As a teenager, the desire to go faster grew and my wanting of a motorcycle was met with a stern “Murdercycle? You’ll kill yourself!”, from my mother.
Good, and bad come to those who wait. While the bad certainly outweighed the good, mom died when I was 21 and was no longer an impediment to my motorcycle desires. I will never know for sure in this life why she called them murdercycles but I’m sure it was for good reason. She was a conservative, yet level headed woman who took time to analyze a situation before making a rash assumption. As for now it will remain a mystery to me.
At 23 I got married to a sweet gal who’s father had been a dirt bike rider at one stage of his life and still owned a 1987 xr 250. I can’t quite remember which way it was, but my young wife either said no to a motorbike and I didn’t listen, or she willingly let me get one on one condition. The only condition was no riding at the sand dunes located near our home. Only mountain trail riding for me, to which I agreed, and for the last 13 years I’ve kept that promise.
After months of customizing the old borrowed xr with bent and broken levers, scratched plastics, broken hand guards, and bald tires, it was time for my first real machine, a 2001 kx 250. Sadly my new bike blew up after about 2 hours of riding. So I sold it with the engine dismantled in a 5 gallon bucket, and traded some drywall labor for a 2005 crf 450r. A few years later I sold the 450r to facilitate the purchase of a crf50 and klx 110. If you can’t guess by this strange upgrade, I’m now a family man and cultivating my kids interest in riding, which they enjoy.
Having won the kids to my side it was time to go after Krista ,my wife, who for the last 8 years had put up a strong defense against going riding with me. Then came the master plan, buy her a bike let it sit in the garage and call to her. I bought her riding boots and helmet to help guilt her into riding it. This is a similar technique to buying your dad a ridiculous Father’s Day tie that sings and lights up so he looks like a goon in front of his peers, but he feels obligated to wear to church at least once so as not to hurt your feelings. My persistence paid off.
With Krista gaining interest in riding I somewhat hesitantly chose a PitsterPro 110 for her to ride. I purchased a 110 in 2014 and we rode to death over the next 3 summers. We gave it the torture test. We rode it hard for 3 years without changing the oil or replacing the air filter. We didn’t winterize it, or drain the fuel for winter.
I truly thought we would destroy that little Chinese bike, but we didn’t. It just kept going and going and going, and to my surprise it did so better than the Japanese bikes. Who would have guessed that after 3 years of hard riding the only thing that little bike would need were tires, fork seals, and gas. No different than any other bike I had owned and paid 3 times as much for. Because of the way the PitsterPro endured the abuse we put it through, I’ve decided to convert my whole fleet of bikes from Japanese to Chinese.
I have found Burt Munro’s statement to be true. I too have found great adventure and excitement in 5 minutes on any two wheeled machine with a motor. Mom died at 44 years young and this year I personally turned 34 which got me to thinking. As I understand it my “days are numbered unto the lord,” but they are not numbered unto me. So this year I’ve tried to put into perspective what is important to me and I decided to make a real bucket list. One that is written down and not just rolling around in my head like marbles in a can.
As the owner of 3 small businesses and the father of 4 small children, sometimes the time I would like to make for my family and adventure, the important yet less urgent, gets over run by menial tasks, urgent yet not important. Among my long bucket list that I made this year lies an original from a few years back that has yet to be fulfilled. I am going to ride from south east Idaho where I live, to the southern border of Canada in one trip on trails not roads. Some people would call this a ludicrous idea, yet, most good ideas are just that in the beginning. To add one more element of insanity, I’m going to do it on a PitsterPro xtr250.
This blog will log the miles that we travel this year, hopefully 2000, to prepare for this cross state adventure. Will we make it across the length of the state this year? Nope, but the end of the summer we will take and ride a piece of it from bear lake, on the Idaho/Utah border, to West Yellowstone Montana.
Last winter in Mexico, I saw a bumper sticker on a jeep which read “No airbags we die like real men!” I am going to modify this mantra and use it as my own. No airbags, no seat belts; we live like real men!
Seeing that we never really know when we will fall off the perch, it’s my goal to live a little adventure each day so that I don’t end up living what Tim Ferriss calls the “deferred life plan,” “to find out one day my ship has already sailed.” I like what Thomas S. Monson has said in a discourse titled Now Is The Time, ” If we live only for tomorrow we will have a lot of empty yesterdays today.”