Saturday, October 2, 2010
Travel By Other Means
So why a bicycle? Well there are some practical reasons and some personal. Practical reason number one is that a motorcycle is is crazy expensive to buy and operate in Japan unless you are going to have it for a while. Secondly, my wife and I don't know if we will stay one year or two years. It wouldn't make sense to buy a motorbike if I could only ride it for 6 months. Cross that bridge when I come to it.
Personal reason 1: White line fever. You don't know what you got till its gone. In the states I had the ability to ride a motorbike into the sticks and crash under the stars on a regular basis. Here, no motorbike, but I do have a seven speed bicycle and a superb railway system at my disposal. I can hop on a train, go across the country with a bicycle in a bag, get off on the other side of Japan, put the wheels on the cycle and point yourself towards the country. Not to mention that I can be in the country by bicycle in 15 min and the mountains in 45 min.from my apt. So in short, a bicycle will do for now.
Personal Reason 2: I love bicycles and have since I was a child. It is reasonable to say that they were my gateway to white line fever as a boy. When I was 10 to12 I lived in the middle of flat, rural west Texas. I had nothing to do with my summers except work in cotton fields in the morning and ride a murray 18 speed miles into no mans land when the ridiculous west texas temps waned in the evening. In cooler seasons I would ride 20 and 30 miles, listening to tape cassettes of Led Zeppelin remasters, Use Your Illusion 1 and 2, and Master of Puppets. Then I got a skateboard and we moved to a town. Next time I got a bike was in college, when I started collecting 10 dollar thrift store bikes. I used them to get to work from my apt. in Birmingham's southside. Some got stolen, which was funny I guess.
So at this point I get another job slightly beyond the reach of a bicycle. I couldn't stand the thought of driving a car to work. I needed two wheels and no roof. You can guess what happened next.
So motorcycles added fuel to the white line fever, no pun intended. And I went further and further. I wanted to ride every road in Alabama, then Tennessee, then the U.S. I rode every chance I got, and dabbling in "modifications" to make what I was riding "better"for traveling. And here we are today. Back to no motorcycle, but the fever remains. Why not return to where I started, at least for now. Not quite the same, but it serves at least the purpose of getting me out of town and under the starts for a night or two here and there.