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.