Thom responded to a thread on one of the forums I follow about why people ride. One of the emerging themes, and it is I think purely coincidental, is the entrepreneurial nature of the people I’ve been interviewing. It’s also possible that I just notice that sort of thing as I count myself in that group. Or maybe it’s just an echo of whatever primeval thing it is that causes us to saddle up and ride. Dunno.
Read to the end. I’ve included some really excellent ride reports (with pics) that Thom has filed at PNWRiders.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m something of a jack of all trades. I’ve earned my living testing software, manufacturing, and even spent a couple years acting. Currently I build and maintain cellular and broadcast towers. I recently married, first time for both of us. No kids, just cats. Other avocations include photography, travel, climbing, and skiing.
When did you first ride a motorcycle?
My first riding experience was on the back of my uncle’s dual sport. (the shady looking fella on the right in the pic). I was nine and I harangued him, and my grandmother, for two weeks before they finally gave in and let me go. I burned my ankle on the exhaust and he left me sitting on a logging road in the middle of nowhere while he tore it up a bit in the trees. Still, it was incredible, and I became obsessed as only a nine year old can. Over-cautious parents meant no bike for me, so my desire settled into the back of my mind for the next 30 years.
What was the first bike you owned?
’05 Moto Guzzi Breva 750. I killed it twice riding the two miles home. Once in the middle of an intersection. Yikes!
How many miles do you expect to ride this year?
I’ve managed ~10k+ for each of my first two years. I hope to meet or beat that this year.
Riding gear of choice?
Just picked up a Shoei Multitec helmet, Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket most of the time, First Gear mesh jacket for the hot days, BMW City pants for dry days, Joe Rocket Ballistic over pants for the wet ones. A-Stars winter gloves, Olympia summer gloves. Joe Rocket Orbit boots.
How would you describe your involvement with motorcycling now?
If I’m not carrying a bunch of tools and it’s not dumping buckets or icy, I commute on the bike most days. It’s so much easier to navigate the urban crunch on two wheels, and my mood is much better than when I have to cage it.
There’s just no such thing as a bad day on the bike. Whenever I get a free day I’ll take a jaunt out to the islands, peninsula, or mountains. The more remote, twisty, and scenic, the better.
What attracted you to motorcycling? Why do you ride?
What’s not to love? The thrills, the “cool” factor, the independence. There’s a sense of complete engagement when I’m riding. The smell of pine trees, salt water, wood smoke, the sound of the engine on a down-shift in a tunnel, the feel of the bike pulling me out of a hairpin.
There’s a zen feeling when I focus through a turn, tip the bike in, and power out into the next bend. I also get a great sense of adventure out riding the back roads on my own. Exploring new corners, dealing with unforeseen events, the beauty of an isolated mountain road.
If you’re married or in a relationship, was it something you discussed? Were there issues? Were there deals made?
I’m married and she was all for it. She actually got on me a bit for taking too long to get my bike after passing the BRC.
Does she ride with you?
We’ve done some two up. She enjoys it, but isn’t as wound up as I am.
What do you think about when you ride?
Whatever comes to mind. If I’m riding hard, or in traffic, my focus is on the road ahead of me and the task at hand. I really enjoy the way my mind locks in on the road, the other vehicles, the bike beneath me, and forms all those elements into a sort of dance on the road.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone coming to motorcycles for the first time?
Relax and enjoy it. It’ll change your life.
What bike would you recommend (and why)?
Assuming you’re asking about a first bike, I would suggest a standard with around 600cc’s or so. They’re more comfortable than the sport bikes, can lean better than a cruiser, and can handle the occasional dirt/gravel road without a lot of drama. Once you figure out what type of riding really appeals to you, you can shop more specialized bikes.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done on/with a motorcycle?
Last year I did the Dam Tour. It’s a great excuse to ride out to random spots around the NW and do some exploring. I had some great adventures and saw some beautiful sites along the way. Here are a few threads on the rides I have done.
If you could pick one place you’d recommend as a riding destination / experience, what/where would that be?
The North Cascades Hwy. 20 from Marblemount to Winthrop. Twisties galore, good pavement, and some of the best scenery in the state. In the “I haven’t done it yet” category, SE Asia. The people, scenery, and food are great. I just wasn’t riding the first time around.
If someone handed you a blank check and said “go buy a motorcycle you’d enjoy riding (not just collecting), what would you pick?
Right now it’d be the BMW F 800 GS. I really have an itch to do some dual sport riding, and this seems like the bike to do it on.
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