My Motorcycle Has No Name

A Black and White Photo of a Man squatting next to his Harley Davidson Sportster

Growing up, I was never in a motorcycle family like some of my friends. I thought they were generally cool, and after watching Akira in the mid 90s I thought it would be really sweet to have one. But still, I never understood some of the motorcycle culture. Some of my friends families were decked out in anything Harley-Davidson. Hearing the Live Free radio commercials in Pittsburgh, you’d hear people trying to explain why riding was such a unique experience. I get it now.

After finally taking the plunge, I can admit that it was one of the best spontaneous decisions of mine. The perpetual state of heightened adrenaline, my heart beating with such force that my skin pulsates to the beat of a universal drum. It feels more like what life was intended to be. Sitting on the couch, wandering around, it feels like true lucidity evades me. I get it back when I ride.

I just got back from a short motorcycle road trip to Connecticut and back. It was such a new, radical, and exhausting experience. Something I plan to do again as soon as I have the time. Something I am asked often about my motorcycle is, “What’s her name?” or “What’s it’s name?” Right when I got it, I initially thought of the name Christy as a play off of Corpus Christi, Texas, but the more I think about it. The more I find myself unwilling and uncomfortable with giving my bike a name.

I don’t view my bike as an external entity that I characterize with a name. That’s often what a name does, names ranging from daunting to sexy. It’s as if I’m giving my bike a theme, but it doesn’t really have one. It’s me. I feel as if my bike is almost like a pair of wings I put on my feet like Hermes or Mercury. I get on my bike and take off. My bike is an extension of me, and giving it a name would be to separate it from myself. One time, I scratched up the exhaust taking a corner too hard. I cringed as if I felt the pain from it. I had to fix a wiring issue last week, I felt the same satisfied accomplishment that I feel when I go to the gym and improve my own body.

In a way, I view my bike a little like Henry Rollins views the Iron. Although, I think Rollins’ point about the Iron is also a knock to two faced individuals in life and how the static nature of the Iron is something to be desired. Like the Iron, my bike is static, it is a tool, it is a gateway for me to fly, to soar, to travel beyond the horizon. By itself, my bike doesn’t do anything, but when I get on, it becomes me.