Photo by Genghis
I HAVE SOMEBODY TO LOVE: My Harley 74, “Mabel.”
JOHN 13: 1-17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress and the devil had already tempted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and that he was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, and he took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Jesus’ cleaning of his disciples’ feet, was a lesson in love, but also a lesson in humility. Jesus loved his disciples very much, and his humble act of cleaning their feet demonstrated this love. Think of this when you wash your bike. The act of washing one’s bike, is not a trivial or insignificant endeavor. It is an act of love, pure and simple. I just washed my Harley, Mabel, and no greater act of motorcycle love can demonstrate the reverence I hold for her, than the humble and seemingly mundane act, of cleaning her rear 16, front 21, and all else in between. When I see her rocker boxes gleaming, and her bottom end devoid of road grime, I know that I have communed with my bike in a very personal and spiritual way.
Like everything else that comes from living in The City, even simple acts such as washing my bike, are not as easy as when I lived in Queens. When I lived in Queens, I had access to a hoses from the building that my parents owned. Then, I had the choice of using a hose from the front of the building, allowing me to wash the bike on Northern Boulevard, or a hose from the back of the building, which I could snake into the parking lot of a KFC that abutted the building.
Photo by Genghis
MY HOUSE IN THE CITY: Nothing’s easy.
Now where I live, I have to park Mabel in between my building and the next building over, to wash her. Parking her directly in front of my building is prohibited by our apartment house’s management office, so I have to park her out of the way, in an park alcove down the block to implement my act of love and reverence towards Mabel. I don’t like to park her against the curb between cars, because I don’t have maneuvering room to clean, and can’t roll her forward to get to obscure areas of the rear 16 on the chain side.
Since there’s no hose available like there was in Queens, I have to carry buckets of water from my apartment. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not torturous work. I’m merely pointing out that it is relatively harder to wash a motorcycle in The City. Those of ya living where you have your own property, you have it easier.
Photo by Genghis
MABEL PARKED DOWN THE BLOCK: Can you tell she’s clean?
True bikers know that there is something extremely spiritual about our relationships with our motorcycles, an undercurrent of profound connectedness that is lost on those outside the biker subculture. To those within, it is sometimes difficult to put into words, but it is there. There is this deep marriage between a biker and his bike that defies the terms that are at times, demanded by the outside world for clarity. Screw ’em. We know it, we feel it, and we believe in it.
There are only few essentials I feel I need in life, for life to be complete. This consists of my loving wife Patty, a roof over my head, food to eat, my Harley, my Vette and my photography. Everything else is negotiable. Many bikers lead quite an ascetic existence, monk-like in their dedication to their Harleys.
I believe that generally speaking, bikers are very basic people. We don’t get caught up in a lot of bullshit. Our existences and happiness depends on very little, compared to the average citizens out there. One of the ways that we express the simple truth of our lives, is by performing the loving act of washing our motorcycles. If you think that washing your bike is an act of triviality, then look to the lessons that Jesus imparted, by washing his disciples’ feet. Later.