My dad has been a motorcycle guy forever. His dad, my Grampa Fred, took his 26″ Schwinn, cut it down, and put a Whizzer Motorbike kit on it when dad was nine, and that was the start of a lifelong love affair with go-fast two-wheelers.
Dad raced AMA District 37 desert, TT and Motocross events before he married my mother, and his little-kid dream came true when he got to race at Ascot Park in Gardena.
This Triumph Bonneville is the first motorized vehicle in my memory, the next is an old Ford pickup that my sister and I “helped” dad paint as a surprise using yellow house paint, but that’s another story for another day.
Riding this motorcycle with my dad (ever-so slowly around the block, no one panic) is one of my first memories. But this motorcycle means something to me because it comes with a story.
Sunday driving with my dad one afternoon as a teen, he told me the story of how bad he wanted that motorcycle, how hard he worked for it, and what a grand time of life it was in terms of prosperity.
One day, Dad was riding home from the travel agent’s office with two tickets to Hawaii in his pocket. It was a beautiful Southern California day, he was on two wheels, and he was heading towards a sweet little home with a pool at the base of Glendora’s Foothills.
Dad had achieved the dream, including two of the most precious children ever born to any man. (EVEN STILL, there are no children more precious than little Kelly & Sadie Rice in the year 1975.)
But as he rode that day, he was struck by an unshakeable feeling of uneasiness. Truth be told, he was not altogether happy. Dad had everything he thought he’d ever wanted – a nice home, two tickets to Hawaii, and that badass bike.
He described it as a hollow feeling, and it was one that made him realize the material possessions he’d been chasing were not where he was gonna find joy. They could be part of it, but they weren’t enough.
“Happiness” is different for everyone, but most times, true contentment comes from people and connection and adventure and love. And all that shit is free, my friends.
Final thought: Ride on. Just make sure you’re going in the right direction.