I know a lot of helicopter pilots who are also motorcyclists. It’s understandable; there are a lot of similarities both machines. Both require the total involvement of the operator, including the use of all available arms and legs. Pilots are generally stoic and Gary Cooperishly taciturn regarding their love of flying. Motorcyclists by comparison can be downright effusive and gushy. (It’s an odd dichotomy, now that I think of it.)
In keeping up with my various interests, I read a lot. Despite the creeping pervasiveness of computers and the internet into our lives, there are thankfully many paper magazines still printed. And I don’t know about you, but reading a magazine is pleasant and rewarding…holding it in my hands, thumbing through the pages, smudging the ink...it makes the subject seem more alive somehow than does reading the same story on my flat computer screen here.
Each industry has its noteworthy writers; people who understand the subject and can communicate it in clear terms. In the latest issue of CYCLE WORLD Magazine, Peter Jones has an article entitled, “Love Machine (The why of riding),” in which he talks about the peculiar attraction motorcycling holds for him. Every sentence of the story begins, “I love…” and then he lists something. He does this 121 times (yes, I counted). Most of them are pretty motorcycle-specific to the extent that only other riders would understand. But some are eminently relatable.
“I love the responsibility of riding smartly,” Jones writes. “I love being alone on a motorcycle. I love riding in groups. I love how motorcycles make me feel like the hero I’m not. I love that riding a motorcycle means I might be half as cool as Steve McQueen.”
Hah! And I love that! To you young’uns, Steve McQueen was a famous motorcyclist/racecar driver/pilot. Oh, and in his spare time he was an aspiring actor. I think he may have appeared in a film or two. And he was the essence of cool – the very definition of it.
We pilots are the same as motorcyclists. We just don’t go around wearing our hearts on our sleeve. I mean, I could wax poetic for 121 lines about how much flying means to me in all the different ways. But I won’t. Suffice to say I just love flying. Yup.
And leave it at that.