As many regular readers know, I have two blogs: one is primarily related to our motorcycling adventures and interests and another related to our interest in tandem bicycles and cycling.
Although they may seem like polar opposites — pedal power vs horsepower — they’re really not all that far removed from each other in terms of why we find both appealing: we simply enjoy doing things together, being physically active, having our knees in the breeze and searching out people with like interests.
If someone was to ask, “Which do you like better, motorcycling or tandem cycling? we’d probably be hard-pressed to come up with a definitive answer. It’d be like asking someone who they loved more, their spouse or their children. There are clearly some huge differences between the two groups, but at the same time there are also an awful lot of similarities.
Both groups include people who all work hard and play hard. In terms of educational and career diversity, both groups cover all of the bases: high school to advanced degrees, nurses, teachers, entrepreneurs, IT professionals, bankers, program managers, construction, aircraft mechanics, flight attendants, retired military and so on.
But, there are also a lot of differences; you’d never mistake a gathering of our motorcycling friends for a gathering of our tandem cycling friends and not for the reasons that you might think. However, it’s these differences that define the groups and make them uniquely different.
If I had to find some way of conveying the difference between our very different groups of friends, it would probably come down to very subjective terms like “passion, love, brotherhood and commitment” to describe the feelings we have about our motorcycling friends AND our tandem cycling friends. But, that said, if I had to be completely honest, as I think about both groups of friends all of those terms become capitalized and are followed by an exclamation point when I think of our motorcycling friends.
For example, we have a great deal of love for many of our tandem friends, but we openly share an immense amount of love with our motorcycling friends. no one is bashful about that. They are very open and passionate about spirituality, patriotism (many are veterans like myself), civic duty, good causes and close ranks to help friends and family when they are in need. To a person, everyone has everyone’s back and that’s not just talk; you get a true feeling of community where everyone looks out for everyone else. It’s been a very long time since I can recall that, like back in the 60’s when everyone in a neighborhood knew each other, watched out for each other and understood the value of being a member of that community. It was also that way in the military and still is, at least in many of the specialty MOS’ and elite forces.
Our tandem friends and friendships tend to be a bit more subtle and feelings are a bit more guarded with just a few exceptions. The tandem community feels a lot more contemporary and seems to have almost an unwritten set of standards for acceptable and unacceptable subjects so as to not offend, at least when there are large groups. Perhaps it’s because the tandem community is politically and socially more diverse and tends to be more white collar in terms of the working environment. Quite a few members of the tandem community are also veterans, but you’d never know it and most seem to have clear political and spiritual belief systems but you’d never know unless you had a few cocktails at a small dinner gathering. And, it’s not that I don’t think our friends “have our backs” as we have friends in the tandem community who are more like family than family and they know who they are: it’s a mutual feeling and understanding.
Below are a few photos that include some of the members of our tandem family, noting that there are clearly a few members of the family missing from these photos. Note: If one of those close friends happens to see this blog entry (noting that it’s on the motorcycle blog), please don’t feel slighted my omission: I probably couldn’t find a photo with y’all in it without going through hundreds of rally photo collections.
But, those relationships are the exception and not the rule. In the motorcycling community, it tends to be the other way around and perhaps that’s because we’ve simply been blessed to find ourselves with an amazing group of friends: no kidding.
Despite the trials and tribulations we all must deal with — and let’s be honest, none of us are immune from tests of the will, spirit and love for family and friends — at the end of the day and after we have made the transition to whatever lies behind the world that we live in, we will be remembered by and for the friends we made on our journey. Let me just say that at this point in time, I’m good with that!