Sunday, November 6, 2011

We made noise for Marco Sunday

When I got home from work on Saturday night, the first videos had already been uploaded to the #MakeNoiseForMarcoSunday Facebook group, by bikers in Australia. I worked late into the night last night, and had to get up early this morning to go back into work.

Commuting by motorcycle, in Kansas City, in November, is chilly business. So instead of spending any time checking stats or responding to postings on #MakeNoiseForMarcoSunday, I had to put on extra layers, go downstairs and take the cover off the bike (and hope that it would start at these temperatures.)



It did start, and as I rode off, my thoughts were of the race in Valencia, which had yet to happen -- and of the on-track tribute to Marco, which by then had already taken place. In the end, they didn't rev the bikes on the track; I suppose the MotoGP organizers never had actually agreed to that suggestion. But they had a ceremony in which most of the bikes in all three world championship classes did a slow lap of the track on a cold and rainy day, then stopped at the start-finish line.

I suppose it was just too much trouble to rev the bikes; God knows what it would cost if you blew one up. So, in Valencia, they shot off fireworks. Which, if you've been to a MotoGP race in Spain you know they shoot quite a lot of fireworks off anyway. There was some sincere mourning to be done, but as far as the people who actually run MotoGP are concerned, the purpose of this display is to help get back to business as normal. A really meaningful tribute would be to say, for one race everyone will run their bikes without any logos at all; just race numbers and the base paint color. That would remind us that what is important are the things we do for love, not money.

As I left my neighborhood heading towards the highway I take to work, I turned a corner that's always wet. There must be a broken water main there. This morning, as I took that bend, the Triumph stepped out. That was nice; it did something to my mood, because I rode to work at quite a spirited pace. I was passing cars on the highway as if they were pylons in a slalom.

At 10:25, I looked out the window of the grocery store and there was another motorcyclist parked beside my bike. It was Kansas City sustainable architecture guru Jim Van Eman, on his Ducati. I pressed another [NAME OF EMPLOYER REDACTED] employee into service as a videographer (thanks Lindsay!) and clocked off for five minutes to run out and rev my bike with Jim. Since the store's a zoo on the weekend, I had no time to chat with my friend; I literally ran out, revved the bike, and ran back in. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur; as you'll hear when I get my video posted, I had a murderous head cold.



I got off work at four p.m., and since last night was the night we turned our clocks back from daylight savings time, the sun was already low in the sky. All the way home up highway 71, I raced my own shadow. Neither of us could eke out an advantage. I didn't have to stop until I got to the bottom of the off-ramp near my house. There was a guy there, holding a cardboard sign that read
HOMELESS
HUNGRY
Anything helps
God Bless
Thanks

He looked at me and called out, "Nice bike!"

I have almost no voice, thanks to this cold, so I just nodded and gave him the thumbs-up. When I finally pulled into my parking spot, I turned the bike east and my shadow fell behind.

Despite the fact that it was cold; despite the fact that I have a cold; despite the homeless guy's comment that the Triumph is a nice bike even though it's actually a piece of crap... Despite all that, it was a good day to be a motorcyclist and to be alive. That's something that #MakeNoiseForMarcoSunday has helped many of us to remember.

Ciao, Marco

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