When asked by Marvin why I like bikes, something so dangerous, potentially getting closer to death every time I get on the bike, the best possible answer I could think of, is a set of words spoken by an African biker, preacher and poet named ‘Bra Pony’, “it is not a bike, it is a heartbeat”. See I do not just like motorcycles aka bikes, I like the result of being one with a machine that feels as if it were an extension of my heart beat. I like this passion, I like this addiction. Talking about passion, is much similar to talking about love and it is never easy. No matter what language you speak – words never seem to have enough feeling or emotion in them to describe a feeling to the extent of which you feel it. In trying to answer the question of, ‘why I love biking’, I had to look at when it started, how it started, and, who was involved. It was only then that I would be able to explain how it feels, so that Marvin could understand my answer to the ‘why’ question. So I had to start by remembering the beginning, all the way to my high school years.
When I go back, I find myself in class defiling my beloved maths book, all because of a thirty minute experience provided by a friend, in the form of him teaching me how to ride a 100cc motocross bike. From that day on, I had unknowingly been bitten by a bug. I call this bug the ‘freedom of control’ or better yet FoC. In every moment on that bike, every moment of freedom, your mind shuts down, you shut out the world. You start to move faster and faster and the more you move the more every sense active in your body goes into a mode of hyper activity. The world looks clearer and more beautiful, sound runs between hearing the road, the tyres on the road and the roar of the engine in between your legs and in your control. Every twist and turn or curve on the road feeling like it were created by you just so you could find your freedom. Adrenaline so high no drug is needed to substitute this moment. Meditation, mental clarity where you wish your journey would not end, were if not for your fatigue and the need for a tank refill. In that single lesson that coloured boy, had created a dilemma for a young black boy. Mainly because there were only two places my family could reference motorcycles, on TV or in the hood and no matter how you looked at it, these as examples for a parent, were not examples you could, nor would, want to imagine their child becoming.
In the hood, being Atteridgeville, around the summer holidays, all our favourable hustles would be out, enjoying their plunder of the season and in that hood at the time, the most famous and favourable was William “Mashobane” Mbatha, better known by the media as ‘The King of Bling’, who would be out with is bang of young followers looking good on those streets. On the other end of the spectrum as a television show, of a family based in Orange County, New York, who owned a Motorcycle company name OCC. They looked, dressed and acted like a family of white bikers, the son swearing at the dad and vice-versa. Every episode had a family feud, I was in no position to bring this new addiction, passion/dangerous love into our black middle class family’s lives. I remember talking to my mom, a registered nurse by profession, about how I want to ride a motorcycle over driving a car one day. To this day I believe what she heard is, “I want to be a dare devil, like the criminals and racist looking white people who ride motorcycles” or “I’m on drugs”
I believe that is what she heard because her answer was quite clear, “wa n***a”, or better yet explained, you must have lost your mind because you are speaking rubbish. So there I was resorting to being in my grade 9 maths class, defiling my book with images of the classical look of a custom cruiser. The worldly traveller’s bike. In my mind cow boys had the Horse and we the new age fellas had the cruiser. I can even attest now after going on a holiday with my girlfriend where one of our activities was horse riding. One animal one human, but the faster I rode the horse the more we became a single heartbeat, one mind becoming a God made machine controlled by your mind…and it doesn’t end there, there is a world of adventure to be found in the biking scene. As I got older I realised there is a culture to riding that was way beyond just riding. A brotherhood between people who hardly know each other but share this love. Attention from the world brought on by sudden beliefs in your bad boy/danger seeker persona. A world of fashion brought on from protection for those looking to move fast to casual custom jeans with protection and padded sneakers for the black diamond looking to look good in the city. There is a side to the biker scene that those who don’t ride will never get to witness.
That is it, I am taking Marvin on a biking journey. I am taking Marvin into the journey of learning the gifts of this lifestyle. From learning how to ride to seeing the lifestyle offered for this black diamond to experience. I want Marvin to see the brands of motorcycles, riding gear and even tech made specifically for riding. I want Marvin to meet a new medium of travel. I want Marvin to see opportunities like weekend track day as hobby. I am Biker Mouse, join me as I take Marvin Riding.
Writer: Maele Mothiba