Wow! The past six months have been something else. First time riding a bike; first time owning a bike; first time joining a motorcycle club; first time becoming an officer in a motorcycle club. Who would have thought!
This is not only an encapsulation of things ventured and gained on my part over the last half of 2008, but a tribute to all the members of this unique family-oriented group that I have had the pleasure to meet/ride/ converse/email and just generally cavort with :-).
It all started with (a chance?) meeting with Tom & Diane from the original CMC001 Guelph chapter, on their shiny rides outside of the Orangeville Home Hardware this past April. What got me hooked was their willingness to take the time to explain their (evident) joy in not only riding, but the community and camaraderie that fostered such interest behind it…namely the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers.
Having been thoroughly enamoured by their graciousness, I began researching the CMC online and got connected with the Ontario Provincial Officer Matt, and ended up at one of the famous CMC001 monthly brunches. Arriving at that venue with my wife on that particular day, we were greeted with multiple rows of bikes along with what seemed to me at the time, a veritable sea of black leather. As I contemplated the fact that I must have misplaced what little brains I had somewhere between Orangeville and Cambridge, I mused over the fact that I was not even licensed; never owned a bike and whatever have I gotten myself into. If all else failed, at least I could not be accused of being a poser.
Exiting our car (one of only three that were in attendance), we walked up to the entrance where the largest collection of cow hide was congregating. Before I could figure out an exit strategy and with very limited duck and cover options presenting themselves to me; I braced myself for….well…that’s just it. I was not sure what to brace myself for. While I wrestled with this conundrum, two individuals detached themselves from the crowd as we approached and proceeded to eradicate any and all unfounded fears or concerns; simply by greeting us with a hug!
Now I consider my hug quotient to be fairly high on the Richter scale of all things huggable; after all I am of Jamaican extract and I am married to an Acadian French woman; and in the 20 odd years that I have known my wife, I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as invading personal space. As far as Canadian French women go anyway :-). So when we say that we were not expecting hugs from bikers…well nuff said!
Thank you all for enabling an atmosphere of instant friendship. Thank you for welcoming us into your family fraternity. Being on the receiving end and now in turn seeing how it looks from the other side has allowed us to experience levels of interaction that we did not know existed. Thank you for breaking stereotypes. You have done this by not only being yourselves, but allowing others the same privilege as well.
Now with 4900km under the seat; 2 major group rides; numerous Meet & Greets and Bike Nights; helping to reestablish a local chapter (now 16 members and counting); I can easily attest to the fact that all of this was entirely possible because of CMC family members who provided wisdom, guidance and encouragement to this self-confessed neophyte. I look forward to returning the favour in spades in the coming new year.