Motorcycles, Rain & Prisoners


Lieback’s Corner (4) / 5.20.2011

For the past seven days it did nothing but rain here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. There were peaks of sun on certain days, but dark clouds quickly swallowed this brightness, spitting endless streams to the ground.

So in other words, the motorcycles rested in the garage, and I drove my car more than normal. But an awkward occurrence may never allow this again.

Upon returning home from some errands this morning, a bunch of prisoners awoke a new sense of adventure in me.

Yes, prisoners.

In the midst of a downpour that would have stung even with the thickest leathers on, I witnessed a bunch of prisoners in their bright orange and green vests, picking up trash alongside an entrance ramp to Interstate 81.

I slowed the car, turning down the impossible-to-recreate-sounds from jazz-guitar genius Wes Montgomery, and noticed nothing but smiles on the their faces.

Pouring rain. Picking up trash. Huge smiles.

It didn’t immediately make sense, but after the thoughts resonated in the cranium for a bit, I realized no matter what the weather presents, these men are in their glory for those hours because it’s their time away from incarceration.

I looked around inside my vehicle, suddenly perceiving something completely different – I realized I was also incarcerated, but behind a different set of bars only known to passionate motorcyclists, steel bars attached to four wheels.

Why wasn’t I riding my motorcycle, giving a huge smile to people passing by as the rain pelted off my helmet and they were comfy in their automobiles?

I have the essentials. The Givi luggage is there with over 120 liters or space, so unless I’m bringing home something massive like a patio set, I’m good. And I’ve spent years chasing down gear that performs optimally in the rain, and can say wet conditions are only a burden to my tires, not my body (although wet tires can also be a burden to the body).

Plus I already piloted my Honda VFR 800 miles in rain this year, a few of those stretches in temps below 32 degrees. And I didn’t complain because I was dry when I got to wherever I was going.

During those rainy rides, I would stop for gas, and people would look at me like I was mad; I helped enhance their assumptions with a smile. But here I am today, driving a comfortable car when I could have easily taken a motorcycle.

These prisoners, whom I’m sure didn’t commit huge crimes due to being on minimal security, awoke a new sense of adventure within – if it’s raining, I’m riding, even for those little jaunts downtown to the bank or wherever.

As I sit here typing this, the sun is out on one side of my office, dark clouds and hard rain on the other. I just may take a break and head out for a ride.

And if I get stuck in the rain, I’ll just smile, knowing it’s better to be free on two wheels than incarcerated behind the bars of an automobile.

I’m sure the local prisoners collecting trash would agree…

– Stay Twisted, Throttle yr Soul

Ron Lieback (Online Editor)