Lieback’s Lounge Motorcycle Commentary
Things have settled down. The cake is finished, the plates are clean, and the bottles of Montepulciano are empty. I have just celebrated my son Enzo’s first birthday; of course, he didn’t have any wine, though he’ll be crushing grapes this fall.
A few family members visited my house in the mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania, and things went well. But, after my wife Pam and I put Enzo to bed, loads of reflections begin, with the typical question of “Where the hell did that year just go?”
For Enzo, there was great health and growth, along with loads of dirty diapers, smelly and expensive Alimentum formula, and crying—who ever coined the phrase “sleep like a baby”, was absolutely maniacal and mindless. Of course, these reflections quickly leaned into motorcycles.
Before Enzo was born, I dreamt of nothing but international and extended stateside motorcycle travel. Unfortunately, due to timing, I was never able to make this happen. These dreams solidified during the most motivated time of my life, just two weeks after Enzo took his first breath.
Although I was heartbroken to leave the little guy, and the thought of poor Pam dealing with dirty diapers and sleepless nights while I was riding a BMW S 1000 RR in Southern Spain became my newfound idea of surreal, it was a lifelong goal achieved.
Before 2015, I had only ridden in Europe once, during my honeymoon. After touring the Ducati factory—yep, she’s a keeper—we rode a borrowed Multistrada north to Verona, spent the night, and returned the bike the following day before heading to Assisi. This got me itching for more Euro scenery.
That more would have to wait until Enzo’s birth; I found myself testing some new Metzeler shoes on the sleepy roads of southern Spain and at Circuito de Almería. I was in the great company of fellow journalists, with loads of tapas and some earthy Rioja.
WiFi and phone signals were spotty, but I managed to get some FaceTime with Pam and Enzo, who were back home dealing with snow as I was sipping wine under a full moon. Again, surreal.
I ached to be home, but my trip was only halfway over. I then traveled to Sardinia, a Mediterranean island that has been on my radar since reading D.H. Lawrence’s “Sea and Sardinia” in my early 20s. I spent a few days testing the Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally, again enjoying like-minded industry friends and European culture.
I arrived home and Enzo seemed to have grown a foot, and continued to grow in the same continuum as my travels, which took me to notable stateside places like Circuit of the Americas for a BMW S 1000 RR launch. I even got to ride in Canada during the S 1000 XR launch, and back to Spain for the Ducati 959 Panigale launch—this time at Valencia. What a year!
Here I am reflecting on 2015, realizing that January has slipped by just as fast as last year. A few more trips are already in the works, including one to yet another untraveled location—Abu Dhabi. My life goal of international motorcycling continues, but now it’s much easier to embrace considering Enzo is not up every two hours, and Pam can sleep a full night. As for the diapers, well, sorry hon, but I’ll be riding.
Column from spring edition of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; visit our free digital version.