Lieback’s Lounge: Struggling With Diversity—For Motorcycles, That Is

Ducati 1198 NYST Lieback
Author on Ducati 1198 at NYST (photo by Brian Finch of 572 Creations)

Lieback’s Lounge: May 2018

Diversity has its ups and downs. As a general rule in society, diversity among humans is a must, and keeps unity going regardless of race, religion, politics or whatever else is topping today’s headlines.

For other elements within life, diversity can sometimes present some downs as it used to for me in music and motorcycles.

This first started back in my pre-teen days when I began a lifelong passion for music and guitars. Due to my dad’s love of bands such as Deep Purple, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Cream, I became obsessed with classic rock. This lead to a love in blues, which eventually progressed into a love of jazz.

Ducati 1198 NYST Lieback
Author on Ducati 1198 at NYST (photo by Brian Finch of 572 Creations)

Teenage hormones shaped other tastes as I grew up in the 1990s, and my tastes for grunge rock grew. This led into various other styles of music, from death metal to electronica to jam bands. Diverse tastes are awesome, except when you’re trying to master all on guitar.

That was my first issue with diversity. In my teens and 20s, I wanted to not only one of the best guitar players, but also master all styles. Now in my late 30s, things have obviously changed drastically, and music is not my leading charge to make a living. The diversity issue is no longer present. Now, playing is more of a way to get me away from it all, and my tunes of choice are blues. Jazz is coming—maybe when I enter my 50s.

My second bout with diversity arrived in the world of motorcycles. This was in my early 20s. Everything revolved around speed and sportbikes, but there was a huge problem. I was the proverbial broke musician and writer. I did drive a UPS truck for a bit back then and that granted some good cash flow for the area, at the expense of any sanity of freedom of choice.

I was able to participate in a few track days, and had no issue getting up to speed. This created a craving for racing. I didn’t have the mindset I do today, and let the world make up excuses for me not racing. Instead of being resourceful and chasing what I wanted, I blamed it all on lack of resources.

Passionate about what motorcycles can do for the mind and emotions, my lack of track riding led to other styles, including long solo trips on high-horsepower sport-touring motorcycles, as well as my Ducati Multistrada 1200, and adventure motorcycles. In regards to the latter, nothing beats slogging a KTM 1190 Adventure R on a single track, and then cranking to 125+ on asphalt. It’s the perfect combo for a ADHD brain that’s wired to love off-road and on-road riding.

The diversity issue had surfaced again. My decisions were always three-fold—track day, gnarly ADV ride, or full-leather sportbike ride on the backroads. People still stray from the spirited backroad rips on sportbikes due to safety, but it is still one of my riding style loves.

Over the past few years, due to various circumstances out of my control, such as family health and travel schedules, the track days have dwindled. In their place, ADV and spirited street rides have absorbed most of my soul’s energy. The decision typically comes down to last-minute apparel decisions; if I’m too lazy to slip into full leathers, I’ll grab the Aerostich R-3 and beat up my KTM (and body).

Regardless of riding decision, I realize more and more it’s not just the style of riding I always crave. Rather, it’s the simple enjoyment of two wheels and the focus on something that points the mind towards something else for a bit. These rides are the ultimate refresher for the mind, providing sharper focus on work and family.

As I think about it, though, I do miss having my knee planted at the track, neck craning while looking through a corner, and modulating that throttle ever so slightly to keep that perfect line flowing.

Okay, there goes the mind again. My struggle with moto diversity is real.