The Passenger

Here I am, ain’t I a cutie.

Kiddin’.

This guy started annoying his parents in 1989, first it was just the crying and shitting his pants, but soon everything went to shit. I never felt at home in schools and gave my parents the joy of worrying their heads of about my future. I doubled a year in high school and started 2 different colleges (architecture and industrial engineer) before deciding that I didn’t like chemistry, so I went out and started studying chemistry anyway. Crawled my way trough that and now I’m supposed to be a chemist.

But rest assured, everything is finally falling into place. I started making trips on my bike not knowing what to expect and maybe a bit afraid of being alone too much, only to realise that the not knowing what to expect is the fun part of the journey and the being alone thing never happens. I’ve met more people in one trip then I did in all my years as a student combined. I was a boring, asocial student though.

I think you can blame my father for infecting me with the motorcycle virus. Closing in on his midlife crisis he bought a BMW R850R, second hand, in a beautiful, dark red-ish color. But because he had never actually ridden a bike (back in his days you could just tell the driver’s license people you wanted a permit and they would just give you one) he crashed it. Thankfully he wasn’t injured, but the bike was a total loss. But not to worry, he’s a stubborn little man. Within a few months the new bike arrived, kind of the same one, also a BMW R850R, but this time a, not-so-beautiful-as-the-dark-red-ish, bleu. And then crashed it again. It wasn’t his fault though and the bike was repairable. Good thing for me, because I do not think his boss, being my mom, would have allowed him to get another one.

Days pass by, he drives his bike to and from work, does not crash, all is well. As a 12 year old, I see him driving up the drive way every day. Being all cool, with his helmet and stuff. The bike making a low, somewhat intimidating rumble. Him stopping the bike, pushing out the side stand with his left foot and letting the bike lean on it in a slight angle. The bike ticking away the effort of the long drive home as it cools down. My dad taking of his helmet in a very theatrical way (he knows I’m watching him), going through his hair, of which he hasn’t any, with his hand. He stays strong for a couple of seconds but then quickly drops the act, he rips of his gloves, cannot get his jacket off fast enough, looses his boots and, balancing and jumping on one leg almost falling over, removes his bike pants. It is 35°C outside, which is the average temperature a pizza thinks about getting a tan. His face is puffy red, his t-shirt all wet and sweaty, he can barely stand on his legs and finally gives in to the heat. He lays himself down on the grass and begins his cooling down progress. Which basically is laying there until somebody screams: “Dinner’s ready!”

“Yes, that is what I want”, this 12 year old version of me thought. And so I became in love with bikes. Magnificent machines that sometimes make you suffer for the thrill of being out there, for experiencing the moment in a way car drivers never will and of course, for being the coolest guy on the road.