Motorcycles

I was very young, possibly four or five, somehow escaping the house,
There is no memory of anybody being there to stop me.
Walking into town, through dark streets feeling no fear,
just thrills of being in this other, dark, grown up world.
There were coffee bars back then, smoky, warm, bright lit places,
full of not quite adults and music, loud music, laughing people.
Outside were motorcycles, black and chrome, smelling of petrol, oil, danger.
Inside were young women putting on lipstick, brushing their hair, beautiful.
They would find me, hug me, try to take me home and all I wanted was to stay.
There I was safe, warm, amongst the leather, the petticoated and bitter coffee smell.
Later there were uncles, neighbours with machines like these but they lacked
context, the places that gave motorcycles meaning.
Then in ’69 it all came back to life: Easyrider.
Sat in a small suburban cinema, sneaking in subterfuge as old enough for the rating.
There were three of us, cowed silent, drinking in the high colour, surrounded by
sounds, sights, that meant everything and nothing to a teenage kid in this half dead
greyed out northern England town.
After that it was all over, there was only one thing I wanted to do, ride the highway.
Looking for adventure, that couldn’t happen, I was too young, so it was bigger bars
on my bicycle, brighter clothes, attitude out and about.
This found me trouble with the old ones, authority, just about anybody that wanted to
fuck with a young kids dreams, as you might know: there is No shortage of those
people in this world.
At seventeen I got my first proper motorcycle.
I rode it that day, 200 miles through the busy back roads from t’north to the south
coast of England.
Stalled it a couple of times, almost had a few accidents, almost was enough to keep
my heart beating, but I made it in one piece.
There is no going back now.

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