I love the smell inside my helmet. A lingering mixture of exhaust, lubricant, Simple Green, Nivea aftershave, blooming trees and asphalt awakens my senses every time I hit the starter button, put on my lid and secure the chin strap.
I don’t drive much. Haven’t had the need to in the past 15 years since I commute to work via the L. My 2002 VW Beetle only just turned 36,000 last week. Driving in these parts is for suckers. Relegated to a grinding task, usually in the worst times of the day, nobody gets pleasure out of driving anymore. Sure, you can have a Maserati, but there’s nowhere you can’t drive 185. So, what’s the point? But riding is almost nothing but pleasure — especially once you get outside the city boundaries.
Seeing as how I am generally antisocial and such, I usually don’t go riding with other people very often. I got into riding long after all my friends outgrew it, broke body parts or had families, so I’ve always felt a bit at a disadvantage hanging with tuners and thus kept my distance. But every now and then I get together with my buddy Kevin in Geneva and we hit the road from there. Scooter rides a BMW RS1100 and I keep pace on my Ducati Monster 620.
Traffic was light Sunday morning as I headed south down Western Avenue to I-290 on my way out to Geneva. I pulled up to the light at the six corners of Elston, Diversey and Western as a flash mob — I think that’s what the kids call them — of about a dozen hipster nerds in unitards performed a dance with water bottles. And me without my camera. I said to myself, “Lou, it’s the beginning of a great adventure.”