Motorcycles, Life & Great Expectations by Capt Crash
What are you looking for? What are your expectations? I expect to be taxed. Continually. I expect to be taxed when I die—well, not me directly but my family if I have enough assets. Some taxes are called fees but they’re taxes anyway you cut them. I pay fees to register all my motorized stuff.
But enough whining about giving money to “the man”.
What are your expectations? According to Dictionary.com:
Expect -verb (used with object)
1. to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of: I expect to read it. I expect him later. She expects they will come.
2. to look for with reason or justification.
I particularly like number 2 “to look for with reason or justification”. As you might know I work at a high school. Kids expect a lot of stuff. See, for me the mark of maturity is the difference between explanation 1 and explanation 2, ‘to look for with reason or justification’.
Lots of teens I know ‘expect’ to get Division 1 collegiate athletic scholarships. They expect to become famous rap stars. Or they expect they’ll become movie stars. Most of these expectations are based on raw, unsubstantiated hope. They just want to be rappers, stars or athletes and one of the benevolent lies we tell is that ‘if you want it bad enough—you can do it!” Which is a bit of a whopper because you also need talent and some luck to become a star. Tupac Shakur, who teens will point to as ‘coming up the hard way’ actually attended a Baltimore performing arts high school and performed Shakespeare, studied poetry, and was the Mouse King in the Nutcracker. It’s easy to forget that paying your dues is…well, paying your dues. Tupac was a background dancer for the Digital Underground (the Humpty Hump guys) before he got his break.
Teens at my school just expect they’ll automatically become famous because they want to be famous. There’s no rational basis for their expectations—they just hope it enough that they expect it’ll happen. I was in the counselors’ office the other day and a young man was trying to weasel out of a class he didn’t like. Counselor wouldn’t let him because if he dropped, then an automatic F attached itself to this kid’s transcript. (I was there just for moment dropping in to ask a quick question when I witnessed this). After listening I had listened for a moment when the student blithely told the counselor that academics wasn’t a big deal and I decided to stick my nose in.
“Can I ask a question?” I asked the Counselor.
“Sure!” said the Counselor.
“You mind if I ask you a question?” I directly asked the student.
“Yeah, shoot.” He said.
“Are you going on to college or tech school—after you graduate I mean?”
“Yes.” He looked me straight in the eye and added “I’m going on a football scholarship.”
“Where?” (See, ‘where?’--that’s the kind of question that can stop an expectation in its tracks—it’s a reality question).
He looked at me kind of like I was stupid. Didn’t I know? Somewhere!
“Well,” I said, “you’re a Junior right? (He nods) and if you’re a scholarship candidate then you’re going to be an All State Selection this year--right? All Conference Defensive First Team kind of stuff? You know the stuff that gets you noticed and looks good on your resume? AND if you’re gonna get a FULL RIDE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP somewhere—they’re gonna be scouting you right now! They’ll have at least made some kind of contact with your coach and he’ll be sending them your stats and that kind of thing. So, my question is: what schools are scouting you?”
Dumb look, mute kid, surprise!
No schools are even aware this kid exists. Why? ‘Cause he’s just another decent high school football player. They’re not going to be offering him any money because they don’t waste time and energy on someone who—in the long run—is gonna be on the Scout Team and spend his time getting thrashed FOR FREE. Best case scenario? An invite to walk on. He’s an average high school defensive lineman—which means sizewise he’s a small NCAA D1 linebacker. Skillwise? Well…
Even after throwing water on his dream, and trying to explain that his academic record will be VERY important to a school considering courting him, when I left he STILL expects a full ride Division 1 scholarship. But he’s not looking for it with “reason or justification”. He’s just wants it to happen; to make it happen he has a lot of work to do and a lot of luck needs to come into play. I’m not saying he’s not a scholarship kid I’m just saying he’s got to get on the job and start paying the dues. Time to study Shakespeare and do some background dancing.
Here’s our motorcycle tie in: What do you expect from motorcycling? Riding has been a fast growing share of the transportation market. There are more riders every ding dang day. What do they expect?
Good gas mileage—what’s a reasonable expectation there? 100mpg? 50mpg? 40mpg? This is one of those places where we need to temper our expectations. A 1000cc sportbike or a 1800cc cruiser are both gonna be lucky to break 40mpg. Large displacement motorcycles just don’t get monstrously good gas mileage. If you’re riding an 1800cc bike then you have more displacement than a Toyota Yaris—so don’t be surprised if you get equivalent milege (35mpg). Feeding that beast takes gas. Turn that throttle hard and that thing gulps big fuel. If you expect to get great moneysaving mileage then be reasonable and buy something under 600ccs.
Do you expect ease of parking? Well, heck, you’ll get that. There’s loads of trick little places you can squeeze your bike into—just be reasonable and remember: NO REVERSE. You squeeze in and you’ve got to backpaddle out! Another parking drawback? Local laws! You may fit but that doesn’t mean you’re legal. Check for local codes on things like distances from doorways and sidewalk clearances! Personally I’ve never received a ticket for my crazy parking antics but never say never…
Do you expect protection from the elements? Air conditioning in the summer? Rain in your face? Are you figuring on hauling groceries? Or passengers?
What do you expect? What’s justified and reasonable? It’s a fair question and a question you should ask before you begin your riding career--it’s a fair question to ask before you buy a new bike, new gear or even just go for a ride!
Are your expectations reasonable and justified?
What are my motorcycling expectations? I expect to see beautiful scenery. I expect to meet new people and have camaraderie with fellow riders. I expect to worry about fuel on long rides because of limited fuel capacity. I expect to stop and get good grub at small local diners. I expect to be unable to carry anything of consequence (unless I wear my backpack). I expect to be a little hot sometimes, a little cold others and just right the majority of the time. I expect to be dry most of the time and quite possibly wet occasionally. I expect cars won’t always see me and I’ll have to avoid them once in a while. I expect I may fall so I wear a helmet. I expect to save some gas and trade it for some comfort.
What’s my BIGGEST expectation? I expect I’ll have fun riding my motorcycle; and THAT is a justified and reasonable expectation.