Excelsior, 1920, oil on canvas, 24×36, one of a number of vintage bikes I painted a couple of years ago.
I have a thing for motorcycles. Ask my wife. I can hardly go by one that’s parked without going over to it and pointing out something I know about that particular make, model, or era. To her they’re rather all the same, or so they would be without my continually sensitizing her to the nuances.
I first learned to ride when I was 14. It was at a family reunion for the Moore clan out in Rawlins, Wyoming. All Dad’s brothers and sisters were there: Comer, Sterling, Muriel, Burwin, Melva and Orelle, all great names. Then, of course, there was Dad, Hyatt junior.
Sterling had a motorcycle, a German made Zundap, and Dad taught me to ride it. There was little risk there, out in the wilds of sage brush and jack rabbits and maybe a dirt path. Maybe! But I got bit by the thrill and after that did nothing but pine for a driver’s license and with that, a motorcycle.
Actually, I didn’t wait and got my first traffic ticket speeding down Pacific Coast Highway on a motor scooter. Happily that one never showed on my record. The reason: there was no record to put it on . . . I was only 15 and still didn’t have a driver’s license. But that’s another story.
In high school I drew Triumphs on my notebooks. When I didn’t own a bike, I borrowed one, and over the years got familiar with all kinds.
There was I time I loved dirt riding more than road crusing . . . the risks, the jumps, the speed . . . sometimes the camaraderie of doing it with others . . . or just the joy of being out in the wind and the roar, the surge of power, the freedom. And fun!
These days I can still get tempted to own one again. They can be very beautifully designed; maybe I’d buy one just to look at. And why not? It’s what we do with paintings!
But I know I’d ride. And I’d ride too fast.
Life’s horizon is approaching fast enough. Why rush it?
PS Speaking of paintings, I’ve been posting some pretty interesting new works on Facebook of late. Check them out here.