This I Believe

Gregory - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, sports
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Two-Wheeled Desert

Most people spend too much time avoiding the “extremes” in life, saying they are too dangerous. Yet I feel that without embracing these extremes, albeit catiously, you aren’t really living. For me that’s where dirtbikes (offroad motorcycles) come in. I believe that dirtbikes have the ability to bring anyone great happiness and adventure.

The story really begins with my Dad, who was a part of the first generation of dirtbike riders. They were the first to modify street motorcycles to work in the rough terrain of the desert. He’s spent the majority of his life surrounded by entrepreneurs of the sport, with such legends as Malcolm Smith.

On my fifth birthday, he brought home with him every little boy’s dream: my very own Yamaha 80cc, two-stroke, automatic transmission motorcycle. Although it would barely reach my knee height these days, it was a bike I can still remember vividly, as well as all the emotions that came with it. This first bike brought me unlimited joy, sheer terror, and a sense of adventure—able to explore the world with my own set of wheels, independent of everyone else.

Now, as soon as most people think of dirtbikes, the think of the X-Games. They think of the people doing backflips and superman’s across a ninety-foot-gap and say, “Man you’re crazy!”. Yet this is not the real world of dirtbikes. The real world is filled with a kind, out-going, but tattoo-free crowd that are always willing to give you a hand. In fact, we aren’t much different than your typical passer-by on the street. We all have normal jobs, families, and that stupid gutter that keeps falling off the house that our Mom’s keep nagging us to fix. The only difference is that we spend our Friday afternoons preparing our motorcycles so that we can leave at the break of dawn. We are people who enjoy exploring the world and overcoming it’s obstacles, not going on a drug and adrenaline crazed death wish like the X-Games.

With each upgrade of my dirtbike to one with a clutch, a more powerful engine, or plusher shocks, my ideal motorcycle has changed. Yet one thing hasn’t changed in these past twelve years. My motorcycles, no matter what color, brand, or make, still embody that initial curiosity of the world and my urge to go and explore it. My motorcycles bring me happiness, something that was started when I was just a toddler but I know will last well into my old age. This gift is something I will pass on to my friends and family, just like my Dad before me.

And this, I believe.