Yesterday as I filled out the forms at my new Denver dentist's office, the receptionist told me that my dentist is a motorcyclist. Rides to work, she said.
When I met him, I learned that he's a veteran mountain biker, a racer no less. And that he's had his first motorized bike, an F650 BMW, for about a year.
He's 35, I'd say, a fit-looking dude who could, I suppose, afford to drive his car back and forth. He may have been a bicycle commuter until recently; his high-end mountain bike had been stolen from his garage just a week before we met.
The thief broke a window to get into the garage and left a cheap bike in the alley when he rode the doc's bike away.
This morning, Tamar and I were sitting at an outside table at Pablo's having coffee. A young guy rode up, parked his Ducati Monster and nodded at us as he went in to buy his coffee. When he came out, he sat at the next table and introduced himself as our neighbor, living down the hall from us in our building.
A student at CU Boulder, 23 years old, he too mentioned mountain biking. He told us he's been riding the Ducati, his first bike, for about a year. He loves it, he says, and is thinking about getting further from home than he has in that year. Maybe much further.
Many of us who care about motorcycling are afraid that it will wane in this country with the graying of the generation born after WWII.
These encounters on successive mornings cheered me.
Motorcycling needs guys like my dentist and my neighbor. Both think about motorcycle safety. Neither has a "loud pipes save lives" attitude. Neither resists wearing a helmet. Neither does block-long wheelies in city traffic for a year, then sells his motorcycle and buys a turbocharged import car even louder than his bike was.
Both could afford to drive. Both have found their way to motorcycling, I'm delighted to say.
It's as if I've seen a ray of brilliant Colorado sunlight piercing the gathering clouds. I might, had I taken enough time, have found an even more flowery way to say that. Maybe not though...