When I was little, I'd sneak into my older brother's room when he wasn't there. I was still in single digits, he was a teenager. There were magical things in his room like pocket knives and a hairy coconut dressed to look like a pirate's head, complete with a patch over one eye and a bowie knife clenched in its mouth. I had Winnie The Pooh records that played on a plastic record player with a built-in speaker, but he had albums and 8 track tapes of Foghat, Kiss, and Wild Cherry that blasted through speakers that seemed as tall as I was back then! Mixed in with these treasures were the only two kinds of motorcycle related print media I knew to exist at that time. Either hard core biker or motocross magazines. Pretty self explanatory on both fronts. One was filled with burly, tattooed, bearded guys and tank-topped women on all sorts of customized bikes and choppers. The other was full of action shots of pro dirt bike racers, soaring over jumps or in some hair pin turn with the back tire sliding out behind them, tossing a curtain of dirt in the air. Both magazines were equally alluring for different reasons to a young, slightly prepubescent boy! They were all "bikers" of course, but to me, these were the only two types of people who rode motorcycles-the motocross guys and the guys you'd not want to run into...anywhere. I was pretty good at judging people from an early age!
As an adult, I've realized there are many kinds of people who ride just as many kinds of motorcycles and most do not fit the stereotypical image that most people think of when the term "biker" is used...even when they do look the part! After all, as my brothers and I grew up, we graduated from dirt bikes to everything from classic Honda CB models to Kawasaki Ninjas and American, British and Japanese cruiser-type motorcycles. With all those different machines, the stereotypes of who a "biker" is slowly faded. On Authentic America, one aspect of our mission is to dispel some of those myths, that these days, only those unfamiliar with the steel horse still hang on to. Louise Lewis wanted to do the same thing with her book, The Meaning Of Life According To Bikers - The Biker Book For Charity.
I recently purchased Louise's book solely on the title. I was intrigued to know what the meaning of life might be for other riders. Maybe too, because I'm trying to find a little meaning myself these days. Once you've got a few years under your belt and you've experienced life's twists and turns, ups and downs at full throttle, it can sometimes be a little difficult to make sense of life with questions like "what is the point of it all?" and "why am I even here?" doing their own little motocross circuit through your mind at midnight!
The Meaning of Life According to Bikers is filled with wisdom from bikers of all walks of life- from truck drivers, lawyers and mechanics, to celebrities of music, film, and television. That's what makes this book so unique. Many books of this nature are only from the viewpoint of famous or infamous people, whether they are culturally or historically significant...or not. But Louise has blended the thoughts of everyday women and men with those of celebrities, all connected by the common thread of the love for motorcycling and it works! And the photographs are down right fantastic. Since Nan and I have both been through cancer, this picture and quote below from Rhonda K. Childs was especially appealing to me.
And this page with a picture and quote from Artie Muller of Rolling Thunder Inc. really says what I've found to be true of most bikers-they are some of the kindest, bighearted, giving people you'll ever meet. And if his bike is not about the most authentically American motorcycle you've ever seen, send me a picture of one that is!
I promised Louise I wouldn't give away too much of the book, but just to prove that the biker stereotype can be disproved, how about this from Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana!
Mr. Daniels is certainly not the kind of guy most people would think of sitting on a ride like this one. But he's dead on-there really are few pursuits that bring people from all walks of life together like motorcycles do.
But there's more! A whole lot more. 175 pages worth of quotes and photographs from riders about life and motorcycles and some that have nothing to do with their motorcycling passion per se, but certainly must be influenced by the joy, camaraderie, and "family" they've found through motorcycles being such big parts of their lives. This book is one of those that you can pick up and open to any random page and more than likely find some nugget of wisdom or truth that will put more purpose in your day and make your life more meaningful.
Lastly (here's the real clincher), if I haven't yet convinced you to pick up your own copy, Louise is donating a large portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book to children's hospitals. For more on that, you can go to https://thebikerbookforcharity.com/media/ to read Louise's introduction from the book (have some tissue handy-trust me) and if that doesn't convince you, well, you must not be a biker. But if you get the book, you just might become one, even if only in spirit! You can get the book from Amazon here https://www.amazon.com/Meaning-Life-According-Bikers-Charity/dp/0764355961/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537752873&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Meaning+of+Life+According+to+Bikers
It would make a great, inspirational addition to your own library and if you have a friend who rides, it would be a special and unique gift for him or her. Thanks for reading this and thank you Louise for writing the book and letting me write about the book. Til next time, as they say, "keep the rubber side down".