Tonight, I found myself talking to my bike, pretty much a one-sided conversation, I guess. Her name is Nile. My vehicles have names, but I usually don’t refer to them by their name in conversation. For reference, the MX-5 is Isis. Nile is named for her striking blue color – blue Nile. Isis is named for her blue color as well, which is like the deep blue found in Egyptian art. So, on with the story. Using the names will make things so much easier.
I was just finishing up polishing up the wax I had put on Isis (the MX-5) and I looked over at Nile (the Vulcan) sitting at the edge of the driveway. I was overcome with a feeling of guilt. Nile has been an incredible bike. She’s only six years old and I’ve owned her for the last two. She’s never complained, never broken down, always ready to go. Every time I ride, she’s been safe and predictable. And since Isis came along, she’s been a little neglected.
I still shine her up, but not before or after every ride like I used to. She’s been left in the rain, which is something that pains me. I’ve treated her to some nice jewelry – chrome pegs, bars, and grips, but still don’t give her all the attention she could want.
So when I’m washing and waxing Isis for the second time in a week, I see Nile quietly waiting for some attention. The last couple times I went out for a ride I said I’d polish her up when we got back. It never happened. So I decided to try and make up a little bit of that tonight.
I went to the shed and got the quick detailer spray, figuring I could do a quick wipe-down. And that’s how I started, hitting the front fender and the fork. I got up to the mirrors and their posts and found myself mentally talking to Nile saying “that’s better, isn’t it?” All of a sudden, it wasn’t a quick wipe-down anymore. Round and round the bike I went, cleaning more and more detailed areas and the sunlight started fading. As I kept at the cleaning, I kept up the conversation, thanking Nile for the great service she’s always given and apologizing for not keeping up on her cleaning and maintenance. The conversation made me emotionally invested in doing a good job.
I remember a time almost six months ago, I had run into another rider and we were talking about bikes. I was riding Nile nearly every day at that time and I commented to him how strongly you can bond with your bike, like a horse and rider. Ironically, the MX-5/Miata creed is “Jinba-Ittai”, Japanese for “Rider and horse as one”. Indeed, if Nile was a horse, she’s been just as faithful, loyal, and forgiving. And I’ve been a terrible owner.