Life is different as you get older. For one, your perception changes because of the many more experiences we have encountered. Our bodies change and we learn what the effects of gravity are. Our responsibilities and priorities also change. However, one thing that remains constant is the concept of friendship.
I’ve been blessed to have what I know to be several friends. I grew up with two guys that 35 years later, we are still insulting each other, busting each other’s balls, and just enjoy being in the company of one another. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of each other these days.
Eddy moved to Birmingham, Alabama and Pelayo while he only lives about an hour away in Pembroke Pines, Florida, our busy schedule prevents us from just hanging out more often. But, I am guaranteed to get insulted by either of them at least once a week. My two friends are true friends, because we have succeeded in never passing judgment on one another and more importantly, the three of us have been there for each other during difficult times.
When I turned 33 years old, I bought a 25th Year Anniversary Honda Goldwing. It was a life-long dream of mine, dating back to my childhood. It was even my first post. A few years later, I traded her in for my current motorcycle, a Honda VTX. Throughout these last 10 years of riding, a lot has changed in my life.
I had a law practice that went from boom to bust, back to booming. I went from a guy who could barely ride the monstrosity of a Goldwing, to a rider that could impress you on an obstacle course.
I’ve traveled to other parts of the country on two wheels, including a future trip in 6 days that will last for 3 weeks and 7,000 miles. But more importantly than all that combined, I have gained new friends.
Buying a motorcycle also led to my new found passion of giving back to the motorcycle riding community. Hence, the creation of M.S.A.R. (Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Riders). Since creating M.S.A.R., I have met more people than I can begin to imagine, including new friendships.
It wasn’t long before I came to realize that bikers are a different breed. It really doesn’t matter if you are an attorney, doctor, plumber, or even unemployed, it is all about riding and a brotherhood. Why the simplicities of the biker culture has not carried over into every day life, I will never know. But, in my humble opinion, you want a better world- then buy a motorcycle and learn the biker code.
Today marks what would have been the 54th birthday of my biker brother; Peter Jorge. Pete was a great friend to myself and Anny. He passed away last year to Cancer. M.S.A.R. organized two rides for Pete, one was called the Kicking Cancer in the Ass Ride where 100% of the proceeds went to the Cancer Ward at Miami Children’s Hospital. The other ride could only be described as done in “Pete Style” since per his wishes, he wanted a Celebration of Life that had to include taking shots of Jack Daniel.
My friend Pete influenced me in many ways. He had a zest for life and had the ability to handle cancer better than I handle rush hour traffic. When my old man passed away, I immediately got a text from Pete. It was simple: “for your mother, be strong. Head up, chest out.” The irony, when I went to visit him at the hospital, before I walked into his hospital room, I took a deep breath and what else: “head up, chest out.” His laugh was infectious and to say he was charismatic is a huge understatement. I even downloaded Rapper’s Delight from the Sugarhill Gang on to my I-pod since he always grabbed the mic at the clubhouse and rapped to it. Whenever I ride with my I-Pod, I listen to Rapper’s Delight.
I have been riding with a bracelet of Pete’s on my bike since his passing. It was a bracelet he had custom made that were the colors of his club. I know every time I ride, Pete is there with me. I even say at times, “hey Pete, let’s go for a ride.”
We made plans to ride to Sturgis together this year for the motorcycle rally. It’s all we spoke about. On July 17, Anny and I will take off on our 3 week journey. We always spoke about riding Needles Highway at Custer State Park and stopping in the spot where it overlooks Mount Rushmore. When Anny and I arrive there in a few weeks, we will bury his bracelet there so he could forever ride the location he always dreamed of.
The reason I write all this is simple: buying a motorcycle changed my life. It not only gave me an outlet for stress, but it has introduced me to great people resulting in some amazing friendships.
Riding a motorcycle opens more doors to friendship that you can ever imagine. I’ll never forget riding between the row of bikes at the Harley Dealer in Sturgis and a total stranger who stood tall, muscular, and full of tattoos, basically, one bad ass looking dude, as I rode by, tapped me on the shoulder and said: “ride safe brother.” Anyone that rides knows what I am talking about.
Why is it like this within the motorcycle sub-culture, I can only guess. For one, we share a common passion that only we understand and two, our passion can be dangerous. I guess mix the two together, and what we have is an unwritten understanding where we all take care of another.
Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes, life makes no sense. Sometimes, life can just be cruel. But, as long as we have friends, then we have everything.
Unfortunately, that day awaits us all. One day, there will be a rumble at the Pearly Gates, and it will be me, waiting to get in. At the gate, will be my best friend Tom. He will simply say “hey asshole. Your golf game still sucks.”
My old man will be there too. He will just say “hey baby, let’s catch a ball game. The Miami Marlins are on today.” Even my dog, Buddy will be there waiting for me toss him a tennis ball. And Pete will also be there. With his arms out waiting for a hug; “hey counsel. Let’s go for a ride.”
Enjoy your friends. Enjoy your life. Ride as much as you can and if you don’t ride, then do what you love as much as you can.
A law school professor of mine once told me “you will never be on your death bed wishing you spent more time in the office.” Regrets can be many as we get older. But Sinatra said it best: “regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.” Let’s focus more not only what we love, but who we love and whom we love doing it with.
In the end, all we have is our memories and experiences. But, if you lived your life right, then that is more than enough.
Ride safe. And to all the biker brothers and sisters that ride the Heavens, till we meet again…
Tom & I playing a course on our bucket list; TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course located in St. Augustine. The infamous 17th hole! We both hit the green.
I always had to play with Buddy and three tennis balls because he could hold 2 or 3 in his mouth and would never give them back to me.
Me and my Old Man together on a cruise.
Pete being Pete
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