Riding across this great country of ours this past summer on the Mother Road 2011 Fund Raiser gave me plenty of time to think. No CD's, no satellite radio, no iPod, no GPS...just the open road. Passing another biker along the open road produced the - American Biker Salute: left hand off the grip, make a fist, hit your sternum with the thumb side, straighten the arm, extend your first two fingers, point to the asphalt. The message is sincere: "From my heart to yours, you and I are brothers of the open road".
There are six million of us in the US. We ride our bikes with pride. All of us face the same wind and weather. We all share the same risks and rewards.
The biker is a dimly understood icon of American culture. Independent, free thinking, joined together by a common bond.
Like anything else, there's always a marginal element that makes the rest of us look bad. By and large the riding community stands for freedom, honor, and above all - respect. As I rode the open road over and over again this was the message I received from my brother bikers.
The term "ride safe" reflects a sincere wish from one biker to another for safe travel to his final destination. "Ride Safe" means more than just watching out for "cagers" (car drivers). It is a sincere parting and goodbye - as in vaya con Dios.
I will be riding again in 2012 on a Fund Raiser for Question of Power. "Ride in Beauty" will be journey through the Four Corners and Southwest of our incredible country. I am looking forward to meeting more of my brothers on the open road.
Ride safe, Carlan