Chad Brislawn
Chad Brislawn
A lifelong Muscatine resident, Chad Brislawn has a passion for motorcycles and writing. He writes No Baffles No Brakes, for Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Muscatine Living

“If you’ve never ridden, you’ll never understand.”

You hear a lot of people say that when it comes to bikes. I agree with this statement. I agree with it in the sense that you can never really know how the experience feels to you without actually getting out there and living it. I also agree that everyone’s experience is going to be different. I agree that it is something that is difficult to capture and to put into words, difficult to describe. It got me thinking about what it all means to me, the imagery of how I feel when I ride.

It all starts while I’m still at work. I catch that perfect mixture of warm sun on my face and the smell of summer on the breeze and a voice screams from the back of my mind, “I wanna go for a ride!”

The rest of the day is brutal. I’m ready to go. Now! I hit the clock and make a beeline for my truck. A couple of rolling stops later and I’m home. I bypass the house and head straight for the garage, keys in hand. With one push of the button this explosive rumble cracks through the air, bellowing out an obnoxious roar and it’s on! This excitement builds up from the pit of my stomach. The call of the baffleless pipes has got me.

There’s nothing like the immediate change in attitude. Today’s long hours melt away in heaping wet clumps, hitting the blacktop in plumes of steam. The worst days are stripped away in an instant. Anger, bitterness, resentment, and hate are chemically counteracted by this thing. They can’t coexist here in this place, in this state of mind.

Senses fire on all cylinders. I feel the glow of the sun on my face and the wind blowing through my beard. The rumble of the engine and the sway of the bike as I flow through curves. That sweet incense of hot asphalt mixed with freshly cut grass swirls up under the handlebars and into my nose, forcing its way into my memories. The baseline of passing telephone poles sets the beat as the steady chug of the motor puts me into a deep rhythm set on repeat. I see everything. A heightened perimeter of awareness all zipping by in a warp speed of yellow Morse Code. The decadent flavors of fireflies, June bugs, and butterflies that cling to the grin that grips my face. A sensory overload. A main course of danger and excitement with a side of exhilarating uncertainty. A recipe catered to a palate suited for indulgence.

A unique experience. A custom-tailored road for every rider that mounts up but, somehow, a common ground of the same universal reassurance that what you’re doing is just flat out good for your soul. It’s therapeutic. It’s liberating, empowering, and captivating. I know some people will completely disagree and argue that it’s just a machine and gasoline and wind, but that’s just the way I see it.

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