Suspension Settings and “The Flow”

My love of motorcycles started many years ago. During my 2 year’s national service, I decided to learn to ride a motorcycle and get my license.

It start as purely a practical choice because riding a motorcycle was the only affordable means of private transportation. However due to an a mistake by my well meaning dad (on purpose maybe?), this practical means of transportation turned into a love affair.

The Flow

After graduating from university, I realised that due to Sabbath keeping, I faced difficulty in working in video / TV production industry (obviously I did not ponder my path as advised by the wise man). Then one day, I saw an ad by Honda R&D and I sent in my resume. Not long after, I started working there.

We were in charged of the S.E.Asia region, so were involved with small capacity motorcycles. However, once in a while we received reports from other regions’ offices. One day a summary report came across my desk and something caught my eye. It had a short section about the European motorcycle market. The report summarized it as “The Flow”.

Motorcyclists there, it reported, were not all sportsbike fans but were more partial to practical street biased bikes with more upright riding positions. A subset of this group were rather big on long distance motorcycles, what we now call “adventure bikes”.

The report continued that riders in Europe especially like twisty roads and the feeling of leaning the machine from side to side and riding it through the turns. And…not necessarily at high speeds (USA riders, in contrast, tend to place a lot of emphasis on quarter mile performance and big horsepower).

At that time, I was too inexperienced to appreciate what the Europeans talking about. Now I think that I am starting to.

Goldilocks Moment

Now after some years of riding under my belt, I realise that it is not massive power, pee in the pants acceleration or big wheelies that I crave. Instead, it is the rhythm of cornering, the banking motion and the moving from side to side that I like. I realise that it is “this flow” that I enjoy.

This is probably why I don’t really speed (relatively speaking) on highways or straights, but almost always accelerate towards upcoming corners so that I can set us up for nice turns.

Bikes are seldom a purely cold logical purchase. A colleague once remarked that I am practical when it comes to most things but lose it when it comes to motorcycles.

All my fretting over the suspension settings of the Diva is to find what Goldilocks knew intuitively – balance.

The Diva is not the fastest, bleeding edge bike out there but so far she is the one that brings me closest to this feeling. I’m not particularly good with words but surely some of you understand? It is not the power, sharp handling or blinding brakes. It is this sense of balance, well being and the oneness with your motorcycle.

あんなふうに愛したい、愛されたい

I recently watched a Japanese movie on my flight back from Tokyo.

It is titled 「陽だまりの彼女」 (Hidamari no Kanojo). The English title is “Girl in the Sunny Place”.Hidamari no Kanojo

The girl is Watarai Mao played by Ueno Juri, one of my favourite actresses.

Mao chan as an adult, played by Ueno Juri.
Mao chan as an adult, played by Ueno Juri.

The middle school Mao is acted by Aoi Wakana and she is adorable. Not everyone can pull off the messy hair look this well.

Watarai Mao - Aoi Wakana

Young Mao chan played by Aoi Wakana

とても綺麗な映画です。見れば見るほど二人を応援したくて、二人は幸せになってほしかった。

She searched for him for 10 years and finally found him. 「偶然なんてじゃないよ」。でも、短い時間しかなった。切ないよ。

二人の話、行動を見て、私はあんなふうに愛したい、愛されたい。