Sigmund Freud never rode a motorcycle. At least we can assume he didn’t, otherwise he would have thought differently about the struggle between the love and death drives that we are constantly engaged in. Perhaps he would have simply declared the twenty-five or so motorcycle journalists and the BMW Motorrad PR and marketing people here to be crazy. They all got together the night before for a tour through England on various BMW R nineTs and BMW R 18s. The location: the Bike Shed, 384 Old Street, Shoreditch. Besides Ace Cafe, perhaps the number one hotspot for bikers in London. Everyone around me sees motorcycling as a natural form of transport and clocks so many miles a year on their bike that even some sales representatives can’t keep up in their company cars.
I’m sitting at a table with John. John is from England, in his mid-fifties, wearing biker gear that looks retro but that he probably really bought thirty years ago. We talk about the motorcycle lifestyle. I tell him I used to ride a lot, in my early twenties, a 1996 Ducati Monster. “Nice!” John grins. I don’t mention that I got tendinitis in both wrists for several weeks at a time every spring because of the clutch and gas. I don’t necessarily want to draw John’s attention to my weak, pampered body as a first impression. I think he can smell the rat anyway. “No comparison to the new bikes, it was really hard work back then!” he says politely. I just nod.