Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure


Motorcycle TourMagazine

About Free Wheelin'

Publisher Rathjen weighs in on different things pertaining to motorcycling. Sometimes a bit hard to the point and slightly abrasive, his Free Wheelin’ column is not afraid to make a stand on issues that he feels are of importance to riders and riding.

Name: Brian Rathjen

Current Rides:

Kawasaki KLR 650, BMW R1200GS

Favorite quote:

If you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right.

- Henry Ford

Until the Time Runs Out

We’d all play till the end of the time… runs out

Until, the time runs out… ~ Robert Lamm


I have a theory about time.

When we were all kids time took – forever.

I remember time, and the years leading up to around age 12, taking so, so long. It seemed to go on forever. It did go on forever – not that I knew that then.

I do now.FW

For most of us things happen around twelve years old and then the clock of our lives began to accelerate. Our teens seem to almost blast by, but nothing compared to how quickly things will get.

Our twenties? Swoosh. Thirties, forties and beyond – faster still. I have a friend who must look at the clock and the calendar pages and simply say “holy shit!”

So, it is not too odd that this last season whisked by in a blink of an eye.

I write this in a well-deserved ‘Indian Summer’ - the day before Halloween and what started off as 30 ended up in the 60s.

I was working in the office as the afternoon crept towards evening as I heard Shira zip off on her bike to grab some pictures in our hometown of Branchville, New Jersey. It seemed the ‘Pumpkin Contest’ they began a few years back exploded with popularity, creativity and tons of artistic talent. We had ridden by the town a few days earlier and saw the nearly 80 displays. Wow.

So Shira felt the need to get out and do a few bike pictures. We were surprised that the Mr. Spock pumpkin had vanished. Obviously beamed up, of course, the logical answer.

As I saw her pull into the drive, I watched the sun as it dropped so far south, barely clinging to the sky. Why is the return of the sun so torturously slow compared to the journey into the longer nights?

I am Kvetching. Uggg.

Why does winter have to mean the end of riding? It’s 2019, we have seriously good heated gear these day. I am warmer on my bike than my bed sometimes.

Coming up from the south back in late October we were surprised that summer ended and winter began in just 12 hours.

Shira turned on her Gerbing’s and I turned on my Venture gear (Bluetooth and easily done). Warmth quickly spreads along my chest, arms, and back. Gloves get warm at the same time. Although there is still a biting chill hitting your face, life is toasty elsewhere.

I have found I can ride a whole day heated this way, only to shiver when I walk into a hotel room or home at the end of the day. Go figure

I had errands to do the other morning, and as I readied to get to them Shira called up from the office.

“You going to take your bike?”

It was a bright and clear day. Brisk might be the word for some – friggn’ cold for others.

The lovely redhead was still in warm PJs, coffee in hand and an annoying cat running around her keyboard. She had not stuck her head outside this day.

I had already been outside (numerous times) and lnew how chilly it was, so the Durango was already started, heated and ready to go.

Take the bike, I thought?

Yup, she was right – take the bike!

Sneakers come off, boots go on – electrics and Aersotich riding suit slide on.

Plug in, fire up - hit the road for an hour of local towny riding.

Lowes… Staples… a quick fuel stop with the questioning glance from our friendly neighborhood fuel jockey - then a ride down to the Post Office.

Post Office folk are like the local barbers. They know all, tell all, and love to chat in between. Comments come easily from these people that make our lives run from day-to-day.

“Seriously, you’re riding today?” asked Walter behind the counter at the Augusta post office.

“Sure… easy, Walt.”

He looked up and said… “It’s snowing.”

This started during my wait on the line.

My neck did that little twist thing my son says I do.

“Indeed it is Walter…indeed it is.”

I like riding in snow – to a point.

So here we are… friggin’ winter. For you folks lucky enough to live in the New Jersey area you have the Grand Polar Bear Tour.

Let’s ride!

The thought here is don’t let the time run out until it does.

When that happens you’ll know.