A Rider's Journal
photo of SSS and his motorcycles
The three of us.

My name is Sven and I am a polycyclist.

Some people claim it's unnatural for a man to want two motorcycles at the same time. They label it a mental illness, "multiple bike disorder".

Some people believe it's immoral for a man to desire owning two motorcycles at once. A man can only ride one motorcycle at a time, they say, and it's not right to leave the other motorcycle sitting unridden while its battery slowly discharges.

I have to admit that I used to wonder why anyone would want more than one motorcycle at a time. Maintaining one bike is a chore, and buying accessories can get expensive. Trying to ensure two (or even three!) bikes receive proper attention just sounded like more work than it would be worth, even if one could afford the cost.

So I never thought of myself as someone who would become a polycyclist. And yet, here I am.

I still love my first bike, el Bandido. After over 61,000 miles together, we are still very compatible. We still commute together almost every day of the riding season. We run errands together, we go to concerts and hockey games together, and we have travelled all over the southeast together.

I can't imagine any other motorcycle being such an all-around perfect fit for me. El Bandido will continue to be a big part of my life, and the garage would seem a cold and lifeless place without it.

So you are probably wondering why I feel the need for a second bike.

It all started a few years ago on a business trip to Denver. After my business was completed, I wanted to see the sights. I ended up picking up a burgundy Yamaha FJR at a warehouse and we toured the Colorado Rockies together.

What can I say? I like Japanese models.

We had a great time together. I found the FJR had the same qualities that I loved in my Bandit, but offered more protection from the wind and cold, and had more capacity to hold all my gear while spending several days on the road.

When I returned from my trip, I quickly got a ride on el Bandido, and realized that I still loved it as much as I always did. The FJR had nice qualities, but I was still a one-bike man.

And then last year, on a business trip to Seattle, I picked up another FJR. And this time, I planned it advance, and I knew exactly what I was getting into.

The blue FJR and I crossed the border into Canada and spent several days living on the road in a land where the speed limits were posted in kilometers. Far too soon, our time together came to an end.

When I came home, it was the same as it had been before. I threw a leg over el Bandido and told myself it really filled all my needs. I didn't really want an FJR.

Still, I haunted the dealerships and bike shows looking for one at a good price.

One thing that held me back was all the FJRs I saw were black. I had gone with black before, and it was a bad experience. I had a black car for a few years, and I always felt it was a little dirty. I just can't imagine going back to black.

So I let a few guys know I was considering taking a second bike, and asked that they let me know if they saw what I was looking for.

The way it happened was kismet.

On the eve of a weekend trip to Arkansas, my buddy Terry S. had a flat rear tire. Our trip was in jeopardy unless he could get the tire repaired or replaced the next day. The next morning, he was over in an industrial area looking for a fix, and saw a silver FJR.

He sent me a text message and urged me to come pick it up before someone else did.

I spent the day musing over my decision. Did I really want to become a polycyclist? What would my coworkers say? What would my parents say?

I let the business day drift by, but at the end of the day, I steered north to the little side street where Terry had seen the FJR, and it was still there.

And so I made it my own.

I arranged with the dealership for my new FJR to stay for the weekend while el Bandido and I and Terry and his Z-Rex took our trip to Hot Springs.

Over the weekend, I didn't say anything about the FJR in front of el Bandido. I wanted to just bring the FJR home and park them together in the garage and act like it was natural.

But Terry said something in front of the Bandit while we were on the trip and el Bandido didn't blow a gasket or spring a leak, so I think we're all going be OK together.

It will take a little time to figure out which bike will take on which duties. I think el Bandido and I will continue to commute together, but when in colder weather, the old bike can stay home and the FJR and I will make the trip. El Bandido will still make the day trips, but the FJR will be a more likely choice for longer trips and will be a logical choice for making runs to the grocery store.

It will be good. We'll work it out over time, the way all polycyclists do, one ride at a time.