Originally posted to the Vincent list, about a Vincent Black Shadow, this was too good not to share:
The Concept of Power
by Tony Rose
It became part of you at once. Your power to fly, to glide, to soar, to leave behind the transport of lesser mortals. It took one to far away places, and after hours of riding, getting off was parting with a lover. All the journeys were too short.
It was pointed and where it was pointed . . . it went. To the salt baked beach of Porthcurno in high summer. The twisting Cornish roads, the smell of the sea, the smell of the earth, gliding down to Lamorna .. . the very vivid feeling of awareness. Aware at 130 m.p.h. of the nearness of death. A Vincent H.R.D. away., the Shadow and you, nothing else mattered. The off-beat roar of the Twin, a haze of oil in the air,
the tug on one?s neck muscles as she dived for the far horizon. This was the choice for the post war era. This was the way to live.
At night, the howl of the wind. The freezing hands and pictures going past against the stars. Little houses blur the corner of the eyes. The big clock says 90 m.p.h. The caress of the pounding Twin between the knee; three in the morning, the old A5 very twisty at 100 m.p.h. seven, eight, perhaps nine tenths, a fraction there. Hello death, you didn?t get this rider. The stink of juice and oil and rubber. The strange capsule of loneliness that surrounded Shadow and rider. How hard everything was then, how tough, after the war. No bureaucrats, protecting their unwilling sheep. Life belonged to the rider; his to do what he wanted with it. As far as one wanted, as fast as one wanted, with whom one wanted. Stop, only at the sea, ride all night, sleep all
day on a white, sandy beach. Then to the mountains; the heady hilly airs; freedom. Oh my God! What on earth happened to that? The Shadow personified it, represented everything freedom meant. Getting up in the middle of the night to go to the garage and look at it. A part of one so powerful no body part could take its place. The fantastic love affair one had. Life must go on just like this, never, never change.
Vincent H.R.D., the magic of the name, made for the few, who dared never ignore its many traps, but how gentle, how careful for those that loved her. Never again that
happiness, that ultra supreme happiness. Collecting the new one from the agents. King of the road; of everything. No other desires, Nirvana, pure unadulterated . . .
Nirvana. To this all else was second. 132 m.p.h. yes, this was done many times. Two and a half inches of revolving rubber between you and oblivion. The flesh pressed against ones cheekbones . . . grinning back . .. laughing. The war was tame, the blitz was punk. This was real life, never again to be lived just like this. Savor the memory . . .make each mile, each moment count. Catch the breath, each minute a highlight of life greater than the last. One day this love will end, pigs will come and rule, filthy little tin bikes will be made in thousands and sold to the goons who will clog up the roads of the world. Bureaucrats seeking work will paint funny signs and yellow lines all over the roads, life will exist as we knew it only as a memory. Men will become soft . . and have to be protected. Bomb hats will be worn thirty years after the war; plastic spheres will cover the delicate features of decadent riders who fear the wind may tear out their National Health teeth or glasses. 50 m.p.h. will become a holy cow, and other cows will report to the police state those who go beyond it.
Those who knew the freedom of the Shadow will cry, they will scream for anarchy, will have beautiful dreams of killing all politicians en masse. They will go to the beach and see no sand; only bodies, and tin cans with windows. Plebs will carry little seats, so as not to catch little colds sitting on the warm sand.
In third gear the Shadow sails softly by, dreaming of the past. Little monsters line the beach road sitting in the undergeared, underpowered cars, windows up against the soft summer breeze . . . filling their over fed guts with food they don?t need; softer and softer they get; whiter and whiter. Motor- cycles should be stopped, they howl. In case he gets hurt, protect the motorcycle madman against himself; 50c.c. is enough. For those who have never lived. For those that let it all happen. The Shadow is a monster from the past. The great new advance is the twenty-mile per hour electric car. Safety for all. No more killing on the roads. Don?t open your window at the game park, the monkey may bite you. Don?t protect yourself, let us protect you. Look at them in the bus queue. Have they ever lived at all? Not for the new happy breed, the morning freedom of rolling over the flatlands on the Vincent. Not for them the control of power. Not for them a love that willnot die. A memory as fresh as thirty years ago. Not for these people the breath of spring flowers at 85 m.p.h. Only motorway filth .. . fumes . . . heated air, fifty times old . . . stale .. .protection . . . grinning mindbenders on the box.
Like ghosts from the past some of the Gods survive, the machines survive, the spirit survives. The Club. A toast . . . damn it. A toast to the Club 300 issues of the magazine of the Gods. Earthbound now perhaps, but men like Gods. Above all lesser men acclaim. The Vincent owners and riders. TheSupermen. They who know.