By David Rupp
(Editor's note: At some point during a recent trip, Dave started calling his new bike "the F16." I suppose this story is what was happening in his head that lead him to rename the bike.)
I stepped out and grabbed my gear. Standard-issue fighter pilot stuff: clear goggles, helmet, gloves, and high-top flight kicks. It wasn't a war that I was entering, but it was battle.
Mostly of emotions. As I geared up on the runway, excitement took over and the thought of quick left and rights, G-ins and G-out's, almost made waiting for my wingman (my older brother) unbearable. Geared up like me, he fisted the grips of his fighter and took the lead.
Close on his wing, we started out slowly, remembering once again of how to make the fighter jets an extension of ourselves. Unlike most jets these have no motors and require no fuel, except what our eager bodies have to give. The initial stretch of our legs slowly started to warm our bodies, and the endorphins reached our heads and stimulate our brains to push forward.
The cockpit put me in a position of perfect balance, in and out of each turn and over every obstacle. The flap-lever-pedals were positioned so that my legs effortlessly rocked the bike side to side and up and down. The handle bar was only noticeable in my peripheral as a stability bar holding flashing brake levers at the perfect distance from my finger where they wrested seamlessly.
Turbulence has been an issue from day one with two-wheeled jets. But with these new models the focus has changed from avoiding all the bumps to using them to find rhythm. Each ledge and drop becomes a symphony of notes extending from flight to flight. The symphony played louder and louder as we roared down the trail. Each berm and drop precariously positioned to feel and touch rhythm that could only be reached by becoming an extension of the mechanism and ultimately the trail beneath, pushing notes into our ears.
In time the rhythm slowed and conscious thought began to creep back. The trail was done. There was only one two-wheeled fighter jet that had the power to make symphony like that. Its nimble reactions and tight fit allowed us to navigate through what some would say impossible terrain, especially at speed, and all while making music.