“It’s Better in the Wind” or why I ride a motorcycle


As mentioned in my last post my travels to Ecuador served to shift my priorities to Susegar, that wonderful state of taking it easy. Of course, it also has meant that I’ve hardly posted here at all.

To my considerable amazement this short fall has generated concern and irritation on the part of some of my readers, and who knew I had any of those at all? But writing is hard work and besides I’ve had more important things to do.  Like riding my motorbike:

Blue & White Triumph Scrambler, just like mine except

mine is more beat up than this nice new one.

Amazingly, we still have some beautiful weather around here, but an increasing chill is in the air.  Winter closes in.  My dog insists on walks and my motorbike insists on rides.  Time is short and cold dark days are coming.  Plenty of time to write blog entries then. If you ride this all likely makes sense to you.  If not, well maybe this will help:

It’s Better in the Wind

Even if you don’t care about motorcycles, it’s 15 and a half minutes well spent for the sound track alone.

(I have it playing as I write)

This short film was created by a young guy named Scott Toepfer and as much as anything I’ve seen it captures the sheer joy of motorbiking.  Doesn’t hurt that a couple of the bikes in it are Triumph Scramblers like mine.  Scott and his pals have good taste.

Here’s a still from his website as further proof of good taste

Watching it I realize that my motorbike is also a time machine.  Every moment on it I am again twenty-something and full of beans.


One more cool short film with a very odd song for the road.   It might grow on you.  It did on me.

  hey little motorcycle girl

Here’s another I just found.  Wicked cool riding on a Scrambler just like mine:

“From Track to Dirt to Date”

Starts slow but worth the short wait.  Check out the dismount about 3/4 of the way in.

And another:


It’s a bit more mellow.

And another not mellow at all:

mind party

Still another, courtesy of Vik in the comments below, on mid-life crisis and dirt riding. Makes me wish I was 50 again! Too funny!:

mid-life crisis philosophy & motorbike riding

Ok, ready?

First, we go to India and build a Royal Enfield:

Then we ride it up into the Himalayas:

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  1. M. Rempen says

    This vid is great – it proves what Coppola was predicting ten years ago, that one day anyone can pick up a camera and make a movie about the things they love. Even if I’m not that into motorcycles, I can appreciate a filmmaker who knows their audience and pulls no punches to please them.

  2. Mr. 1500 says

    Wow, I never would have guess you ride a bike! I love motorcycles too and funny enough, I was talling someone just this week that I want a Triumph. I dig the inline 3s.

    • jlcollinsnh says


      I think I’m a little insulted. 😉

      Been riding Triumph now since 2007. An ’06 Bonnie for about three years and then the ’06 Scramble just because it fits me a bit better. Loved them both.

      Never have owned a triple, but those that do seem to swear by them.

      What do you ride now?

  3. Maverick says

    I’ve started riding in 83 when I bought my first bike…a Honda Nighthawk 650. Been riding ever since for pleasure (only in fair weather, never in rain, cold or to commute to work). Bought my brother’s 83 Sportster (highly modified engine) and then finally bought a 10 Fat Bob. Each one has a unique road feel. I still have all three, but only register the Fat Bob now. I could never sell them. They are like old friends you meet for lunch and get re-acquainted with from time to time. And just like an old friend, you need to be fully engaged in the “conversation” with the machine.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Maverick…

      Many of my riding buddies feel the same way, and their bike collections keep growing.

      I have the opposite issue: I don’t like owning stuff to begin with and owning anything that doesn’t get used eats at me. Not entirely rational, I know. But there it is. 🙂

      I will say that my motorbike is one of the very few *things* I’ve owned that has genuinely brought joy into my life. Every time I ride it, every time I just walk past and look at it…

      • JBC says

        Man, motorcycles are fun – I’m just not willing further to risk paying for another driver’s mistake with my flesh. I stayed upright for 15yrs and then sold off – and have never lusted back. If I do anything on two wheels, it’s MMM style, where I’m the motor.

        Must be I have the go-fast gene – ’cause when it comes to motor driven machines – if I got “it”, I’m gonna use “it”, and use “it” all. I was also big into autoX/time trials/lapping sessions, and the silliness of dropping $$ to go a few tenths of seconds faster.

        So the cure was to quit sports cars altogether, coincidentally the same time as the motorcycle. Must’ve been changing priorities/sensibilities/maturity. Bought a used minivan (no kids, even) to serve as rolling toolbox for my start-up solo painting biz. Cheap to own/operate/insure. Ubiquitous and inconspicuous, the van(s) have proven virtually ticket-proof. Haven’t suffered my annual “armed tax collection” since. And I can still run at 7/10ths – practically racing everyone on the road – and no one even notices.

        As they say: it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. And a helluvalot cheaper.

  4. Vik says

    So glad to see this post. MMM got me really sad with his anti-motorcycle financial advice. 😉

    I’m happy to find some pro-moto financial blogging.

    safe riding,


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Vik…

      Glad you liked it. I love my motorbike! Makes me feel 20 again. 😉

      I know Mr. MM used to own a motorbike and sold it, but I don’t recall his “anti-motorcycle financial advice.” Can you link to that? I’d be curious to read it.

      What do you ride?

      • Vik says

        I’m poking a bit of fun at MMM regarding the anti-moto stuff, but he and his CDN guest poster have both proclaimed the joy of selling their motorcycles and then gone on to crunch the numbers to show why that was Pers Fin Ninja move.



        I’ve got a KLR650 because I live on an island with thousands of KMs of logging roads.

        I’ve been tempted by a Triumph Scrambler and the new Ducati Scrambler. I’d like a more street oriented moto.

        Personally I’m working hard saving and investing just so I can ride my motorcycle more – especially longer trips like the Great Divide from Banff AB down to the Mexican border mostly on dirt roads.

        I also ride bicycles a lot and walk when I can. So I’m not strictly a fossil fool, but I have been riding motos since I was 17 and years before I got a car driver’s license. I can’t really imagine giving them up until I can no longer safely ride.

        Any ways great blog. I’m still mining away at it.

        My investments are at ~7.5% WR vs. my cost of living so I’ll keep trucking until I get down to 4% WR and then switch modes to a work-lite lifestyle.

        I appreciate all the free advice folks like you, MMM & ERE provide. It’s powerful life changing stuff.

        — Vik

        • jlcollinsnh says

          Ah yeah…

          I remember that Craig’s List one now. I kinda liked his concept of “storing” his bike on CR. But good used Triumph Scramblers are too hard to come by for that. 🙂

          I’ve never ridden a KLR650 but have heard nothing but good things about them. Certainly more dirt capable than a Triumph Scrambler or, I’d guess, the new Ducati Scrambler.

          Here’s an interesting thread on off-roading a Scram: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141616

          Safe journeys!

  5. Insourcelife says

    I agree with Vik here that it’s unfortunate that prominent FI bloggers always seem to imply that motorcycles and frugal living and/or FI are mutually exclusive. I felt compelled to write a post about this very subject recently: http://insourcelife.com/motorcycling-doesnt-have-to-be-expensive. James, I hope you don’t mind me quoting you and linking to your blog from that article. If anything – you’re the living proof that you can do very well financially and still enjoy a hobby you love.

    • Vik says

      I read your post. The part that resonated for me is getting the folks who gave up their motos in a garage and speculating they’d miss their bikes.

      Thing is at least one of those guys is a multi-millionaire.

      I fully understand making sure your living costs align with your financial goals. If you need to take out a $30K loan at 8% to buy a new HD and you’ve got $10K credit card debt at 19% than I’d be telling you to forget about that bike. You’ve got other fish to fry.

      OTOH at some point in the FI journey when you are well on the way to FI isn’t it time to spend some of your vast resources on stuff you love?

      What may rationalize all this is that not everyone who has owned a motorcycle actually loved riding it. People get motorcycles for all the non-driving reasons people get status cars. It’s probably even more the case in the motorcycle world. Assuming for a second the bloggers you note fall into the category of folks who enjoyed their bikes, but didn’t love them or riding it frames the sacrifice vs. savings quite differently.

      I had a fancy DJ setup at home at one point. I liked fooling around with it, but eventually I realized I wasn’t going to be rocking nightclubs around the world with my beats. I sold the gear. Saved a bunch of money I would have spent pursuing that hobby and if I had a FI blog at the time I would have posted about it. Since it would be a good example of how to re-purpose several thousand dollars of my hard earned cash and stop the ongoing cash flow hit of buying new records/upgrading equipment. All replaced by a free Soundcloud account where I can listen to other DJs who are actually talented share their music with me anywhere I have wifi.

      If you were a passionate DJ reading that post you’d recoil in horror at the sacrifice. Even more so if you knew I had more than 1 million in investments and growing daily.

      The difference of course being that I had neither the raw talent nor the deep passionate for the activity I was involved in which made giving it up easy.

      — Vik

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi IL…

      Don’t mind at all. It is always nice to get a link! Like Vik, I enjoyed your post.

      For me, the point of being frugal in most areas of my life is to free up the capital to spend on the important ones: Investments, travel and – ta-da! – motorbikes. 😉

      I think that’s true of most frugal-type bloggers, but they just have other priorities. I think Vik puts his finger on it: “…not everyone who has owned a motorcycle actually loved riding it.”

      Motorcycles are one of those things that have a very high “cool” factor that draws many in. But then reality hits:

      –It takes effort to develop the skills to do this safely.
      –Maybe they scare themselves early on and get gun-shy.
      –Too often they go out and buy an 800 lbs HD or a 200 hp sport bike because that’s what their buddies ride and find, surprise, it is harder to handle than they bargained for.

      The good news is that creates a steady flow of very lightly used bikes on the second-hand market.

      My first Bonneville, the bike I owned before this one, I bought a year old with 238 miles on it. The guy who sold it to me had bought it for his wife. At a stop it proved too heavy for her and slowly tipped over on her. And that, as they say, was that. 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says


      That’s great! Makes me wish I was 50 again!

      I’ll put it up in the post and I just emailed it to my riding pals.


  6. Vik says

    I think we need an annual Money Matters Motorcycle Meetup in Moab Maybe?

    Good excuse for a road trip, lots of great street and dirt riding around Moab with reasonable camping/hotel accommodations in a fairly central location.

    Just say’n… 😉

    — Vik

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I was out in Moab many, many years ago, but not on a bike. Gorgeous country. A bit over run now though, from what I hear. When we were there and visiting Arches, we were the only ones in the park.

      You volunteering to organize MMMMinMM?

  7. Dave Mackie says

    Melissa Holbrook-Pierson wrote a wonderful book:
    The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

    Like the video from Australia, it reminds us of why we ride

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