I arrived home from the local constabulary last Saturday morning in a decidedly unjolly mood. The reason for my temperament was this: I had just filed a stolen vehicle report for my beloved 1984 Yamaha XJ750RL, which had gone missing somewhere in the wee hours of the previous night. And, when I asked the nice officer what the likelihood was of seeing my bike again, he casually remarked "that it was likely already on a truck headed for Southeast Asia". Sigh. To make a sad situation worse, I did not have theft insurance on the bike. The logic for this (or lack thereof) was that I figured that no one was going to risk incarceration for stealing a 30+ year old UJM in only fair condition. Plus, I'd save a few bucks on my insurance policy. Well, I was right about the last part, anyway. As I hung my coat in the closet I could't help but notice my lovely, red Shoei helmet, slightly gaudy Joe Rocket jacket, well-worn boots and almost new riding gloves also residing in the closet. I've got the gear, I thought, but no longer have the reason for them. I went to the kitchen, made myself a mug of coffee and sat down to ponder my situation; some low-life, meth head scum (just assuming here) had left me in the appalling position of NOT HAVING A MOTORCYCLE. And, with debt aplenty, a bank account that regularly dives into the red and a credit rating that would make a loans manager blanche, my bikelessness was not likely to change anytime soon. It was at this moment that THE QUESTION hit me like a right jab to my mid-section and sent a mouthful of Maxwell House splattering across the kitchen table; am I still a motorcyclist? And, being somewhat philisophical by nature, this question invariably led to the next question: What is it to be a motorcyclist? I've been a motorcycle enthusiast since around the age of 14, when I happily memorized motorcycle magazines from cover to cover, the pictures and specs of some of those 70's bikes still etched in my mind. However, it wasn't until I was 17 that I sort of graduated to the rank of motorcyclist after my questionable purchase of an abused '72 125cc Hodaka Wombat. But, even then, I wasn't really a full-fledged motorcyclist, as my Wombat, which was a dirt-only bike, saw very little use and spent 99.999% of its time with me in my Dad's garage in various states of disrepair. Fast forward about 25 years, and I finally got my M license through my local college's excellent riding program. Another purchase of a well-used motorcycle, this time an '85 Honda V45 Magna. While the V45, being a little ponderous and surprising powerful, was not an ideal first real motorcycle, I was, however, now a bona-fide motorcyclist. Wahoo! After the Magna came a string of other motorcycles of various displacements, type and manufacture, all purchased 'previously loved' except for an '82 Kawasaki 550 Zephyr from Inglis Cycle in 1984 (new old stock). Now, every motorcyclist has at least one motorcycle that he or she wishes they'd never sold, and selling that little sapphire blue Zephyr was certainly one for my lengthy regrets list. Anyway, back to the previously asked questions. What does one think of when you think of the term motorcyclist? Names like Willie Davidson, Robert Pirsig, Evel Knievel, Ewan McGregor, Erik Buell, Steve McQueen and Billy Standley certainly come to mind when you think of motorcyclists. Billy Standley? He was the Ohio man who made the news some years back when he was buried on his '67 Harley. If he was a good man, Mr. Standley will now be riding a Harley in the hereafter (he may riding a clapped-out Hodaka if he wasn't so good). But, what about the the guy with the shiny Electra Glide that he rides a few times a year on sunny Sundays? Is he a motorcyclist? And how about the guy in Southeast Asia who'll soon be riding my old Yamaha with his family and two goats aboard because he can't afford a car. Is he a motorcyclist? I say 'no' because I think to be a true motorcyclist motorcycles have to play an important role in your life and in your way of thinking, and cannot be thought of as mere transportation devices or toys. A motorcyclist is very much passionate about motorcycling, and all things motorcycle. So, am I still a motorcyclist? Yes, I have to be, because the alternative is just too painful to bear thinking about.