Any truly dedicated motorcycle rider will tell you that there is music in the sound of their motorcycle. Whether it’s the ‘potato, potato, potato’ sound that Harley Davidson tried to trademark,(or patent, I can’t remember which), the scream of a high revving inline four from Japan, the distinct cadence of an Italian V-Twin or the growl of a British triple. It doesn’t matter, our motorcycles make music to our ears. Wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth be damned..it’s the sound, the feel of your motorcycle that stirs your soul.
Music stirs our souls as well. I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing that there are a lot of you that have done this…made a tape (if you’re old!?) or a CD of your favorite traveling music. Some of you have motorcycles that have CD players, speakers in the fairing (hell, now speakers are put into the arm rests for the passenger??) and/or headsets in your helmet and you travel with your music. I have a very funny story about a trip to Laguna Seca with a group of friends and one of them that likes his music loud, but I’ll save it for another time. The rest of us however, love the sound of our motorcycle.
I’m not a musician, the only thing I can play is the radio, but I do have some riding and racing friends that are great musicians and one of them is Bernie Ayling. Bernie is not only a great guitar player, he has an incredible guitar collection. National Steel’s from the Thirties, original Fender Stratocasters and some of the most beautiful and beautiful sounding acoustics you’ll ever hear. Bernie plays some very serious blues in a band named ‘Turn Nine’. Where did the name ‘Turn Nine’ come from?, Bernie is also a motorcycle roadracer and turn nine is his favorite turn at his home track, Willow Springs out in the California desert.
Bernie spent years racing a 500CC single at “The Fastest Road in the West”. Recently, Bernie along with racing partner Jay Niederst, built his newest and very trick race bike, The AsHawk. What’s an AsHawk? A built to the hilt 591 CC Honda single from an Ascot neatly tucked into a Honda Hawk GT chassis. Upgrade the suspension, adapt some slick race bodywork, have Jay do a stunning paint job, spoon on some Dunlop slicks and watch out Formula Singles…the Bern Man is back.
So, here is one lucky guy, making music during the day on his motorcycle and at night on a classic Les Paul. If you find yourself in Southern California sometime, look up ‘Turn Nine’ and spend your evening listening to some great blues. I’ll see you there.