Article By: Xavier Muriel
Originally Published In The January 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Howdy Folks! Well 2019 has come to an end at least for all my rally and event commitments. What a f#@ king year it has been. I’ve had the pleasure and honor of being invited to and attending some of this country’s greatest bike events! That being said, the best part of it all was getting to see and hang with old buddies and the joy of making new ones. This year has proven to not only be a landmark period for growth both professionally and personally. There were so many fantastic experiences that I had with “Grace” and no she’s not my ol’ lady, she’s my bike, In case some of you are new and haven’t been reading my articles it all started with Michael Lichter’s “Passion Built” exhibit back in Sturgis 2018 and ending with the “In Motion” show at the Lone Star Rally in early November 2019. So I’d say a full year of traveling the country and not only showing Grace but having the privilege of riding her alongside some of the best builders in the world that I call friends is the complete and total pay off of the work I put in.
You see, one of the lessons and experiences that I spoke of earlier was what I had lost track of, even if for a very short time, was much needed in order for me to come full circle and remember why I chose to leave that other life and pursue this one. Here it is…ready? It’s the ride! I got so f#@king caught up in all the other bullshit, chasing money, notoriety and anything else that was a quick fix. I’m not so proud that I can’t admit it. Where I’m truly most grateful is that I have a very small core of people in my life that called me on that shit. After being talked off the ledge a few times, a couple bouts of some not so nice exchange of words, I realized they were right. This thing we call a “lifestyle” or “culture” in my opinion was always based on one thing, doing what we love. The simple organic feeling of being in the wind and that feeling of freedom and for some, a sense of power.
I learned through hard knocks that it’s not about the show, the invite, the cash purse or even bragging rights! It’s about the machine, the stages of its creation and ultimately, yep, you guessed it the ride! I’ve played on some of the world’s biggest stages in front of God knows how many people and don’t get me wrong that feeling is incredible, but the difference between that and “The Ride” is it’s only ME on the bike, I’m not sharing that feeling with 28K people or my band members for 1.5 hours, No, this experience is all mine! I’m ever so grateful to have been guided back to the true path of why I love motorcycles in the first place. I hope that you will get a chance to experience that feeling for yourself one day.
This leads me to the end of this rant; I could not have asked for a better ending to the 2019 season than the Lone Star Rally in Galveston in my great state of Texas. It is turning out to be one of the biggest in the country, some 300,000 bikes converge on a small Gulf Coast town and for a weekend to enjoy all of the great things that a world class bike rally has to offer. Home to Cycle Source’s own “In Motion” Show and ride. You read it right, ride. The “In Motion” show is not only an invite only event showcasing some of the best motorbike builders in the business and their machines, but these fu#@kers have to be ridden in an 80-mile shakedown ride! Meaning if you don’t finish the shakedown then you are disqualified from winning the $10K dollar cash purse. The invitees are judge in various categories by peers, members of the trades and industry professionals. Again, the best part of that entire weekend was the shakedown ride I completed with the likes of Bill Dodge, Roadside Marty, Austin Andrella, Majik Mike and Clinton Wallace to name a few.
We rode six wide in cold, windy weather along the Galveston coast line. No amount of money, trophies or accolades can compare to the precise moment of being present for a moment in time that may never happen again. Pulling into a crowded park with those guys on our machines was one of the highest points of my life thus far. Not only did I get to ride with my Brothers and my Sisters, but I got to play some Rock-N-Roll later that weekend with my band the “Black Smoke Sinners” to an impressive crowd. Now, the splendor wasn’t in the number of people that were there (and there were a lot) but it was to see all of my fellow builders and friends down in front banging their heads, taking off their shirts and yes even the mighty Austin Andrella jumping onto the stage and getting crazy was epic. I had the honor of sharing the stage with guys I’ve known along time and Mr. Chris Callen who has been my Brother and Confidant in this motorcycle thing we do but who I now call my bass player as well! It was such an overwhelming joy to not only have shared the bike thing that whole weekend but now I’m on stage with him playing music and having a blast doing it. Again, I’m back to why f#@kin’ do it if I’m not having fun, right?! Well that’s the whole point of this article. Do what you love just because you love it! This whole weekend has brought a new perspective to my life and those I choose to be around.
I can’t say thank you enough to Chris and Heather and all the other builders and friends for showing me what I had forgotten and didn’t even know it…. Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride… Be Kind To One Another God Bless X.