The Pack Bug

Sound RIDER! logo


Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - EPS


The Pack Bug, Will You Get Bit?

Beyond The Zengasm

By Sharon Knight

My first introduction to 'motorcycle Zen' happened at the age of 9. One of my brother's friends, Jimmy, often rolled by my parent's home to give me a ride on his motorcycle. I was fascinated with motorcycling. Every time a motorcycle came within my line of vision, my eyes would follow that motorcycle to the point of nearly breaking my neck. To date, I still go into break neck mode, especially at the sight of a crotch rocket/Sportbike. There was no doubt that I was what many would call a motorcycle fanatic. Now as a 42-year-old woman, the Zen-like passion has not faded.

I continued to take the rear seat of a cycle until 1987. The guys call this "Riding Bitch." After riding "Bitch" for so long, I decided it was time to step up to the plate and see what it was really like to operate one of those two-wheeled machines. Since nobody was available to teach me and I knew absolutely nothing about the motorcycle safety courses, I decided to participate in an 'I'm going to teach myself' course. I kidnapped my first victim, a Honda Rebel belonging to my roommate. My ammunition, a whopping 250cc's of sweet vibration. You have to understand; for someone who has never operated her own motorcycle, this was a hell of a lot of force! My current gadget is a Yamaha R-1. So, now I know what it really feels like to have a load of power between one's legs!

My first astonishing experience riding a motorcycle came in 1987, in the desert of Twenty Nine Palms, California. Aboard that 250 Rebel, I did not realize how much I absorbed as a passenger. I started that engine right up, flipped that the bike into gear and headed out for my target, Sun Valley road. As many times as that 250 Rebel would fire, I would roll down Sun Valley road, grinning from ear to ear. I know the neighbors must have thought I was some psycho rider, but I did not care. I was too busy riding and I was having a hell of a good time beating that bike to death. In the desert of Twenty Nine Palms, someone's Honda Rebel was getting a good whooping. You can hear the pain echoing through the roars of the engine each time I rammed or stalled the poor thing. I had no idea what I was doing, never rode a motorcycle before, had no endorsement, no safety class, and never even read a motorcycle book. Nevertheless, I figured I must have been doing something right because the bike was moving and at 45-55 mph. At the time, I felt like I was moving fast and I was having a hell of a good time doing it. Nothing else mattered.

After detecting that the bike was in heat, my roommate put two and two together and banned me, not only from operating the Rebel, but from even thinking about saddling the bike as a passenger. It would be five long torturous years before I would straddle another motorcycle.

Five years after my first encounter with the most powerful vibrator in the world (at least I thought so) I began to crave motorcycles even more. This time, after riding the tank, I could no longer be a passenger. My "riding bitch" days were finished. My new victim--a Kawasaki EX-500. Now remember, I was riding a standard Honda Rebel with 250ccs. Therefore, jumping on the EX-500 was like going from a Pinto to a Lamborghini. Okay, so I am exaggerating a little. Before boarding my Lamborghini, I took the MSF course in 1993 and purchased my bike in May, started a motorcycle Sportbike club in August, and before I knew it, I was doing 115-130 mph-in suggested 45-mph corners. The "Pack Bug" had bit me hard. I didn't realize the bug was there or, I would have smashed him without delay!

Four, ten, twenty, and sometimes thirty bikes deep, the pack would twist and shout through the back roads of Canada, California, Oregon, and Washington. The sweet sounds of full throttled Sportbike pipes, the sight of rising front wheels, the uniformity of bikes maneuvering through tight corners, and the sensation of 150 horse power vibrating between my legs, brought a feeling of euphoria that I will term the Zengasm.

I was so caught up in the ambience of the foreplay I had no idea that the bug was nibbling at me. While riding with the pack, I rarely had to think about what I was capable of doing, I just did it. (After all, I taught myself to ride. Therefore, I was capable of anything). Taking corners at 100 miles per hour meant nothing to me. It was like having multiple orgasms, a thrill that brought a never-ending palpation of excitement. Keeping up with track racers, being able to outride a well-known rider, brought about a charge that Sportbike riders understand all too well, especially women riders who outride the men! It was all about fun and the rolls of Dunlop gummy bears that spewed out to the men and women who dared to follow.

This Zengasm was gratifying until the effects of the pack bug began to show its ugly head. Every time we ventured out on a ride, someone, or several people were bit and unable to sustain long enough to share their ultimate experiences. One by one, they continued to drop like flies. After a while, this sight brought about a feeling similar to premature ejaculation. Simply put, "damn, you just couldn't keep it up could you?"

For eight years I owned and managed Knight Riders, a coed Sportbike club. In the first three years of our rides, we engaged in numerous Zen-orgies. Literally riders were sweating, panting, and screeching with excitement before and after rides. Zengasm was the ultimate and as a group, we loved every minute of it. We were so engrossed in our pleasures, we were totally unaware that the Pack Bug was nipping at us. After a while we began to feel the bite and a new sensation begin to set in. Riders became plagued with apprehension, anxiety, fear, and resistance to riding with our group. The word on the Street was "beware of the Knight Riders, those guys are crazy."   We were not crazy, we were just experiencing a Zengasm, while being eaten up by the Pack Bug.

Group Riding is exciting and fun. However if individual riders do not protect themselves from the Pack Bug, the ultimate high, can be short lived. For me, the Pack Bug was the reason group riding was no longer exciting. Group riding no longer brought me that ultimate high. Simply because novice and immature riders who ditched their bikes while trying to keep up with skillful riders repeatedly interrupted my Zengasms. The Bug was wearing me out and I wasn't even being bit. Rounding a corner and hearing a hysterical automobile driver screaming and crying because she collided with a rider who went wide in a corner, seeing a rider with his leg severed after hitting a guard rail, watching the only passenger out of 33 bikes die after being swept up by a backhoe, all of this is enough to make anyone retire the gear.

I love sportbikes and I love riding my motorcycle. I have no plans of retiring my gear any time soon. However, because of the Pack Bug, I did decide to let go of large group riding. Over the years, I have ridden a Katana 600, CBR 600F2, CBR 900RR, RVF 400, and now a YZF 1000. It was very easy to get bitten on these machines. Fortunately, I survived my first bite, and believe me after being bit by the Pack Bug, and witnessing its effects, I ride my bike in a completely different light today.

I am hoping that this article will help all motorcyclists avoid the bite of the Pack Bug, especially sportbike riders. It is important that you think about your capabilities before venturing off with a pack of motorcyclists, particularly if you are unfamiliar with other riders' knowledge and skills. If you participate on group rides, organized or with friends, talk to your club members/riders about the Pack Bug. Protect yourself from the bite of the bug by using common sense and going at a pace comparable with your own skills and knowledge. Do not allow yourself to get sucked into the Zengasm.

SK/Winter 05

We've worked hard to upgrade this site. Click here to notify us of any problems we need to correct.


Subscription has its privileges - Each month Sound RIDER! publishes new features on rides, clubs, dealers and events. Don't miss out on these informative stories.

Sign up today for your FREE subscription and you'll get notification each month when the new issue comes on line. You'll also be the first to find out about special Sound RIDER! events. From time to time, we also provide valuable coupons that can save you hundreds of dollars on motorcycle services. What are you waiting for? Click here to sign up now!