With the holidays over and winter settling over the hemisphere like a fat, malevolent brood hen, it’s time once again to engage in the mid-winter biker tradition of sinking into a mean, morbid, inconsolable funk. I know that’s what I’m gonna do. Grrr.

The source of the funk is self-evident. It’s the combination of crappy weather and fleeting daylight that conspires to keep the bike in the barn and the biker in the bed, punching the pillow and moaning in the grips of “seasonal affective disorder,” a sun-deprivation affliction that distresses a number of folks of all avocations but is a regular mental health crisis among bikers. There are any number of ways to treat the condition, some of the more common palliatives being sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, but the most effective regime, in my experience, is sleep. Good old sack time; copping Zs, sawing logs, hitting the hay, ten toes up. That’s the thing. Call it avoidance therapy.

With sleep come dreams, life’s best entertainment value. Dreams are like having a free pass to your own foreign film festival, and a great deal of thought and prose has been devoted to divining the meaning of dreams, or to speculating on whether or not they have any meaning at all. Freud and Jung ascribed deep revelatory value to the substance of dreams, and multitudes of self-absorbed, narcissistic people eagerly accept that position, scribbling diligently in dream diaries and finding themselves a hell of a lot more interesting than they actually are. But I tend to agree with my old pal Malcolm Clive who once told me, “Dreams are the garbage of your psyche, Terry. See, your brain’s a biker bar and there’s been a party going on there all day and somebody’s gotta clean up the mess. Dreams are the floor sweepings of waking consciousness; the beer bottles, cigarette butts, peanut shells, empty bindles and spent condoms from the back booth of your being. That’s all it is. So interpreting your dreams is about as meaningful as digging through a dumpster.”

Nevertheless, in anticipation of 10, 12, maybe 14 hours a night of dream life in the season ahead, I’ve boned up on dream interpretation, focusing on the most pervasive symbol in my dreams: the motorcycle. I dream about bikes pretty much nightly, and have for better than 40 years. I don’t consider that a cause for concern, but after all these years I figured it was time to consult the texts and pin some meaning on it.

Checking out a variety of dream dictionaries online, I discovered that there is some divergence of views on what a motorcycle means in a dream. That’s to be expected since, unlike real dictionaries, anybody can write a dream dictionary and say whatever they want and nobody can prove them wrong. And, frankly, some of the sources attribute meanings to the motorcycle that are downright wacky, for example, at we learn that dreaming of repairing a motorcycle “signifies that you will make a small child happy, give a present for your daughter/son or relative’s son/daughter or strengthen the cohesion of your family by going on a holiday together.”

Huh? And it even gets stranger from there telling us that a dream of a motorcycle on fire “indicates that you will forgive the person you are angry with and get on very well with him/her again.” Perhaps, but personally I would interpret that scenario as a damn nightmare, period.

Aside from those bizarre outliers, though, there is a common and consistent theme that runs through the various definitions in virtually all the other sources—i.e., motorcycles are sexy.

In the dictionary at we find the bluntest example of that theme, listing several interpretations of what a motorcycle signifies, starting with “Phallic symbol (because of stereotypical easy sexuality among motorcycle gang members)” and going on from there to include “Proof of manhood or sexual abilities,” and even “Permissive female sexuality.” And at we find a dream machine to mean: “Youthful drive and motivation; physical energy/restlessness; male sexuality/ego; power, control.” Not bad, eh? I’m feeling pretty studly right about now. Then runs in the same vein: “Motion. Travel. Vigor. Virility. Ready to be more masterful of your life.” Sure… Once you get your lazy ass out of bed.

The best interpretation of them all, for my money, comes from Check this out: “To see or ride a motorcycle in your dream symbolizes your desire for freedom and need for adventure. You may be trying to escape from some situation or some other responsibility in your waking life. A motorcycle is also symbolic of raw sexuality.”

That one says it all, doesn’t it? Now go back and read it again… Done? Good. Now tell me if that’s not a perfect description of what a motorcycle means to you when you’re awake as well.

Sweet dreams.

It’s all right here in the diaries…


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