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Issue 44


“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

This oft-cited Hunter S. Thompson quote from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has become a cliché; it gets tossed around loosely, especially in the motorcycle industry. But there is more to it — the less sexy part — that is often left out:

“Buy the ticket, take the ride … and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well . . . maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

Tune in. Freak out. Get beaten. No one wants tickets for that ride.

The heavy events of 2020 forcefully expanded our collective consciousness more than anyone had in mind. We tuned in, we freaked out, and in many ways, we were left beaten. Even more, we felt paralyzed, unable to travel freely or choose our company and activities. In many cases — figuratively and literally — there were not even tickets for us to buy.

Trite or not, the Thompson quote illuminates the fact that the reward is in making a decision rather than the guarantee of a desired outcome. Too often, we celebrate risk only when there is a positive outcome, and vilify it as poor decision-making when things go sideways. The real tragedy is being paralyzed by indecision.

So this issue isn’t about rewards or consequences. It’s a testament to the value of making a choice in the first place, to knowing that even in the direst of times, we still have options. We can still decide to ride, even when the only road we have is an active minefield (page 026). We can give joy to others when a negative prognosis robs us of everything else (page 038). We can decide to make our livelihood by jumping into the flames (page 018) or by triumphantly emerging from the fire to bring life to others (page 070).

Our tickets were bought at birth and the ride’s already well underway. From here out, it’s a matter of decision-making. Choose wisely. Choose poorly. Let the cards fall where they may, because the reward is already yours.

Enjoy Issue 043.

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Iron & Air celebrates both the journey and the destination. We’re motivated like most who seek more out of life: to leap out of bed (or stumble), embrace risk, and chase after a life worth living. While the machines that move us are the binding thread, it’s the places they take us that create the lasting stories we collect and share with you here. Members get digital access to every back issue and the latest issues as they drop.

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