Jason Macierowski is a senior test engineer working in the software/composites industry and living in Worcester, Massachusetts. When not riding, he spends his time cooking to loud rock music, puttering about the house and its projects, and sometimes writing for things like this.
When did you start riding, and why?
I got my motorcycle license about six years ago but didn’t buy a bike until about four years ago. I actually waited a couple years after passing the MSF to get a bike because I had to sell at least one car in my driveway to feel somewhat like an adult before adding another vehicle. Once I did that, I became the very ecstatic owner of a 2001 Suzuki Katana 600. I know y’all will probably find that hard to believe – that anyone was ever ecstatic about a last-generation Katana – but I really loved that bike and still miss it. It was fairly easy to maneuver due to its low seat height, perfectly comfortable on the highway, and it introduced me to that wonderful TRON-like feeling when you get in the upper range of a sport-derived inline four. I still think about picking up another one.
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I had a minibike as a teen; that’s what got me started riding. Almost no one in my family was into cars, and motorcycles were strictly verboten. But I had one uncle who gave me a very memorable ride in his Toyota Supra and would let me watch Indy car racing for hours.
I wanted a go-kart but could only afford a $50 mini-bike from a garage sale. It ran for about two months. In college, a Jawa moped was a cheap thrill I could afford. It didn’t run for long either but we had fun riding it around campus. Fast forward 20 years: post college I could afford a car – a “real” vehicle I thought – so I bought a 1974 BMW 2002tii. Cue other interesting and non-interesting vehicles, jobs, a house, relationships, bands, blah, blah…. blah.
Blah? I guess that’s it: a case of the blahs. That’s what brought me back around to bikes. Or I’m just another one of those midlife crisis casualties – cue Faith No More – that wanted to cross something off a bucket list. Either/both ways, I signed up for the MSF and the rest is history. Now I can’t imagine not owning a motorcycle.
What bike do you own?
2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA. Basically a Suzuki Bandit 1250 with a bit more fairing and another cooling fan. I love it. Yes, I love (yet another) Suzuki but this time it’s a one-year-only model for the United States. So hey, at least it’s somewhat unique here. I have it kitted out with the full Givi catalog and it came with pull back risers and a touring windscreen. At some point I need to add auxiliary lights and a proper Yoshimura exhaust so I can tell the bike is running when I have a helmet on. Yes, that’s my official excuse.
I got the bike because it spoke to me. And because torque. I had seen the same model of bike at a dealership when I still had my Katana; I sat on it and it just felt right. I am happy to pontificate on the value of sitting on as many bikes as you can, whenever you can – because you never quite know what will grab you by the feels.
Almost a year later – and I’ll never forget the day – I picked mine up at the dealership and rode it about 60 miles home. My first response was to message my friend with a Bandit 1200 and ask him in colorful language and use of capitalization how on earth he manages to keep it under 100 mph on the highway. It can haz allz the torques, all the time.
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I am still in love with it because it is an exceedingly capable hammer. Admittedly, it is not a stellar rock crawler or track bike – though I have done both with it. I strongly recommend taking it to a track rather than scaling rock faces/trails with it. It also excels in riding thousands of miles in a week or two as your own personal locomotive.
What bike do you dream of owning?
Motus MST. I was never even aware of this bike until one lined up next to me on a track day. The owner fired it up and I heard 1,000 angry megalithic bees crunching granite and spewing forth their song over an acid house bass line. Hooked like Peter. I love the idea of a no-nonsense bike with a fantastic motor and no electronics meant to run forever and eat up miles. Again, I own a GSX1250FA – the Motus is a perfect step up on a logarithmic scale.
What’s the best motorcycling adventure you’ve had so far?
Riding solo from Massachusetts to Asheville, North Carolina, then to Savannah, Georgia, and getting engaged, then to Charleston, South Carolina, and back home again (my fiancee flew into Savannah and flew out from Charleston). That worked out to 3,400 miles, mostly camping along the way – so many mini adventures:
Spending two days riding the Blue Ridge Parkway and its side roads made me have a near religious experience that I still struggle to put into words but it moved me to tears at the end. Nearly collapsing from heat exhaustion in South Carolina (stupid me: I forgot to take the rain liner out of my jacket). Shaking from near-hypothermia riding across North Carolina because I wasn’t sure if I should put my rain gear back on (Never. Again). All of it, I wouldn’t trade for anything. Even if she’s now left me (girl, not bike), I will always cherish the memories of that trip and what I experienced. OK, except for maybe the bicyclist almost running me off the road on the BRP.
Where do you dream of riding?
West. I’ve lived my entire life in Massachusetts and done numerous road trips east of the Mississippi but, except for visiting Texas and playing SXSW, I haven’t seen the rest of the story that is the United States. My goal in the next few years is to take three to four weeks off work and ride the northern route through the plains, dip into Colorado, maybe Utah, then shoot up to the Pacific Northwest and ship the bike home from Seattle. Or maybe ride it home. I’ve turned the tiny spare room in my house into a planning room with a wall mounted, dry-erase friendly, 6-foot-by-4-foot map of the United States to plan this proper.
(I really hope this map looks like one of those conspiracy theory charts they always have in movies: lots of string and pictures from newspapers with certain faces circled angrily in red marker – one of those faces being the Paul Bunyan statue in Bemidji, Minnesota –CC)