“I will always have this bike until it just dies or somebody destroys it.”

The Ride
The Driver: Justin
Vehicle in Question: 2006 Kawasaki Ninja
Spotted at: Harpo Studios, 110 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607
Odometer: 22,000
Car’s Nickname: Carmen


Q: Do you have a nickname for your motorcycle?

A: Yes. I call her Carmen because she has a whole bunch of carbon fiber on her and carbon fiber is a material I just can’t get enough of.

Q: Really? Explain why you can’t get enough of carbon fiber?

A: Because it’s a bit of an oxymoron. It’s a light material, but it’s extremely stiff and strong.

Q: Can you tell me the make, model and year of your motorcycle?

A: It’s a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja. It is a 600cc motor. It’s in the middleweight class. Originally it was a special edition 2006. It had a bunch of different red flames and it had a goldish paint. Since I’ve had it, I have kind of changed that a bit.

Q: What do you mainly use your motorcycle for?

A: Anything. If I need to go somewhere and I feel like riding and I don’t have a lot of stuff, then I’m on the bike. If it’s a quick ride, then I’m on the bike.

Q: What has been one of your favorite trips that you’ve taken on your motorcycle?

A: My favorite trip was to North Carolina and Tennessee. Me and six of my friends trailered our bikes up there. There is a highway up there called Route 21, better know as the “tail of the dragon” and this highway has 318 curves and 11 miles. Beautiful place. It’s a giant motorcycle attraction.

Q: Was that the craziest place you’ve ever driven to?

A: I would say that’s a pretty crazy place. If you fall off the side of the cliff, you’re going to be pretty messed up. Other than that I did once park my motorcycle in front of the Apple Store. I did think that was kind of silly because I could have gotten a ticket for this, or more possibly gone to jail. But it was late at night and I was taking a ride down Lake Shore Drive, so I said let’s do something and go take a picture.

Q: Do you have any rules for your motorcycle?

A: I care about the passenger. If I have a passenger on the back I care dearly for her security. If we’re not riding around just the neighborhood and we happen to hop on the expressway, she has to have on long sleeves, preferably a jacket of mine with armor in it. Always a helmet, I don’t care if we’re just going around the neighborhood. You have to have a helmet on.

Q: Do you bob and weave through traffic?

A: No. I don’t swerve in and out of traffic. If I’m swerving it’s because I’m trying to get away from a car I feel is too close, bad drivers, and distracted drivers. As far as bobbing and weaving, dipping in and out of traffic, splitting lanes, riding on the shoulder, no not at all.

Q: If your motorcycle had a theme song what would it be?

A: I would say it would be the “Gone In 60 Seconds” theme song [“Flower” by Moby]. For me it’s calming. Motorcycles calm me. That song calms me, but gets me ready to do what I need to do. It’s kinda like preparation for something that isn’t the safest thing to do.

Photos and interview by Nicolette Chambers

View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at CBSChicago.com/Autos