I love to ride. Motorcycles, that is. Yes, I know the statistics aren’t great, though another car is generally at fault in the case of a collision.
For now, my rides are limited to weekend mornings, and this is mostly because I have duties at home. A secondary reason is probably the lack of a more powerful bike – my current one is a 600cc ‘starter’. A 900+ cc bike will work better for highways and longer trips. I also didn’t want to drop big bucks on a bigger bike just yet although that seems likely in my future as I love riding.
Just Me, Myself and the Open Air
Life is busy with a lot of fighting fires and daily routine. You have the spouse and the kids and work and clients – all who want a piece of your time. When I ride, it is just me with myself. I cater to no one. I escape the monotony of life. I come home content, and those few hours away from the family make me a better dad & husband (or mom & wife).
You get through the early morning traffic and into the winding roads in the hills. You get a chance to self-reflect, to shed the baggage of the last week/fortnight/month.
All that stress and tension just melts away, leaving your mind like water flowing over your body in a much-needed shower. You’re just thankful for being there at that moment in time.
Develop a Thicker Skin
Folks that don’t ride, don’t always get why those that ride do so. There may be an air of slight social disapproval when they find out you ride a motorcycle. This is necessary as you learn to shrug it off and develop a thick skin.
Also, you stop giving a crap about bad hair when taking your helmet off and walking into a restaurant.
You’re Forced to Focus
When riding, your brain is always on the alert, always watchful, keeping an eye out for that car that doesn’t see you. You actually become a better driver when you’re in the car as you’re automatically more vigilant of other cars.
Plus: You’re also more cognizant of motorcycles sharing the road with you and stay out of their way. Double benefit!
Overcome, and Get Comfortable With Fear
You’re on the road not protected by the tough exterior of your SUV and its 8 (or 12) airbags. If you throw a leg over your bike and aren’t just a little bit afraid then you’re cocky and overconfident, and that’s a recipe for disaster and yet another statistic.
Good riders know fear and accept it, and that’s what makes them alert when they’re out on the road. This crosses over into life.
Great SoCal Weather
Okay, I agree this isn’t possible for everyone but had to throw that in there because it’s just. So. Freakin’ Awesome. It’ll take you ~25 mins to get to the hills on an early weekend morning and it’s you and the hills that make for great riding. Winter gets a little nippy (for us Californians, stop snickering) but nothing that a few layers can’t fix.
This is one more of those things that you won’t get until you ride. You don’t have to be a member of a biker gang or hang out at biker-frequented pubs like they show in the movies. Just ride. You’ll start to understand and appreciate, a different set of hand signals. You feel like you’re part of a community, a brotherhood of sorts, that”s invisible to the rest of the world.
If you happen to ride with friends like I do, then it’s a great opportunity to catch up over breakfast in the mountains.
Riding Is Eternal
When I was in college in India, I used to ride to get from point A to point B. It was almost always on a borrowed bike since I never had one of my own. The feeling of euphoria, of being in control, of the power of the slightest flick of your wrist somehow never left me.
Fast forward twenty years, and I’m finally back on a bike as of a couple of years ago. I’m definitely a more mellow rider, content to sit upright and just relax. The feeling stayed.
I’ve nowhere to get to in a hurry, and it gives me a chance to appreciate my life and those around me. I long for the day when I have achieved financial freedom. I plan to get on the bike and go off exploring the unseen – whether it’s riding up the west coast to Canada or one of those motorcycle tours in the Swiss and Austrian Alps.
Are you coming along for the ride?