The motorcycle. A symbol of liberation, freedom, anarchism. A danger that few are willing to ever brave. I have ridden for close to 10 years. Over the years, I have had thousands of experiences. I have done a handstand on the edge of the Grand Canyon, crowd surfed concerts, done 160 MPH in a Porsche and outran tornados.
Few experiences measure the thoughts and feelings of riding a motorcycle. This is a journal of a handful of thoughts and experiences myself and other riders have had over the years.
1. My mindset while riding includes who I’m riding with and what bike I’m on. Places to explore things to improve on the bike and generally not worrying about a damn thing else in life.
2. I think that I should have been wearing earplugs all these years. That's the best advice I could give to a noob.
3. Loud Pipes Save Lives
4. In the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” there is a passage about the difference of experiencing the countryside from behind the handlebars of a bike and windshield of a car. When you’re on a bike, you are part of the surroundings, experiencing it with all senses compared to a car where you just get to see.
5. I'm always thinking about my inputs to the motorcycle and how they affect the weight transfer, grip and lean angle. That and how smooth I am with those inputs. I'm always thinking about the road conditions and hoping for more corners, elevation changes and open roads so I can go fast. Unfortunately, this mindset made street riding boring, so I only ride on the track now.
6. I think about where the cops are and how fast I'm gonna hit this sick jump
(A thought every rider has had)
7. When I'm riding I'm not thinking about anything. It's my time to relax, unwind and not think about all that's wrong with the world. It's my escape from reality.
8. It was beyond words in its effect when I got home from Afghanistan.
9. No matter the bike I'm riding, the goal is the same and it's a combination of 2 things. First off, riding to me can be a form of escape. Every time I start that motor and hear the roar of the engine any problem, anxiety or issues just starts to melt away. There is just something about riding that makes everything feel at ease. You can step back and forget everything for however long your journey takes. Secondly, it's the experience of being on a bike that changes everything. From rolling into turns and feeling the pull of the throttle to just being able to feel the change in temp from riding in the sun to under tree cover and then the calm of the wind blowing by your face — there is no better rush. To me, it both excites all my senses and calms the nerves.
10. Always thinking about stuff I could've done better, shifting, turns, where my weight was and is and what the cars are going to do before they do it.
11. I go riding to unwind. When I have too much on my mind I go for a ride. I don't think about my problems when I'm out riding.
12. New riders pick a destination, old riders pick a direction.
13. I’m thinking about what my BAC level is.
14. CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
15. The best riding I’ve ever done in my life (off-road/motocross) is when I’m not even thinking about riding, I’ll be daydreaming about something else. I’ll be flowing soooo good that I don’t even have to think about it.
17. I think about a lot. Job, family, life in general. Friends. How different my life could have been if I made different decisions. Sometimes I talk to God.
18. The beauty of riding a motorcycle is the feeling of liberation. Liberation from the chains of society. Freedom to be whomever you want to be. Reliance on one’s instincts and experiences become the most important thing. A heartbreak disappears when one realizes more things matter in life than a relationship, like keeping the bike upright and making sure that car up there see’s me.
19. Best thing I can equate riding with is skydiving. When going through corners hard, you have the rush of the freefall. When just cruising, I feel the peace of when under the canopy of a parachute. I feel one with the road and everything around me. The smell of the country air, the feel of the air rushing over my skin, feel of the road underneath my feet.
20. My mind goes blank and I’m becoming one with the bike. More or less relieving myself of all my stress and worries, and going as fast as possible
Finally, my thoughts, dear reader, are simple.
21. “I'm somewhere in second gear, I'm using my knees to steer, arms stretch to a blue sky, feeling like I can never die. Nature, music, and the roar of an engine intertwine to create a portrait of beauty, create inner peace. I am the King of the road, and nothing can take me away from my throne. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul, and I will not ride gently into that good night.”
I invite you to join us out there. Reach out to someone who has a motorcycle, chances are, they will gladly show you the way.
Remember, always ride safe, and do the hand thing when you see another rider.