Riders on the road – what unites them all?
Many choose to ride motorcycles: some all year round, some just on the brighter days. But have you ever wondered why we enjoy taking our bikes out for a spin? Or why we often end up thinking about riding? I have stumbled upon similar musings several times and I think I might have just found an answer that is true for most.
The feeling of freedom
Power, noise, instantaneous response, agility – keywords often used to describe one's motorcycle. The factor that unites all of these qualities is what riders often refer to as the 'feeling of freedom'. There is something in our deep instinct-driven brain that makes us seek power, speed and mastering the controls of something beyond ourselves. In a modern world, motorcycles are capable of providing just that. The lightweight machines pack such a concentrated positive experience punch that we, the little organic accelerator-brake couplings, simply can't get enough of it. Did motorcycling become one of the drugs for today's society?
It's not all about mind boggling speed and roaring exhaust pipes, though.. The feeling of freedom comes in many forms. For me it's evident even when I freeze on my way back home due to forgotten gloves or get soaking wet throughout my journey. I would still repeat it over and over again.
Although nature can be harsh, being so close to it, so exposed to the surrounding environment, brings out the natural explorers deep within us. The oncoming wind on our bodies and cold showers bring us back to the real world. A world where there's just you, your bike and the road. It's so empowering and liberating to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges and routes. Not to mention going for longer tours: just you, the bike and fellow riders. A guaranteed thrilling adventure – something no car trip can compete with.
Riding – for your body and soul
However, being free does come with responsibility. Knowing that our own life is in our hands, drives us even further to discover the unknown and experience things anew. Not to mention all those times we try to cut a corner only to find ourselves lost, tracking back through the woods. Free riding enables the rider to disconnect – focusing just on the road and the bike forces me to forget my daily worries that otherwise keep buzzing around in my head. It's a meditation of sorts. Becoming one with the RPMs of your machine. Body and mind in one place at one time - Zen.
Motorcycle – a commuter's best friend
Enough about free-roaming and exploring. Can we feel free while riding the daily commute to work? On a road where we know each and every bump, pothole and recognize the mail delivery truck? Absolutely.
As soon as your mind loosens up and has time to run in parallel with the riding, something I call 'therapeutic riding' begins. Now, thoughts start to surface, whether inspired by something I saw or the smell the wind brings. My brain gets carried away – riding an adventurous tour of its own.
The switch between the two – focused and therapeutic freedom must be somehow connected to RPMs, though. I've noticed that as soon as I approach 8000 or so (I ride a light bike) - my brain immediately pauses the thought train and concentrates on the motorcycle.
Freedom in the garage?
So we have already discussed the raw power of motorcycles, two-wheeled exploration and the joys associated with motorcycle commuting. But how about when things slow down and everything becomes still in the garage, just the metal ticking away – cooling down after a hard day's work? We, motorcycle owners, have the joy of being able to inspect the engineering behind our machines so easily.. Everything is accessible, stored in a beautiful shell – available for us and our technical minds to go crazy about.
Despite the fact that maintenance may be expensive both financially and time wise, just being able to see all of that machinery that carries you on hard terrain and along twisting roads – liberates. Not to mention the endless discussions online and bike events, where all motorcyclists can be as passionate about riding as they truly are.
So next time you greet a chopper, supermoto or an old-timer rider coming your way, don't forget – you two are much more alike than it meets the eye. Freedom in its many forms comes pre-installed in every bike and I have yet met anyone who'd refuse it...