I own a motorcycle. I am not a die hard died in the wool biker, but I am more than just a weekend warrior. I have rules for riding. They are more of guidelines than rules etched in stone, but I try and follow them.
1. I ride on clear and sunny days. I have riden in the rain from driving tanks in the Army to full on typhoon type thunderstorms on my bike. I prefer nice sunny days.
2. I don’t ride my bike as transportation. I will not ride it to the store, to work, to purposefully get somewhere. I don’t enjoy riding in traffic, sitting waiting on traffic lights. I don’t ever want to get to where I am in a hurry to get somewhere so I won’t be late while riding a bike.
3. I don’t ride others bikes or let anyone ride my bike. My first bike was wrecked by someone else just after I learned to ride it before I got licensed or insured. It was twelve years before I was able to get another bike.
4. I don’t enjoy the buffeting of wind, noise, and harshness of driving over 60 for longer than a few moments at a time. I.E. I hate driving on Interstates. Interstates are too close to driving in a car and its full of cars with people driving who are not paying attention.
I do love riding. It is a solitary activity for the most part. You and the road. No cage, no windshield, no seat belts, and very dangerous! Most bike accidents I have heard of or known the bikers involved were accidents involving cars driving over or into motorcycles because they never saw them. That is one of the reasons I don’t drive in the city, in traffic, or use the bike for transportation.
When I get to ride I sneak carefully out of town to a back out of the way two lane blacktop. The old highways that were used before the Interstates built is where I love to ride. Very ocasionally you run across a car but most of the time its just you and the road. I run about 50 miles per hour with a half helmet and no windshield. My pipes are Vance & Hines Cruisers that make my Kaw 800 Vulcan sound like a Harley Davidson and are loud enough it can be heard three blocks away. This is where I really live – exitensionally I live another life entirely when I ride. Separate and apart from the rest of the world. Taking the road less traveled in no hurry, with no cell phone, no where to go in particular, and searching for that sense of nirvana that from time to time I get to experience momentarily while riding.
I once read the more you try to describe Zen the farther you get from it. What I am going to try and express in words is the same way. From time to time while riding I experience something that is beyond reason, description, understanding and yet so profound, grounding, clarifying, and real that the rest of your life pales to mere existence to get by until you can ride again.
When you’re riding you have to be hypersensitive to the road, the bike, and your surroundings. The experience I have felt is where you are there, attentive and driving the bike, but where another part of you disconnects and plugs into the rest of the world, its vibrations, feelings, its pulse. Your thinking clarifys. The phrase that every grain of sand is where it supposed to be totally makes sense as you experience this out of this world tranforming experience.
When I have to skip church to go riding I know God totally understands I am attending a higher and finer church than has ever been built of motar, bricks and wood. My time on my bike is more spiritually moving than any church service I’ve ever attended or sermon I have ever heard preached. To share the experience of riding today with my wife and with a very good friend of mine and his wife, to introduce him to a slower and different kind of riding experience is a gift to myself on a spiritual level. I feel more focused, grounded, aware of my own mortality, and thankful for the life that I have. I relish my family more. Everything seems more real, the colors more vibrant, food tastes better, life is richer.
To some the rules may seem stupid or bogus, but to me they keep me focused on riding in a safe and enjoyable manner that gives me the very best of the experience, eliminates a lot of the risks and threats associated with riding and lets me envelope myself with the best parts of riding. I hope to be riding my bike well into my golden years. I love going to that other place, that out of this world experience that I have only experienced while riding. My idea of heaven is residing in that special place eternally!