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Many non-riding friends have asked me to explain when I say that riding a motorcycle is relaxing. I try to remember the context of a question when I find it to be of a peculiar nature. To me, that question is peculiar because they know I ride all the time. Why would I ride all the time if it was not relaxing? So I find the question peculiar. But, as I said, keep in mind the context.
For many people, riding a motorcycle is just too fast. At any speed. There’s too much wind, too much noise, too much heat, cold, vibration, etc. Many people think they are exposed to speed when they ride in their cars, but they aren’t. Their frame of reference is the car’s interior, not the world going by them outside. So removing them from that cocoon is a slap in the face about what’s really going on with a vehicle in motion.
Back to the question. Why is it relaxing to me, and to most regular riders? I can’t speak for all, but I myself occasionally have trouble slowing my mind down. My thoughts race and wander away from the task at hand. Staying focused through an entire work day is a challenge in itself. I want things to move faster.
On a motorcycle, things do move faster. All things. Especially the occasional bug whizzing past my head. As speed increases, the increase in wind, noise and vibration is not linear, but exponential and so is the sensory input. Somewhere, at a certain speed (it varies each day), the world is finally moving past so quickly that it catches up to my thoughts and I feel calm. All the while I am contemplating some issue at work and at home, I’m also making note of the temperature, road conditions, sunlight and shadows, birds, cars and falling leaves. Each second requires that I process and re-process all these things many times over.
For the some people, this is too much. It’s too fast, at any speed. The constant feeling of playing “catch up” to everything going on around them prevents them from relaxing, so riding is stressful. I say, don’t take up any hobby or past time that stresses you out. What’s the point? They should make the smart choice (for them) and not ride. They’re probably better at focusing on slower moving things for longer periods of time and will end up as my boss, anyway. So there’s the upside of the tradeoff. There’s always an upside.
Sometimes I wonder how I would ever truly relax without being able to ride a motorcycle. How would I work through tangled, complex issues without the calming effects of the wind, the hum of the engine between my knees and the pavement rushing by just 6 inches under my feet? Not really sure I could. But I know that as long as I can, you’ll never see my picture on any “wanted” posters or my bike parked outside a psychiatrist’s office.
Until next time, stay tuned and upright,