Dan Bateman, author of Musings of an Intrepid Commuter, recently wrote about the state of mind that riding can put you in – one decidedly different than that sitting behind the wheel of an automobile. I revisited the two paragraphs below a number of times. What Dan wrote soundly struck a chord and neatly sums up the magic of riding for me.
There's something about riding a motorcycle that puts us into a different state of mind than cagers. Sometimes that's bad. We're more likely to find ways to get into trouble, you know! On the other hand, or maybe just the other side of the same hand, I find myself so much more open to the world around me. I see more, feel more, and thus experience more, than when in a car. I find myself so much more willing to wander off the beaten path. The age old question. What's down there? Let's go find out. I'm not so likely to bother with it in a car or my truck. On a bike, in vivid contrast, I'm ready for adventure at a moment's notice.
I think most people who ride experience the same thing. Using a bike for regular transportation amplifies the effect. I spend a lot of time on a bike. So I also spend a lot of time in an open and inquisitive state of mind. It's become a regular trait of mine. Riding is a Zen-like journey. There's so much personal growth that comes as a result of, but not directly tied to, riding. Thus my journey Monday evening.
Musings of an Intrepid Commuter, April 9, 2009
Riding strips away a lot of the noise that builds through the day and can open the door to adventure. I’m not talking about the big, heroic rides across continents, but rather movement through a regular day, through the daily rituals of life. When I push the Vespa back onto its center stand it is almost always to look around. At nothing and everything. I feel the same way I did when I was a kid and everything seemed new and treasure is everywhere. I’m fortunate that I can ride regularly and enter this state of mind.
Dan talks about how a motorcycle makes him more willing to wander off the beaten path. I have to agree. I seldom wheel my Ford Ranger off the beaten path. The enclosed comfort in a modern vehicle makes those turns ponderous and difficult. Or more often just unimportant. I don’t often feel like a kid in my truck. I know it can be done because I used to prowl the Central Pennsylvania landscape in a truck with my view camera in tow. I would move slowly, just as I do on the scooter, and travel down every unmarked path searching for photographic treasure. But it was never easy and I always had to push past the slothful comfort of padded seats and stereophonic music. The Vespa appears in these pictures without any need to push.
Riding to work the next morning was a repeat of the previous evening. Another path, another opportunity to breathe in the world. They aren’t dramatic rides but they are opportunities to be present, something that is more difficult to achieve amidst the noise of daily living.
I’ve been here before but each time I stop it’s the first time I’ve been here.