Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Senses of Riding

A dog may not reflect a connection to riding to the casual observer, the connoisseur of mechanical marvel, or the unwashed masses who see riders as fools with a death wishes as they talk on their cellphones.  My dog Junior, like my Vespa, bring me into the world, cause me to move forward, at this time of year through resistance and doubt only to emerge at the other end of a trip with a profound sense of satisfaction.  Like a dog, eyes, ears, nose, they're all turned on, alert and scanning the world.

The Vespa almost always comes after the dog.  Biology trumps engineering.

A ride to work, on an errand, or just an unplanned and aimless trip to no where in particular is much like he morning walk -- senses attuned to the world, sights to see, and that feeling of motion, flying in this instance, but motion both figuratively and literally.  It's a potent medicine.

And always there's arrivals.  A place, a sight, a location.  In cold weather I relish in an almost unnatural way the heat and steam of a cup of tea as no other drink has ever provoked.  And again, the senses are focused keen like a sharp knife on every sound and motion, sight and smell.  All lost on the non-rider?  How would I know?

There are the grand sights and the small ones.  When riding to work or on little journies from one task to the next a person takes things as they come.  Standing at a coffee shop counter I spy the tulips across the room in the window.  I'm certain, had I arrived in the van, my mind would be elsewhere and I'd never have seen them.

Thank you ride.


Dar said...

Steve your pictures are beautiful. I too find all of my senses are engaged when I am the scooter or motorcycle. I think it is because you are paying so much attention that you see, smell and hear everything. I think car drivers are much more passive and complacecent, whereas riders have to be alert and completely engaged.

Charlie6 said...

Was it Pirsig that said if you're a car driver, life unfolds before you as if you're watching a movie but if you ride a motorcycle/scooter, you're part of the movie?

Some outstanding pictures Steve, the first and last were the best of the group IMHO.



Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

bobskoot said...


I used to go to flea markets (Swap meets), you are always looking about, scanning the tables for "bargains", looking around to see what others are looking at, then the wheeling and dealing, sniffing, smelling & caressing the antiques, exploring . . .

not unlike what a dog does in the normality of life

Riding the Wet Coast

Bryce said...

Junior is a big suck IMO.
He even looks at every thing and then returns his gaze to you.

More pictures of him please, and maybe pose him beside the Vespa now and then.

Kathy said...

Great one AGAIN! My dog Harry wins over my bike, too. He was just diagnosed with hip displaysia, so our 2-mile walks have been reduced to 2 blocks. But he allows me to escape often enough to get rides in most days.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve Williams:

Heading out on two wheels is to drink in the ride from the tap. Comparing a ride on a bike to a ride in the car is like comparing a draft beer to the draft of a bad speech.

Those who understand this flash the smirk. Those who don't are the object of it.

Nice pictures.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

David Masse said...

Steve, that coffee cup photo is stunning. Not that the others aren't excellent photos. But that coffee cup photo has really beautiful lines and texture. Beautiful. That says it.

Steve Williams said...

Dar: Thanks for the kind words about the photos. I continue to enjoy making pictures of the things I see. Car drivers -- well, they are what they are. Just have to take them into account...

Charlie6 (Dom): I love those lines by Pirsig. It's probably time to pick that book up again.

It's hard to go wrong with Junior -- he's such a poser!

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: All riders are dogs. I think I heard that somewhere.

Bryce: Junior is developing as a model. He certainly reacts to the camera. I've not really had him and the Vespa together very often. I'll have to think about that coupling.

Steve Williams said...

Kathy: Dogs add a lot to life if a person is inclined towards them. I don't want to be without one.

Hope yours see improved health ahead!

Steve Williams said...

Mr. Riepe (oh wise one): Now I know why you're smirking in pictures. I was confusing the smirk with the battered baby seal.

David Masse: Coffee cup? Not me. I am a confirmed tea drinker. Regardless, it was my favorite picture too. Something utterly simple about it.