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Why we ride - long

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by Sir Skuffy, May 7, 2007.

  1. Something I read this morning and thought I would share.

    By Christopher Cullen
    I could feel the rumble of my motorcycle below me, its two wheels connecting me to the ground. I could hear the wind buffeting my helmet. My senses seemed sharper, more aware, more... alive. I felt content with the exception of one thing: A question that a stranger had asked me when I last stopped for coffee.

    A simple question really.


    "Why do it? Why take the risk?"

    At the time, I had responded with my usual spiel. "MSF, full gear, defensive riding, blah, blah..." The truth is, motorcycling is a risk. Yes, one can minimize that risk, but it IS a risk. And one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

    So I asked the question aloud to myself as I rode. It echoed in my helmet. It echoed in my mind. Why? Why do you do it? You have a wife and two children, you have friends... why take the risk? My mind was blank for a moment. Without my defensive spiel, I was at a loss. But only for a moment. And then the reasons came flooding in. Many reasons.

    I only needed one.

    When I was 10, my mom met a man named Jesse (who was later to become my step-father). Having been without a father since I was a baby, I was uncomfortable around him, but liked him because he treated me like a young man. I was a small, awkward kid, and picked on at school quite a bit. He helped me forget some of that.

    Jesse and my mom had a date planned on a Saturday afternoon, and he asked if I'd like to come. I of course answered yes, and the three of us piled into his old, beaten-up truck and headed out. We drove in silence for about 30 minutes and then pulled into an open dirt field near the edge of town. I jumped out of the truck and noticed that Jesse was pulling the tarp off of a small mini-bike in the back of his truck. He exchanged a smile with my mom that told me this was a planned event. He pulled the bike from the truck and rolled it toward me. It was red. Without exchanging a word, I sat down on it. He asked me if I'd ever ridden before. I told him "no," thinking that by saying that I might lose my chance to ride. He just smiled and pulled a helmet from his truck. He handed it to me and said, "Well, then you'd better wear this."

    I put the helmet on, and Jesse told me to steady the bike while he pulled the starter. It started on the first pull. The engine probably sounded like a small lawn mower, but to me, it sounded like magic, it sounded like a jet engine from a spy movie. Jesse gave me some instructions, looked me in the eye and asked if I was ready. My grin must have said yes. Jesse stood behind me with his hand on my shoulders. I slowly twisted the throttle and felt the bike start to move forward. Jesse ran behind me for about ten yards (until I got the nerve to put my feet on the pegs), then he let go.

    Freedom is a word that has been used to death. It has been co-opted by corporations and politicians. We see it on t-shirts, underwear and tattoos. But the word... the feeling... of freedom, is REAL. And something that many people don't ever get a chance to understand.

    That day, in a dirt field on the edge of town, I felt freedom. Freedom from the bullies at school, freedom from loss, freedom from self-pity, and self-doubt. When I twisted that throttle... I was free. I was ME. And I suddenly understood the word in a much bigger way. In a context that allows me, even to this day, to fully appreciate what I have in this life.

    And 30 years later, on a section of open highway this is what I answered:

    "Because it is a part of me. That is why I ride."

    As the words echoed in my helmet, I twisted the throttle... and for that moment, I was free.
  2. Brilliant Mitch, just brilliant.

    :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:
  3. Yep that just about says it all.

    For me i'd add freedom from the mobile phone, freedom from works hastles, freedom to do something 'just for ME' even if it's just for a short while.
  4. It made me tingle.

  5. I ride because of the fuel economy. ;)
  6. Yeah. That's it, that's awesome!

  7. There is one thing I would like to add - short version.

    The industry I work in (like many) is rather cut-throat. I work some 70hours a week constantly and I am always thinking. There is never a day or a weekend or a vacation that I dont think of works and call my team with new ideas and approaches to market..... Sad, but true.

    The only time I am not afflicted by this disease, when I am away on a riding weekend with friends. There is something about meeting your riding buddies at the morning of a weekend ride. It is all smiles and positive energy. It is about drinking coffee, exchanging hand-shakes and embrases amongst friends. It is about silly things like how awful the McMuffin tastes..... Then, we ride, acing between lights and fooling around. The ride to the destination - always fun and funny - always stirring one another up with silly cornering technicques like extreme exagurration of lean angles just to make other people laugh..... The dinner and drinks at the pub, then bench raising the the laughing and singing to all hours of the morning......

    Not once, do i think of work......... Not once do I think of my problems...... In a way, riding is an addiction. Alcoholics and drug users say that taking their narcotic is an escape from reality - a way of sweeping their problems under the rug for a while...... Well, isnt riding the same?????
  8. +1 /\

    I have been asked numerous times to why I ride...and even in the times my bike and body has been Broken I have always used those words....I never knew about bikes before my brother in law gave me a ride on the back of his Bike (about 4-5 years ago now)...before that all I thought about bikes where things that scared the shit outa me when they split past in traffic ...o yea the 1st time I heard about my brother in law (when they where 1st starting to go out was ...he had just written of a 97 GSXR750 from someone doing a U-turn in front of him )
  9. beautifully said. thank u.

    :rofl: :rofl: you're a goose loz .... just in case anyone hadn't reminded you recently :wink: :p
  10. Is it more dangerous to ride and enjoy life, or to never really live? We only get one shot at this and danger occurs in degrees.
  11. Nice post, mate.

    When I'm on the bike, everything else is rendered insignificant.
    The "danger" factor adds to this (we all know the consequences of a lapse in concentration).
  12. I ride therefore I am.

    It was Loz who said that if you ride for rational reasons you are missing the point. I don't ride in groups much as I spend a lot of time with my four kids and missus, but when I do ride in a group I connected, a basic human desire.

    I ride to work everyday and love the feeling of freedom that gives me, no tolls, lane splitting and parking on the footpath all elements of the freedom.

    But I ride because, well because I do. It is a part of me.
  13. awesome post! you said it all. I used to play a lot sports on my spare times. Coming to mid age with busy work and family life, I found less and less myself. Riding can give me such felling back.
  14. Sir Skuffy - you nailed it.
    That is why I do not ride with music, phones, or passengers with intercoms.
    That way I don't go postal!
  15. That is very well said. I've been trying to explain this to the other half (who hates bikes and has some real issues with me riding - not all of which I can blame her for). This says it perfectly.
  16. A most enlightening post and I agree 100%.
    I ride for different reasons on different days.
    Yesterday I was free..............................
  17. Great post! So well interpreted. I too have been asking myself the same question and that is the most appropriate answer a have heard yet, so very true. Fantastic!
  18. What an awesome post.

    I have a son who is not popular at school, he suffers from mild autism. But he lives to ride, I have a couple of bikes for him and his sister on his grandparents farm.

    I really hope he is enjoying the experience as much as you did.

    Having said all of that I hope to organise my own bike in the next few months it's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.