In order to understand the ramblings of a mad man one must first understand what has brought him to such madness. This had started over the festive season a few months ago. A good friend of mine had decided that riding for a club no longer suited his way of life. In our heated discussion he had said something that has been chewing at my very souls since the words were uttered. “Why do you really ride?” At that time the simplest answer came to mind. “I ride because I like it.” Simple, and plainly put. What’s not to understand? Then came the question that I am struggling to completely comprehend. “Why do you like it?” Suddenly, the simple answers no longer make any sense. Two simple questions had placed me in some weird existential crisis. Why am I riding and why do I like it so much?
Since then I’ve had some free time to contemplate the basis of the crises that I am experiencing deep within my soul. I’ve had time to think about what had driven me to a life of riding in the first place. Thinking back to my first experience on the back of a bike. The blue and black Conti 125 cc that had set this whole thing in motion. Gripping my father’s jacket, holding on for dear life. Adrenaline surging through my then 13-year-old body. That experience of moving, like one would in a car, but completely free. No cage and glass separating you from the moment.
The love for this sensation had continued further into my teenage years. During this time I had started riding on my own. A totally new sensation became my drug. Instead of clinging on for dear life, I am now in control. I straddle the machine and make it move to my will. A complete addiction to the moment. A moment where I experience everything in hyper-detail. The wind rushing past my helmet, the sound of rubber humming against tar, the rumble of an engine, everything in isolation and together at once. Running the wheels along the apex of every turn, as g force tugs at the fibers of my being. I could feel the road. Every bump, every line and every pebble being transmitted from the wheels straight into my soul. All combining to form moments of pure ecstasy.
Many years and thousands of kilometers later this feeling, this love, has faded. An experience of pure ecstasy had become so mundane. I’ve been riding my bike on a daily basis. My drug has now turned to my daily commute. It’s here that the questions had struck me off-balance. I no longer feel the urge to ride as I once did. There’s no more counting down the minutes until I could get on my bike once more. Have I grown up? Have I matured past the point of enjoying the trill of riding?
I’ve contemplated this in the only why that made sense, by going riding. I’ve found that solo riding is the best way I can clear my head. One’s mind tends to become very clear around 140km/h. I found my answer on why I ride by riding.
Although the pure love of riding has faded as the years had passed, other reasons had now surfaced. I’ve found that I still have a love for riding, however it no longer sounds in the ride itself. My joy, my reason for riding now comes from the experiences going along with riding. The true reason I ride is in the companionship I’ve found in friends who ride with me, the journey that takes us everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and the people we meets along the way. The joy of riding sounds in the memories one creates in the process. There is no purpose in going fast and zooming through life. In the words of Guy Martin, “When you dead, you dead.” One has to slow down sometimes and enjoy the scenery along the way. “It’s not so much the destination as it is the journey.” – Jack Sparrow.
Therefore I say safe ride, and enjoy the journey.