Monday, March 16, 2009

I don’t think it’s FREEDOM…

Have you ever tried to describe what motorcycling means to you without using any of the tried and true descriptors? I have been. I've been thinking about it for several months now, perhaps even off and on for years, but as of late, it's been on my mind a lot lately.

Over the years, I've seen these statements, "I ride because of the freedom motorcycling extends to me." Or other kinds of really stupid statements. I don't actually believe I'm any more free of anything while on my motorcycle, than I am while in a car. How can I feel that way? I'm confined to a conveyance that moves me along the ground, and it really don't make a hoot of difference that I'm moving on an open aired two wheeled machine, or in an open topped convertible, I just don't believe the feeling I'm thinking of is "FREEDOM".

Fact is I often feel less free than while in a car. Here's the reason why: riding a motorcycle has many inherent dangers. Because of these dangers, I'm constantly on alert. So where is my freedom in that? Is the freedom in the wind blowing through my hair? Actually, I can get that by riding in a convertible car. Put the top down, and enjoy the breeze, so exactly…what is the freedom…can YOU describe it? Why do you call this feeling we get while on a motorcycle FREEDOM? I don't really get it. I don't feel free, I feel attached, I feel responsible, and I feel alone yet connected to something powerful. That isn't freedom…it's something else, but I don't know how to tell you what it is.

I no longer feel as if I'm an oddity among the throngs of commuters on the highway. How can I? There are thousands of female riders today and females are the largest growing group of new motorcycle owners. I'm glad for it, and sad at the same time, because now, motorcycles are everywhere, every size shape and example of two wheeled motorized propulsion is represented out here with a female rider. So no, I really don't feel like an oddity any more.

So, just what is this feeling I get inside when I'm on my bike? How does it truly affect me? How can I say it relaxes me when in fact, it excites me? What is it about throwing my leg over the saddle, plopping my butt down on the weatherized seat, reaching down between my legs to insert the key…tell me this…how is it that simply thinking of these actions excites me? How is when I think of these rituals I go through to start my bike, that I am both excited and clamed? How can that happen?

I've heard people say we riders of motorcycles are adrenaline junkies. OK, maybe at first, as we accumulate the hundreds of hours on our bikes, but really tell me, how do you call someone like me who has been riding for many, many years…an adrenaline junkie? I don't get that same thrilled feeling of fear any more. In fact, I'm filled with confidence in my abilities to avoid conflicts with other vehicles. Yes, of course, I understand there are unavoidable accidents that occur, but tell me the truth, haven't you been just as hurt while in an accident in a car, as you have on your bike? I have…so, does this make me an adrenaline junkie? Am I a true "risk taker"? I think not. No more so than your average driver. I just take on a slightly different set of risks when I climb on my motorcycle.

So what is it about my motorcycle that provides the benefits I reap from riding? What is it that supplies that wonderful feeling of well being once I'm fully underway? Is it mental, is it physical…is it a mixture of both? I suspect it is a mixture…but which came first…the mental or the physical aspects that cause the sensation of pure unadulterated pleasure? It is pleasure you know. It's almost as satisfying to me to ride a couple of hundred miles as it is to experience a very rollicking sensual sexual exploit with my partner. It takes longer to achieve that feeling of exhausted satisfaction while on the bike, but it lasts and stays with me longer as well. It's hard to beat that.

So just exactly how do I explain to someone what's going on when I ride? I don't try anymore, because there aren't any words that can fully express what goes on inside me when I'm riding. It's something more than any of the expressions people try to use to describe the ride…it can't be the same for everyone, because we all process experiences in a manner that is uniquely personal to individual.

So I don't try to describe why I ride, how it makes me feel, or why…I just look at them, grin that stupid grin one wears after a great sex escapade, and feel fully relaxed and satisfied for a time…until the next time I throw my leg over the seat, reach between my legs to insert the key…and start my routine for riding the bike…as my excitement both builds and fades….all at the same time, how do I really describe a feeling…?????