Monday, January 25, 2010

Motorcycles Make the World a Better Place

I believe every time I swing a leg over the seat of my motorcycle, I'm making the world a better place.

Yes, really.

Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." I'm not so bold as to compare myself to Gandhi, but I'll take what I can from his wisdom and apply it to my own life. And maybe, if I'm bold enough to do that, other people will too.

You know what I was to see in the world? People unafraid to go for what they want, unafraid to take a calculated risk, people unafraid to have fun. Fun is a social good.

I like to think, and maybe I'm crazy, that I've inspired one or two people to dust off the bikes they've got in the garage and get them out on the road. I know I've helped a couple people taking those first steps to being an awesome biker and even motorcycle commuters. I like to talk to folks when I'm out riding or walking around in my gear, and I hope they walk away glad they talked to me.

I like waving to kids. Have you seen their eyes light up when they see a motorcycle? It's because they haven't been burdened with thoughts of "being realistic" or "being safe." They just know a good time when they see one. A few of those kids might grow up to be bikers. Or, they might at least do their best not to run us down in their SUVs.

And what's up with the obsession with safety, anyhow? I'm tired of people telling me to be safe. Safety this, safety that. Look, I've got a helmet on my noggin, I'm wearing protective gear, and I've been trained to ride this thing. I don't ride like an idiot. I'm as safe as I can be, and I don't want to be any safer. Safety is an illusion. Total safety is a padded room you lock yourself in. You'll be just as dead if you get killed in a car, but you won't have had nearly as much fun along the way.

So maybe some people think I'm nuts riding in the extremes of Phoenix weather. Some people might think I'm nuts riding to work every day. A few people probably think I'm nuts for having a motorcycle. And there are some who just think I'm nuts.

But there are hopefully always going to be a few out there who see me and get inspired to do what they've always wanted to do.

And that makes the world a better place, I think.