This morning as I was backing my motorcycle out of the garage, I knew I wouldn’t be taking my normal route to work. Living in White City, work is to the north of me so I headed south out of town. Why take the long way to work? I needed a little seat time to sort things out. For all those things swirling around in my head, I find the best time for me to sort through them is riding down the road. Much like someone in a glass box trying to grab as much cash as they can as it flies around them, in this case this isn’t cash flying around me and untamed animals are ready to spring out from the ditch to ruin my day.
So off I go as my morning begins. My plan was to ride in a big circle and end up traveling east so I could see the sun come up from my bike. Apparently folks take this Labor Day Weekend business pretty seriously because I had ridden 20 miles before I passed another car on the road. I find that when I really don’t think about anything in particular the answers usually seem to come. Often the surface questions I have are of insignificance and the real questions are buried under my full head of hair, so it takes a few miles to figure it out and get to the real heart of what needs organized. Not being a typical male, I’ve never been afraid to ask for directions, and The Man upstairs is a pretty good listener.
As I settled into my morning commute my mind wandered from one subject to the next but not landing on anything specific. Just the way I like it. As the plan of riding in a big circle came to fruition, I could see the sun peaking up over the horizon just as I turned to head back east. Often the answers to even the deepest questions can be right before your eyes and all we have to do is look up. The quiet inside my helmet is a great place to hear the answers that so many times are drowned out by the constant noise and distractions of a normal day. The old adage of the not seeing the forest for the trees is so true, and even though we recognize what our eyes are seeing, we may not fully understand that a sign can be so simple.
The quiet inside my helmet is a great place to hear the answers that so many times are drowned out by the constant noise and distractions.
Once I realized I was looking at a cloud pointing in an obvious direction, I had what I was looking for. I’m not sure if I really needed a big arrow in the sky, but obviously someone thought I did. I’ll take it.
Why do we always need a place to go and is it possible to not pick a direction? When it comes to riding our motorcycles, we need to start somewhere, just anywhere to get this ride underway. Our desire is to go places we’ve never been, but it takes traveling down roads we’ve already ridden on to find them. A little known feature built into all motorcycles is a GPS. It doesn’t matter how old your bike is, or what kind of bike you ride, it is mounted right behind your headlight. This system of navigation has been around since the early days of motorcycling, it’s easy to use and a very effective way of either finding yourself or getting lost. You choose.
This form of GPS is also known as a Good Place to Start – you have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any. It doesn’t matter if you are a new rider on an entry-level bike or a seasoned rider plagued with miles of experience, you have to hit the starter button and go. Every ride begins exactly where you are, so what are you waiting for? Once underway, you’ll find it easy to follow your headlight wherever it leads you. Don’t put a lot of thought into it and stop fighting the urge to turn the other way – your headlight is never wrong. Sometimes it’s the pressure we put on ourselves to make the ride amazing we forget to “just ride.”
When you are so focused on “where” to go, keep reminding yourself to “just” go. Relax and take it all in even if the road is so familiar you can tell where you are just by the feel of the surface as you ride over it. I can’t remember regretting a ride, but I can remember regretting to not ride at all. Do not let the opportunity pass you by because of indecision on where to go, as every ride should be based on why you go, and instead of a gadget determining your global position, you should determine where you are and where you are going in this world.
We have to remind ourselves that it’s the simplicity of the motorcycle that draws us in. We ride for various reasons, with the most important of those reasons being the motorcycle’s ability of taking us anywhere. It can take us to any destination imaginable, and it’s capable of getting us lost at the same time. This is a Good Place to Start.
Well, it’s getting closer to the Sturgis Rally and plans are being made. There is always the buzz of first-timers and regulars who are planning to go, as well as talk of not making it this year. What to take, what not to take and what will be forgotten is always a subject of conversation but the reality is half of what you take you probably don’t need. Who’s to say that once you get there you’ll wish you had a particular item, but who cares, right? I forget something when walking from the living room to the kitchen and I do it quite frequently, so cut me a little slack when it’s a trip you make once a year. In the end, it is just a minor inconvenience, unless it’s the tent in which you are sleeping in.
I don’t know about you, but even as plans are made and the trip is shaping up, there is always the “CANCEL WITHOUT WARNING CLAUSE” written into the Sturgis trip. It can be for even the smallest reason, but it is there right at the bottom of the list of things to pack. I’ve seen bikers call it at the eleventh hour and that’s okay – it happens. There will always be next year, and the same plans will be made, the same stuff will be left on the garage bench and the option to pull the plug will be there. Let’s just hope we don’t have to pull the plug.
This year I plan on taking a couple of detours, maybe through Colorado for a change of scenery making the long way home a little longer. Again, plans change, but for the most part that is motorcycling. Who knows, maybe the trip to Sturgis will end up being a trip to Colorado and the Rally will have to wait until next year (not quite pulling the plug). The number one rule for riding your bike is there are no rules. Well, there are rules – just ask the State Police when they pull you over, but I think you know what I mean. Point the motorcycle in the general direction you want to go, and see what happens. The trip will make itself happen and you can sit back and enjoy the ride. We tend to complicate things more than they need to be and it’s those hard plans that make the trip, uh, harder. Nobody likes harder.
So when you find yourself packing and making plans on where you need to be by a certain time, or telling yourself “I better not forget that” and “we should have been there by now,” you are forgetting what it’s all about. Go where you want, change your mind if you want to and let the ride happen. Sturgis? Sure. But I’ve always said Sturgis is where I turn around, it’s the ride that’s the best part. And what about the forgotten stuff on the work bench at home? It didn’t affect the trip one bit. There should be a Cabela’s down the road, shouldn’t we be there by now?