Over-Meditation

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Once in a while my mood will change. My head gets foggy and I lose focus, and the usual daily routine doesn’t help the situation. Is it a full moon, or what? The ebb and flow of life in general can pull you into a funk that creeps in and takes over, but right now the tide must be in. I’m usually a happy-go-lucky guy and very little gets to me – but the last few days have been a struggle. Even the ride to work and home again isn’t enough to blow the frustrations off of me. Whenever I ride my motorcycle, it only takes a couple of minutes before the knot in my head is gone, but for the last week or so, even Houdini can’t seem to untie the rope behind my sunglasses.

 Maybe it’s not the miles ridden, but the attitude in which they are ridden. Either way, I won’t complain about the ride, just the results.

So what does a biker do when he gets in a mood like this? Most casual riders use the escape of hopping on their bike to clear their head. They take advantage of the solitude of riding to sort out their problems of the day and their motorcycle is the escape they need to outrun the madness. So when this cloudy frustration envelopes me, what do I do? I ride almost every day now, so when this mood comes over me it would seem the logical thing is to ride even more? You would think. When you get a headache, you medicate – but when that doesn’t work, you wouldn’t dare over-medicate.

Yesterday, after logging about 200 miles on a particulary beautiful fall day, I still couldn’t get the fog in my head to clear. I found my thoughts bouncing around to so many different things that it was hard to find any clarity, which is very unusual for me. I don’t over analyze, but when I need to sort some things out, it doesn’t take me very long. This time appears different and without any explanation as to why, I can only say a longer ride didn’t help. Did I just say that? Maybe it’s not the miles ridden, but the attitude in which they are ridden. Either way, I won’t complain about the ride, just the results.

This mood will pass just as the countless miles roll beneath the wheels of my bike. At some random mile marker the knot in my head will miraculously become undone and all will be right for the time being. In the meantime the fog remains and my thoughts aren’t as clear as I would like them – time is all it takes. Anyone got an aspirin?

Common Denominator

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It started for me before 1974. An exposure to motorcycles through magazines, I allowed myself to be consumed by an ongoing urge to ride on two wheels. In my early days, it was about horsing around, pulling wheelies and power-slides, climbing hills and getting air-born while honing my skills and learning that hitting the deck can hurt – not enough to keep me off my motorcycles, just enough to teach me a lesson. As time moved on the competition side of me took over and I raced a little motocross only to realize I was just on the verge of being average at it before I broke my leg on the third lap of leading my moto in 1987. A fast, sweeping corner with a nice berm, I tried cutting inside, got cross-rutted and went down. Did it end my enthusiasm? No, it just changed my focus from dirt to street. It was an easy transition, and going places on a bike felt pretty good. Still in the early days, I was riding for the fun of it. Nothing to deep, just getting on and going places just for the sake of going. No rhyme or reason, or a plan in place, just riding to ride.

I can’t remember any time since the early 70’s that motorcycles weren’t a big part of my daily routine. Reading about them, riding when I could or just talking about bikes with others when we weren’t riding. Growing up with friends that ride helps considerably and learning to work on them was a plus as well. But still, at that age it was impossible to understand exactly what kind of effect this would have on me through the years. As constant as the ringing in my ears, the thoughts of motorcycles and everything that surrounds them, I’ve carried with me.

A lot has changed over the years with technology, style, performance and price – but the one common denominator through it all has been how the motorcycle influences me. The people involved within the industry – whether professional racers, moto-journalists, photographers, builders or enthusiasts all have an impact on our perception of this sport, but it’s the motorcycle that pulls it all together and brings it all to life. I ride motorcycles for transportation, recreation and meditation. It isn’t a hobby – it’s a passion, and with passion comes inspiration. That feeling I had the first time I let the clutch out, when motion turned into emotion, was truly a memorable moment. Although the reason I ride has evolved into a more complex explanation, it can always be broken down into passion.

No matter what you ride, remember why you ride. As I get older it has become apparent this is my fountain of youth, because when you’re young you don’t think in those terms. Riding motorcycles allows me to never lose that feeling of letting the clutch out for the first time and it’s also a vehicle from which to reflect on all of the miles and memories I’ve experienced over the years. We all have something we’re passionate about and mine just happens to be motorcycles. I wouldn’t change it for the world and I would do it all over again given the chance. Well, maybe I would change one thing; I would probably have taken a different line in that corner back in 1987.