I was just replying to a note from a friend and somehow, when she described her understanding/ enlightenment after we took a ride last weekend, she made me realize that most people have no idea how it feels. I’ve had motorcycles since I was around 10. I guess I just naturally thought everyone knew what it’s like out there. Maybe this will help.

It has often been said that only a biker knows why dogs so happily stick their heads out of car windows. I wish everyone could know that feeling. Sure, people think bikes are cool, but showing off for the people we pass is not the driving force (in fact, we hardly notice them). It’s something else. Somewhere between a narcotic and a meditative trance. Almost Zen. Mile by mile, you can actually feel your stress melt away, your mind and soul become more fluid. It erases daily cares and concerns and allows a connection to the world. Not the people we pass on the sidewalk or in cars, but to the world itself.

This is magnified, of course, by riding through mountains, deserts, forests and along great oceans, but even in the city there is a connection felt. You really get to KNOW the place, the sights, the sounds, the smells, even subtle changes in temperature and humidity…. and you are living in one moment at a time. The future and past don’t exist. There is but the road ahead and the road behind and neither is significant. Only what surrounds you immediately matters. What you can see, feel, hear and smell at that given moment. Only THAT is real. Everything else is just one of man possibilities.

Sure, there is danger. It serves a wonderful purpose, though. Like a strobelight upn our existence, danger has the unique ability to cause us to LIVE. RIGHT. NOW. To experience each moment as though it were our last. The threat (however real) of imminent death, by it’s very nature, force-feeds you life. An incredible thing, really, when you consider that the rest of your existence (and our society) calls upon you to spend much of your life planning for a future that may never even occur. People spend their entire lives planning to live, rather than living. It is the tragic human condition. Plan and conserve for tomorrow so that you can plan and conserve for the next day… day after day until you are dead. That’s not living. Hell, that’s barely existing.

So there you have it. Riding lies somewhere between an attitude adjustment and an addiction. You can always tell a biker when he’s riding in a “cage”(car), with his sorrowful, longing look and his nose pressed up against the window, begging to be set free. He wants that feeling back. The same feeling that causes countless people like myself to ride those endless concrete rivers across continents, then turn around and do it again. That feeling never goes away and I, for one, am glad. This is one habit that I would never want to kick.

Hopefully you’ll be able to do some riding soon.