Two wheels: a mindset

Published on May 18, 2019

As a motorcyclist, I have often struggled to articulate why I ride, moreover the beauty that comes with being on a bike. 

When I read the following passage in the opening paragraphs of Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I felt as thought I had written it myself - it was so familiar. So accurate. A shared knowing. 

"You see things on a mo­tor­cy­cle in a way that is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent from any other. In a car you're always in a com­part­ment, and be­cause you're used to it you don't re­al­ise that through that car win­dow ev­ery­thing you see is just more TV. You're a pas­sive ob­serv­er and it is all mov­ing by you bor­ing­ly in a frame.

On a cy­cle the frame is gone. You're com­plete­ly in con­tact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watch­ing it any­more, and the sense of pres­ence is over­whelm­ing. That con­crete whizzing by five inch­es be­low your foot is the re­al thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't fo­cus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it any­time, and the whole thing, the whole ex­pe­ri­ence, is nev­er re­moved from im­me­di­ate con­scious­ness."

As a cyclist and motorcyclist, I seek refuge in movement on two wheels. The preferred roads are secondary roads; bitumen country roads are the best - tensions disappear on roads like this. It's best when plans are deliberately indefinite, more to travel than to arrive anywhere. 

Don't take my word for it though. Don a helmet, throw your leg over and get out there and embrace your heightened senses, and revel in the joy that comes with the nowness of it.