by Hakan Erman
“I don’t want to talk about training, I do not want to know what to wear, I do not want to read manuals or to follow rules, systems, advises. I want to ride, I want to have fun and I want it now”
Ignorance is bliss and one can always choose to close eyes to often-unpleasant reality: fact is that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be involved in serious accidents than car drivers. Statistical fact at European level must be always taken with a pinch of salt and a tequila glass but 27 times, for the same distance travelled, is difficult to twist and/or ignore.
Biking (both bicycling and motorcycling) is dangerous but so are all the things your mother tried to keep you away from. And for pleasure we are ready to ignore often-unpleasant reality and evident facts: we resist change of opinion and behaviour when it touches our sweet spot. More arguments and reasons are presented, thicker our shield to change becomes.
We may be riding motorcycles, flying planes and searching for extra-terrestrial presence, but we still have a good portion of cave-mentality. Instincts are more powerful than reasoning, we need to take side, to stick to our tribe’s values, no matter what they are. Otherwise we will be abandoned and slaughtered out in the woods.
“Instant” is the sign of a new, modern mind; instant coffee, instant message and instant fun: bike as the machine of “fun-now”. We’d rather keep the concepts of danger and fun at two distant mind locations.
Or maybe, we and many riders confuse fear for fun. After a daring-and -scaring riding experience relief comes a in the form of bonding: at a gas stop with a cup of coffee or at the hotel with a glass of beer: that relief can be very stimulating, easy to be confused with having fun.
On a motorcycle, the desired sensations are better described as feeling alive, being in touch with the environment, using all senses and keeping mind satisfyingly occupied with planning and controlling the motion. “Mind and Body in syncronic motion”. These sensations and risk taking are close to each other on our adventurer, risk manager, stone-age mind… surviving may be perceived as “fun”.
But (and after a fun-promoting statement there’s always a “but”) the more we ignore risks, the more often we plunge into risky situations.. few accidents… few bruises and hopefully the wise decision that riding is not so pleasant, not for me.
How many time we have to listen to banal refrain: “ I was biking, I had an accident, I decided it was not for me”?
Understandable , but, before getting to that conclusion the hard way, maybe it would be better to read the owner manual, follow instructions, activate humility, acquire knowledge, understanding how to ride competently. In a way… having fun within the reality.