Riding around the word on a motorcycle is a never ending source of lessons and observations: a good way to compare the society in which we grow up with new communities and to consider as well the impact that our culture and formed character, has on our riding style.
I was born in a city where millions live, smell of spices are mixing with the smell of industry. This is a city where every single moment is an opportunity.
If you have driven in Istanbul, you should have noticed the chaotic but self maintaining harmony of the traffic. You don’t even need to drive a car to notice this, you just need to go for shopping in a local bazaar to feel that opportunistic lifestyle. Waiting means a loss of opportunity thus every single space unused is filled up with cars, people and even ideas.
That’s why some people choose eastern lifestyle to the western ones, to escape from rules and to treat their brains with endless exercises. I feel lucky that I was born in the middle of it and, at the same time, grateful to have the opportunities to travel.
I am a rider, and, previously, i was a driver and I had enough miles on the road to observe the behaviours of riders and drivers.
Riding a motorcycle pushes the normal limits of human beings in dealing with speed; on a bike one has to decide faster and this gives a feel of power and superiority towards others road users. An aura of power, of being untouchable, often surrounds motorcyclists and equally often they start to behave more on instincts than rational side of the brain. The East Riding is more a charge toward opportunities of space and time without any trust: on the east we do not trust the infrastructure, the road users (of any kind), the signs or, ultimately, the traffic rules.
On the other hand I observed in western riders the confidence in what can be expected ahead, around corners, at junctions, in overtaking. These riders tend to keep their line in the corner better than an average eastern rider, while, on the contrary, they are more vulnerable to unexpected. An organised nation, with well thought road signs and indications, with a general respect of the traffic rules, with better surface and controlled traction makes riding more relaxed and less attentive to the unforeseen.
The east demand an obsessive SIPDE, continuous scan, investigate, predict, decide and execute.
In Poland, where I live for now, I noticed that riders are better than me but often they run into corners without anticipating of any unexpected: they put all 100 Euros into the corner while my mind is still full of cats, dogs, potholes, old trucks and and mother’s warnings.
During the MC training courses that I delivered in Turkey, I was always addressing the attitude of the rider before training the skills. Here in Poland the confidence in the structure and the good level of self confidence makes learning easier: the unexpected is here as well and work has still to be done to be prepared. I’m now in a learning phase where I blend my eastern riding skills with the good structure and infrastructure of the western society. I feel that this cocktail already moves my competence furher ahead.
Changing cultures, changing locations is the best way to progress. My RTW ride was the master for learning, adapting and improving.
Going around the world on a motorcycle is the great way for discovery and growing if you keep thinking alongside…