I went to see the Rally Turkey 2020 part of the World Rally Championship and I really enjoyed two days of speed, skills and dust. The sporting event was truly enjoyable with the exception of the primitive and authoritarian attitude of untrained security people. But the show was worth the effort to reach good viewing positions; the special sections were demanding for the pilots and entertaining for the spectators.
During a break, I shared a table with the son of a friend Eray, around 15 years of age and wiser than many adults around.
We were discussing the risks that pilots take at Rally and in motoring competitions, comparing them with risks taken in other sports (yes, we talked climbing) or dangerous activities (yes we talked soldiers).
And naturally, the conversation covered motorcycling and especially road riding; the question “why?” was hovering around, this time involving the larger group of table companions.
“Why they do it and why we do it?” produced a good set of answers.
From the immediate and flat one “To have fun”, to the spiritual one “To discover yourself and your limits”, to the cultural one “ To learn how to and to see more”, all answer that, I am sure, are in our minds and in our conversations.
But then ERAY came out with a reason that struck my mind and pushed me to write this piece: “People do risky or dangerous things to build a good story, to have something to tell, to share with friends or peers”
“Building a good story” is a reason for the risk of riding that I never consciously considered but it is one that, once expressed, resonates really well in my experience.
Building a story for yourself and for your friends is a very interesting activity, an attractive one and a good motive to take considerate risks.
If I look at the history of riders groups that I shared or that I contributed to building, the successful ones, the attractive ones, were the groups that built good stories for the participants.
The ones with a program designed to push the riders slightly above the limits in order to build a legendary ride, and an interesting one, one that was at the centre of a good story to tell.
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919 –2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Talking bout the “why” Sir Hilary said “I’ve always hated the danger part of climbing, and it’s great to come down again because it’s safe … But there is something about building up a comradeship — that I still believe is the greatest of all feats — and sharing in the dangers with your company of peers. It’s the intense effort, the giving of everything you’ve got. It’s really a very pleasant sensation”.
“Sharing the dangers” is building the good story and this quote adds a new dimension to the concept.
My young and new friend had this in mind when he went on adding “sharing” after the “building” of a good story, “to have something to tell, to share with friends”.
Probably this is why for a large group of bikers the best part of a good ride are the stops, when the risk is gone, when the survival feeling takes over and when the riders share the good stories of dangers faced and won.
In this time of compulsive sharing, when people tweet or post about the discovery of a new hat or a new lipstick, having a good story can make the difference and it may justify dialogue: a good and meditated story, one that it is not only lived but also “thought about” with the desire to find good elements useful for the audience. Worth to share?