A handful of people question ‘why’,
the majority of us just ‘do and die’.
A motorcycle ride is best enjoyed alone. It’s good to have friends or even a pillion on a long ride, but solo is the way to go. Me, my bike, an open road and not a familiar face in sight. At these times are we really alone or is there someone watching over our shoulder?
My family and friends understand and appreciate my passion for motorcycle touring. But my penchant for going it alone has made them think that I am slightly dotty! I have always been a bit skewed and when push comes to shove, I push off, alone. My strange tendency is questioned frequently and here I attempt to find the answers.
Life in a city makes me claustrophobic. The comfy urban life filled with hot food, clean clothes and a soft bed gets monotonous. I need the cold wind, icy rain and the fiery sun to penetrate my life. The primitive hunter’s instinct, gives you the hunger for risk. Extreme sports like bungee jumping, paragliding etc is conducted in controlled environments that the danger to one’s life is never felt. I need the adrenalin rush, the blood pumping through my veins, to feel alive. I need my fix!
I throw a leg over the saddle, gun the engine, check my mirrors to ensure that no one’s following and leave. The body goes tense and the soul unwinds. All worries, disappointments, joys and sorrows are left behind. The urban jungle is replaced with the rawness of the back of beyond.
A group of riders automatically get branded as hoodlums and hooligans. A lone rider never faces such problems. Whenever I have ridden alone, I have always felt the warmth and kindness of complete strangers. Umpteen times when I would stop to take a break, a bystander would ask if I needed help. The beauty of the human spirit gets even more pronounced when you don’t speak the local language. In a group you always have someone to rely on, when alone you are thrown to the elements.
The downside of being alone is not having anyone to help in case of a breakdown or accident. Though the night halts are not as lonely as imagined. A conversation is struck up within moments, friends are made instantaneously. Food tastes better, sleep seems deeper and dreams are more colorful!
Even when completely devoid of humanity the presence of a greater being is felt. I look over my shoulder expecting to see this unseen friend. He is a biker, navigator and helper all rolled into one. Only when I am facing the world alone, can I feel this supernatural presence. The peace I experience with the knowledge that I will never be alone, cannot be described in words.
People in general have very fixed notions about themselves. When you ride alone, your true being, the hidden Beauty and Beast within, comes to the fore! You get stripped of all urban niceties, becoming the hunter and the hunted. No amount of meditation can be as good as a solo ride for self discovery.
In this fast paced world, most of us are so busy living life like a chore. Education, degrees, career, finances, marriage, children, the list of ‘jobs’ to get done is endless. Is this life or just a travesty? Are we missing the woods for the trees? Do we need a rain check? If it is raining, then it’s time to get the bike out of the shed and onto the highway. Don’t grow moldy in the dark, come out and experience the sunshine.
I am reminded of two very apt motorcycle advertisements. Royal Enfield’s – Leave Home and the R15s – Arrive Alone. Every biker worth his salt should at least once in his biking career experience the pleasures of a lone ride. Fear not a lone ride will not be a lonely ride.
When the going gets tough, the tough start enjoying the ride. There is not much that can be as mentally and physically challenging as a solo ride. I thought I knew why I rode alone. But I guess another solo trip to Neverland is required for me to figure out the big WHY! I sign off with a salute to all those who have been down this road before me and I welcome on board all those who are signing up after me.
Freedom from shackles
Yet holding on
Riding together and thinking alone
Ambiguous is it or nirvana