Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guests of the Universe

Irondad posted recently about the way minimal storage space requires touring bikers to leave a bit more up to chance.

Luckily for us the universe is generally a good host to bikers. Sometimes we get a challenge or two to test our mettle. Everyone knows motorcycles don't break down or get flat tires in good weather or hospitable areas. These experiences will show us our true character, if we're willing to look. Do you have a temper tantrum, or figure out what to do with (relative) good cheer?

Things work out. I've had some bad experiences (who hasn't?), but they always turn around. Maybe I'm unusually lucky - it's not just my nickname, after all.

People seem more willing to help a travelling biker in need than someone making the same journey in a car. These same people are also more likely to just stop by and say hello at a gas station. I think maybe having contact with us lets them experience a bit of our adventure. We're wired to seek out authenticity, and anything more than a hundred miles on a motorcycle is guaranteed to be a genuine experience. On the road, at a gas station or rest stop, there's no reason for us riders to be anything but ourselves - we don't have much to lose.

Anyway, the dreadful things non-riders are afraid of - needing something they didn't bring, being stranded, breaking down - turn out to be part of the adventure at worst. More often, it's a non-issue. For a rider, these aren't things to worry about. We prepare as best we can, and rely on the universe to take care of us.

It works out pretty well.


Chris said...

Words of truth. Just filling up the scooter with gas has guaranteed a conversation with someone...every single time. The whole notion of vicarious adventure really does apply, and my bike hasn't had its first real adventure yet, just a commuter horse.

Anonymous said...

I find that most people these days are spoiled rotten...if they don't have air conditioning, lumbar support, a constant supply of food & beverage, continuous electronic stimulation, and a bathroom available at every whim then they are absolutely miserable. Simply riding a motorcycle is "roughing it" in the most extreme way. We riders are lucky enough to be able to get over ourselves and enjoy the simple things in life without worrying so much about all that stuff that is just not really that important.

Anonymous said...

I agree with mrs rc. Can you imagine a motorcyclist holding a cell phone while trying to make a right turn? Motorcyclists seem to represent the primitive experience of the journey. Cars used to be this way but gadgets, radios, kids become distractions that aren't always journey friendly.

Lucky said...

Chris - Scooters are definitely conversation-starters. Just wait until you take yours out of state.

Mrs RC & Hawktane - Cars were originally intended to make travelling easier and more comfortable. In order to keep selling new cars, designers have worked to make travel even more easy, and even more comfortable, past the point of diminishing returns. Driving a modern car is not an engaging experience.

So rather than revert the cars to a more primative design, we've added video players, navigation computers and other distractions to keep us occupied.

The primal experience, I believe, is why many people lust after classic cars, sportscars and pickup trucks.

Anonymous said...

Bravo on the post, I think your comment that anything that gives you a good story afterwards was not that bad sums up the entire motorcycle travel experience. I love that every day is different, and that most of the time I dont even know what will happen. beats sitting at a desk that day, even when you re puncture the tire twice trying to fix a flat on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere Argentina. ;)

Anonymous said...

The primal experience I believe is why many people today lust after motorcycles.

Anonymous said...

some are just afraid of leave their comfort zones. i bet when they give riding a chance, they will definitely love it...I did!