Perfection is the impossible goal that we strive to achieve, but merely getting anywhere near it, is possibly the greatest achievement of our lives. The level, of course, is purely subjective and the arenas are as bountiful as the hues of the colour spectrum but the result is the same. That sense of wonder, passion and fulfilment.
Riding motorcycles enables me to climb that perfection ladder everyday. However, each and everyday it is a different ladder. I can climb or descend, aspire or recoil but the point of the ride is to be on that ladder in the first place. Perfection is not necessarily tangible either. It does not have to be measured against anyone else’s yard stick nor does it have to be rooted for all eternity either.
Whenever I’m out riding, I am searching for something…a feeling, an empowerment and an overwhelming sense of happiness too. I find it in very different places, at different times of the year, in all kinds of weather conditions. It can be simplicity or convoluted but it is seldom hard to find…if you’re looking hard enough.
I find that I am at peace when I am out riding in the quiet backroads or the tucked away dirt trails. I can stop my bike at any point, get off and take a 360 degree view of where I am. Fully immersing myself in my environment and being amazed by what I see, that is merely a hop away from my doorstep.
I suppose I rejoice in the simple pleasure of life. I welcome far flung adventures but I am just as comfortable riding in my own back yard too. Of course there are many other perfect days too…with my family or going to watch football with my son…but when I am alone, then it is the open back roads and the deserted tracks and trails that I seek out the most.
There is no handbook to tell you how to achieve your perfect day. You just know you’re having one when you’re in the moment or reflecting on what you’ve done. It can be fleeting or last for hours…but it’s there even when you least expect it.
However, today is not such a perfect day! I have been forced into the car for the second day running and have spent most of the day in the office working on some others projects with little success. My mind has begun to wander and could not help thinking of many of my recent rides and all of the great places I seen recently.
It still amazes me that I can have a break from riding for merely a day or two and I get the jitters quite quickly. Perhaps it is an addiction of sorts or merely that yearning to find perfection that make me want to get on the bike again.
I remember having a conversation with a lady a few years ago about riding, both on the roads and on dirt trails. She had only been riding for a couple of years and had learned that a friend of hers had recently gone out riding on some trails and had thoroughly enjoyed it. She wanted to do the same but was nervous about the prospect of doing so and she wasn’t sure she wanted to do it alone.
That was perfectly understandable of course. Going off road can be intimidating for anyone who has never done it before, so I gave her a few pointers and suggested that she try to tag along with her friend the next time he ventured out dirt riding. The conversation then moved onto biking preferences and the social aspect of riding.
We discussed biker meeting places; pubs, cafes etc. Motorcycle groups, clubs and organised events and ride outs…even rallies, but I eventually asked her what she wanted from riding a motorcycle? Was it to immerse herself into a particular biking scene…which is perfectly fine of course, become part of a club or just want to experience as much as possible on her bike?
I suppose we are all motivated by different things and the motorcycle world is no different. She eventually asked about my preferences and I simply explained that whilst all of the social biking aspects were great, it wasn’t why I first got into riding, nor did it have anything to do why I continued riding either. I just love to ride, any bike, anywhere and anytime. I want to get on the bike and go. The motorcycle and me…and that is all I need!
So that might sound a bit trite but it is actually the truth too. Motorcycling has never been about belonging to a motorcycle community for me. It is about the relationship I have with my ride, the places I ride to and the experiences I have whilst doing so. Anything else is merely a bonus.
This being my mantra, I find it easier to find enjoyment in my riding everyday because I am not searching for the impossible dream or for something that relies on external forces or people to entertain me. Every time I ride it is almost the perfect day…for the most part, even when I’m cold, wet and miserable…there is something pure about it too. I strive to find new places to ride everyday, I love to explore and get off the beaten track. Much of this I do alone, not out of preference but merely because my free time is when most other people are working and that’s just how my life has turned out. Although alone…I am never lonely and I’m always having a perfect day on the bike.