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Why Do You Ride?

Blog Date - 05 April 2018

I am currently reading The Ancient Alien Question. This made me ponder if a question you lot may be asking yourselves is...has Sharon been abducted by Aliens?  No, I have been abducted instead by life and its trials and tribulations.  

As some of you may be aware my eldest daughter has been poorly for some time. Unfortunately things have been going from bad to worse over the last few months. 
Time in-between work is spent sat in hospitals, doing research, chasing tests and badgering health professionals to reply to questions asked. No question can be asked just once, if you want an answer it has to be repeated ad nauseam. I have sadly had to learn to be somewhat aggressive and demanding if I have any hopes of being heard. 
Finally the powers that be are beginning to listen but only when my daughter's condition has become somewhat desperate and she is very very poorly indeed.

Thus free time is fleeting. If it comes I spend it on my bike to regain some sanity and equilibrium. Little time exists however for writing here on my blog.
I do not believe I have to say sorry, I am sure you will all understand. I just wanted to make it clear I have not lost interest in my bikes and neither am I zooming around in alien spacecraft. This of course would be classified and therefore I couldn't write about it so that would make for a very boring blog.

No the truth is far more duller than fiction and often more harrowing.
However today I am writing not to bestow my misery on to you all but to explain my absence and also to pose the question...WHY DO YOU RIDE?

For me the bike has always been equated with a feeling of freedom. I adore the fact that it gives me the ability to travel within nature as a participant rather than an observer.

A montage of fabulous motorcycle adventure images from Sharon
To be part of all this makes me want to run to the top of a hill and sing out..the hills are alive with the sound of baarrpppphh!

Recently my bike has kept me sane and has helped in keeping the threat of the black dog away. My motorbikes generally go faster than that beast can run so I can leave depression sulking in my rear view mirror.  
The time on my bike requires my full attention, I have to give full focus to my riding. Therefore for those hours riding my mind actually receives some respite from all my worries and cares. It gives me the me time to replenish my own depleted resources so I can then do battle once again with life and it's exhausting and never ending brick walls I have to scale at the moment. 

Sharon is turning around on a narrow farm track on the bike
Negotiating a turn around after a unexpected dead end takes concentration and little room for other worries to come aboard as pillion. 

My bikes bring me moments of peace, they give me a rush of excitement and they almost never ever fail to cause me to smile.

Sharon in her helmet and bike gear on a very very wet day giving a thumbs up and smiling
Rain or shine my bikes put a grin on my face.

I honestly do believe that my bikes are my crutch. Without them I wonder what I mess I would be right now. They force me to be me while I am on them. To focus on myself and the ride. Everything else just becomes a blur for those few precious hours.
So my bikes do not take me away from the task at hand, rather they give me the power to continue the fight. They feed my soul and put the fuel of life back into my veins.

Sharon is sat on her Kawasaki Z250SL smiling and happy
I give myself me time so I can then give time to others.

My daughter is aware of all I try to do to help and she reminds me to not to forget to take care of myself in the process. That self-care is riding my bikes. My bikes are my therapy and my freedom just to be.

As Ren and I are lucky enough to share a passion for bikes we get to spend most of our time together sharing something we both love.

Sharon, Ren holding hands sat on their bikes at the Scorton Steam Fair
Couples that ride together stay together. Well unfortunately for Ren this is true as I am always following him everywhere.  He will not escape meeeee.

It is a powerful tool to have at my disposal and I will always be grateful I have the privilege of being a biker. 

Sharon beaming with a big smile after passing her CBT
The day I got my CBT opened up a whole new world to me and so began a love affair with motorcycles.

So that's me and what riding currently means to me. I accept as circumstances change so may my reasons for riding. I would like you all to take a little time and reflect why you ride, what does your bike mean to you? Maybe it is the thrills that speed can provide, maybe the social aspects of being a biker are important to you? 

Sharon, Ren and some other biker all posing for the camera on a Highland road
About 15 bikers all posing for the camera in the sun and looking very happyBiking can provide opportunities to meet some new people whom can become great friends 

Whatever the reason I would love it if you could share those reasons here. I am curious to see if a common thread weaves through most bikers or are those reasons as individual as zebra stripes? Have the reasons changed over the years or remained constant?  Has your love affair with bikes waxed and waned or has the fire always burned bright?  Do some bikes make you love riding and others loathe it? Tell me, tell me please, I so want to know, why do you ride? 

If you'd like to share your motorcycling story here on Bikes And Travels then contact ren@techsolus.co.uk

Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
29 years ago I bought my first bike, a Suzuki GP100, on the day of my 18th birthday with £200 my gran had left me. I bought the bike because I needed transport, plain and simple it was the cheapest way to get about.
That utilitarian phase lasted until the end of the first street I rode down, I knew immediately that this was more than just transport and here I am, still at it.
Motorcycling has saved my life on more than one occasion, we all have ups and downs, I'm fortunate not to have experienced anything like your current ongoing worry with your daughter (I hope they can fix her up) but I've had my share and there are times when only a good ride out can lift the mood.
A few years ago I discoverd meditation and went on residential courses at buddhist retreat centres - throught that I realised that motorcycling is a meditative process. The single pointed concentration which is the aim of meditation is what we have when riding our motorcycles.
Many don't realise why they like to ride, but that is the reason.
Currently my favourite thing is pack my flask with herbal tea, finish work on Friday lunchtime (lucky me) and ride up into the hills - find a spot in the sun, park up and sup my brew whilst taking in the view. I would not do this in a car.
06/04/2018 09:29:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Regular readers will know I had a big accident back in 2002. I went through quite a bit physically and emotionally. After 8 months I had recovered to the point where I felt fit enough to get back on a bike.

I couldn't bend my left knee much. I was still a little weak too. I spotted a CMX250 Rebel and with it's lowrider cruiser feet forward style I could get on it. I had it delivered to my house on a bright and crisp February morning.

I was terrified. I could end up going through the hell I'm just starting to come out of. I might not be able to ride. I might hate it. What the hell have I done? I'm a bloody idiot. I set out nervously and wobbled for a mile or so.

Then "click". The circle completed and everything just fell right back into place. I remembered why I do this and what it means to me.
06/04/2018 09:38:13 UTC
Borsuk said :-
When I was around my twenties I used to use my brothers C90 to toddle about when the operchancity presented itself. A few years later I went to buy a 200cc for going about on my own as it was a lot cheaper than using my car for everything, but as Fumbletrumpet mentioned this was around when they dropped the maximum size you could ride on L plates. I always intended to get my full license someday but was always too busy when I was single and my first wife was totally anti bike and anti guns so bang went the license and my shooting hobby. It was more to have the license than anything else. I would have done my HGV and PSV just for the hell of it but like my marine licenses you have to do so many hours a year to keep them so they never got done.
Years later I mentioned to my new girlfriend (now my wife) that I intended to do my license someday. She mentioned this to her number 3 son who fancied getting his license so he booked both of us a CBT.
I must admit the night before I was bricking myself, I hadn't been on a bike in over 30 years and was going to start learning again in my mid fifties. So we did the CBT and once we got on the open road outside the town I remembered what I enjoyed about riding, and my face was aching from the stupid grin on my face all through the road section.
For years I had lost the enjoyment when driving a car that I had as a teenager but it all came back when I was on the bike. I try to ride as much as I can when I have the chance, even if it is piddling down and I am only trundling around the countryside near Huddersfield, I still come back with a big grin on my face. I'm mostly on my own as the boy is at uni during the week but weekends we ride together when we can. But I am as happy on my own as then it's just you the bike and the road. You get that merging of all 3 that you don't get in a car anymore, at legal speeds anyway. You can hit a nice twisty country road and just flow with it. My riding is all leisure riding, I do ride all year round but because I want to, not have to. Commuting to work on the bike is not a possibility so even if I am in a down pour and soaked to skin it's because I wanted to be there. Which may show a side to my sanity that I don't want to probe too deeply.
I don't equate meditation with biking, I find there is too much to concentrate on to be meditative. If I was on a closed road with only my own actions to think about it might be more like that. My wife does meditation but my head is too full of wee motors as they say up my neck of the woods. Target shooting for me is probably the nearest I will come to meditation, the point when your entire focus is on the perfect moment to stroke the trigger. When wind,range, body position, gun position and all the other little factors that are in play come together in your subconscious and you take the shot.

My only regret about biking is not getting around to it sooner and not telling my ex to take a hike with her arbitrary bans. Funny thing, she is now a biker bitch and rides pillion on her new husbands bike. Apologies for the B word to you lady bikers but honestly it's the only appropriate phrase I can think of that applies.

06/04/2018 15:54:12 UTC
Gary said :-
I would rather have a throttle in front of me,
Than a frontal lobotomy.

Only room for one in a helmet, No spare room for thoughts, distractions, anger or frustration. Just road and wrist.
06/04/2018 19:51:56 UTC
Ross said :-
I've got very similar reasons for riding to you, Sharon. Primarily the sense of freedom riding gives me and the fact I have to focus on riding well doesn't leave any space in my brain to dwell on the 'crap' that goes on in life...I come back from a ride feeling refreshed, calmer, and with a clear head. Also I think I get a bit of a 'kick' out of the slightly rebellious nature of biking and the danger element of it too...I can kid myself I'm not the same and as boring as the rest of the herd!

Several years ago an illness prevented me from riding for the best part of 3 years and at times I was more depressed and upset at not being able to ride a bike than I was about being ill...which confused family and friends who don't ride! I hope things work out for your daughter but make sure you look after yourself because you wont be any help to her if you run yourself in to the ground (but it sounds as if your daughter knows the score)!
07/04/2018 09:27:21 UTC
Rod said :-
Hi Sharon,
I am sorry to hear that your daughter is very poorly. Although I do not know you, I feel that I do from the travel stories that I have read on the site, and my thoughts are with you.
I ride because I still love it!
I have been trying to give a response to ren's post (Why cant I ride long distances) but if I have the right bike and the money for petrol I can ride all day. I will often go out for a ride to no given destination and clock up 400 miles by the time I return.
08/04/2018 19:34:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You must have one of them there "Iron Butt"s Rod.
09/04/2018 09:23:31 UTC
Sharon said :-
Thanks for all your replies and well wishes for me daughter and myself.
I really enjoyed reading the reasons why you all ride.
I guess it seems that for most of us riding is our therapy. Our freedom, our peace and the all important me time.
The feel good factor it gives us is amazing. Would it not be great if we were able to get motorbike therapy on the NHS. Prescribed motorbike ride days off work.
But even though we don't have the above we all have our bikes to give us that feel good factor and I am sure like me we are all so grateful for our 2 wheeled therapy machines. Ride on with smile miles ladies and gentleman, ride on.
09/04/2018 23:17:11 UTC
Bob said :-
It's been proven that people who are regular motorcycle riders have lower stress levels, but I can't remember where I read it.
10/04/2018 08:15:32 UTC
Dogger said :-
I started riding at 16 which was way back in 1976. Like many I stopped in my twenties when family came along. I started riding again when illness changed my life, not knowing if it was still possible but needing to get something in my life that made me forget pain. After more than twenty years a motorcycle still has the power to make me feel good. I wanted to follow your lead on a z250 as it offered all I wanted, except the saddle, can't lift my leg so I ended up with a little Suzuki Van Van 200. Fabulous little bike and it allows me,as others have said to be in my own zone, the best stress release ever. Riding again has been like seeing through younger eyes which helps everything. You and Ren played a part in me returning to biking as your love of our shared passion comes through clearly in your posts. So for the freedom I now enjoy I attribute your enthusiasm as part of the motivation for me to actually act on something I had thought about for years.
10/04/2018 20:56:05 UTC
ian said :-
the reasons given seem to be to do with therapy, fun and freedom and i am left thinking that it amounts to escapism in a good way because it helps people relax. but what about those people who don't ride, i guess they have to find other ways to deal with life's unpleasanter aspects. i think i have a kind of childish love of machinery and seek to try and recapture the euphorbia of teenage yrs - then i think that it shows an immature side of me and i feel slightly ashamed being a biker at my age especially when i get negative vibes off neighbours and others. i'm trying to write something on this subject in the hope that it will throw some light on the nature of bikers because i've met some weird and wonderful people through motorcycling but can't quite put my fingure on what kind of people are attracted into the biking world. i hope your daughter gets better.
28/02/2021 00:09:18 UTC
ian said :-
euphoria i mean
28/02/2021 00:42:28 UTC

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