I ride a motorbike, a Honda CB1300. A big thug of a bike, bigger than many cars I expect, bigger than mine I think. It’s a noisy one too. You definitely hear me coming.
I love the sound of a decently prepped engine that hasn’t been strangled by noise emissions. I’ve been to Brands Hatch and many other race circuits in the UK to watch bike racing many a time. I’m a bit of a fan of bike-based motor sport. Bit of a petrolhead.
I have no problem with the sound of a bike or bikes when I’m out in the countryside either. I don’t want to hear them continuously, but I know what its like to ride and hear a bike and often smile when one goes passed. I’m quite happy to let moto crossers go passed if they show me respect and they all do. I’m insanely jealous too, but I know my knees aren’t up to it.
Maybe this sounds a bit cross purposes for someone continually ‘banging on’ about the countryside and peace and quiet. And maybe it is, but here’s the ‘juxtaposition’, I love that word. For me they are examples of the same thing.
When I’m on my bike there’s just ‘now’. Whilst generally sticking to the speed limit, I don’t hang about. It’s all bends, braking and accelerating for me. I love that feeling of control, as fast as I believe I safely can without damaging either myself or anyone else. When you get it just right, approaching the bend at the right speed and braking at just the right time, tipping the bike in and getting on the gas at just the right time is a real rush. An adrenalin fix if you like, and when you can string a set of bends together it’s just the best feeling in the world.
But to get that right you have to be totally focussed on what you’re doing. And doing in the right now. I mean RIGHT NOW, not yesterday or tomorrow. Everything else just fades away.
Another juxtaposition, the safety that gives my mind, with a little danger is immense.
Of course, I am also connected to the world. The air is fresher, my nose and mouth are working, my eyes and ears are totally alert, they have to be. My sense of touch is acutely sensitive to the controls I am operating. Riding is such an immersive experience.
You don’t have to ride a bike, there will never be a need for one you can justify like having a car.
But then a car doesn’t help your sanity like a bike does.
I suffer with anxiety, my bike helps keep me sane.
Simon Pollard, Countryman and Modern Day Pagan