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Riding emotions

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Riding emotions

PostAuthor: faffi » Tue May 15, 2018 3:05 am

I think the majority of riders have experienced just about every emotion under the sun while riding motorcycles. From the embarrassment of the first, usually failed attempt of taking off to the extreme joy when mastering a difficult task to perfection and everything in between.

I remember the frustration of not being able to get my peaky 100cc two-stroke going when trying to take off up an incline for my first ride. I just kept stalling it. Then, against the sound advice from my dad, I decided to take off inside the garage instead, where the ground was level. But that also meant navigating a 90-degree turn 5 yards out. I succeeded in taking off. I failed making the turn. And ended up buried inside our neighbour's hedge. Yes, that was embarrassing.

When I finally did make it to the road, I recall the scare of doing 25 mph almost instantly. Not sure why it felt so fast - I had gone much faster on my bicycle - but I was petrified. For about 2 minutes. Then the speed became normal.

Then there was the horror when I spent too much time watching my own silly reflection in a shop window and the traffic ahead had stopped. Luckily, the little drum brake nesting inside the front wheel was a good one and actually stopped the bike so fast, I went flying over the handlebars, helmet almost touching the fender, but somehow I managed to cling onto the handlebars. My horror had by now escalated to panic, but somehow I managed to stop inches away from the bumper ahead and also stayed upright. Surprisingly, I didn't learn a lesson and would repeat a few more times before it finally sunk in that looking ahead wasn't that silly after all.

A bit later, I began deliberately delaying brake application until the very last moment. I would maintain the bike's top speed of 50 mph (or less, if conditions dictated) until fear told me that I had to stop. As I got better, nothing less than maximum braking with a margin of no more than a yard between the stopped car in front and my front wheel was tolerated. Within a reasonably short time, I became very good at braking and judging distances. That gave a massive satisfaction of control.

When I upstaged to a bigger bike, my speed also went up. Considerably. I began hitting 115 mph, the bike's top speed, regularly. In populated areas. Somebody should have stopped me and locked me up. It ended with a heavy crash that saw me go from bewilderment to panic to hope to frustration to denial to taking farewell with this life within a second or two. Massive carnage resulted, with a smashed up body and a destroyed bike. I didn't learn from that, either.

The first time I went 125 mph I relived the scare from a decade earlier when I first hit 25 mph. And like that time, after a few attempts it felt rather slow. I somehow escaped ending up in an accident for 2000 miles before I - reluctantly - decided the bike had to go before someone got badly hurt.

I have never been an adrenaline junkie, though - my craving was for the (imagined) control. Simply put, being on the verge of disaster in full (imagined) control was such a good sensation that it for three decades was worth all the risk and all the accidents and all the (often severe) injuries. I managed to stay alive, I believe, by riding fairly slow bikes with not so stellar handling. Like an alcoholic keeping it somewhat together by drinking mostly light beer.

Lately, though, I have felt a new - for me - sensation; that of serenity. Tranquility. Satisfaction. Gratitude. I cannot quite put a word to it, but I think most of you will get my drift. And the really fun part is that my son feels the same way. We do not need to hurry anymore - why the rush? So what if the traffic is moving a bit slower than the speed limit? We'll just sit here and enjoy the moment. No stress. No frustration. Well, mostly. Sometimes things move just a bit too slow and we need to move ahead. But not often.

I like it.
Last edited by Jake on Tue May 15, 2018 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Park Bench
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