“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass: It’s about learning to ride in the rain” Anonymous
I haven’t been quiet at all about my riding life and what it means to me. Each and every day that I put in the riding miles, something in me changes; a spark is lit and my fire brightened; my smile is broadened and my life feels more and more enlightened (did I just rhyme??)
God knew when he weaved me in my beautiful mother’s womb that this “biking” life would be one of the things that would keep my sanity on check and that is exactly what it has done. Every single day I sit on that two-wheeler and ride away somewhere – even to the corner store to pick bread and milk – a lesson or two come flying my way. These learnings are not just about motorcycles but about life generally. I haven’t been to many places – YET; however, here is where am at with these musings:
“I don’t really feel like going for a ride today – said no motorcycle ride ever” Anonymous
Keep an Open Mind: If there is any muscle that has been flexed from the first day I hopped onto a two-wheeler; it’s my brain or my mind. There is no room for being one-track minded or being stuck in certain ways. I remember once trying to ride as though I was seated in my car – driving. I wanted to ride as if I was in a car – driving but alas – my coach that day wanted to slap me into sense. I was stubborn and unhinged and then I almost got into trouble one fateful day (I will spare you the gory details). After that day, I learnt better to always keep an open mind especially when I step into new spaces and unchartered territories in my life. Learning happens every single day and requires being open-minded.
“We ride not to escape LIFE, but for LIFE not to escape us” Anonymous
Being afraid is sometimes a good thing: So, guys, here is the thing. My bike is a whole 200kg, begs for speed and can really really really go fast. Imagine having to take consideration of that and yet still be able to push it around all sorts of situations, look out for any obstacles and stay safe. Listen – each time I am going on a ride, my stomach ties up into knots, I break into cold sweats, I fail to eat and sometimes breathe at the rate of a thirsty pooch. I get so afraid such that there are days I have actually considered selling off the bike.
One wise friend of mine (a biker too) encouraged me when he told me that even seasoned riders feel those things. Somehow, it’s your body getting ready to go out there. It’s your brain getting prepared and heightening of all senses so that you are “aware” of everything around you as you ride. There’s even a joke that your senses are so heightened that you can see an ant cross right in front of you.
Being afraid around tasks, accomplishments, and relationships has a way of heightening your abilities to find solutions and ways of dealing, managing and overcoming. Every time I feel afraid, I close my eyes – breathe, say a prayer of courage and strength and then jump into whatever I have to. At the end of it, I find I have overcome over and beyond my expectations.
“It’s your road, others can ride it with you BUT no-one can ride it for you” Anonymous
It’s great and ok to take risks: Good Lord – being on a motorcycle is actually a lot riskier than being inside of a car. Like they say, you are literally the body and if anything happens, the impact is on you! Oh well, why then do we keep riding and yet we know that our bodies are the bonnet, the car roof etc. It’s the thrill and the fun and the satisfaction that comes at the end of every ride. I doubt I can put it out there in English or Runyankole for emphasis – but it’s an amazing feeling.
With the knowledge that it’s a risky venture – we still take risks and hence I can carry this to life generally. It’s ok and great to go out there and take those risks – start that business, plant that crop, ask that girl out even when you have the biggest fear of rejection; atleast you will be glad you did and incase it doesn’t turn out as you had hoped, you will carry with you great big lessons and no regrets. If it works out – the joy that comes with the end result is (like I mentioned) – indescribable.
“Never twist the throttle with your ego” Anonymous
Bikers are good – everyday people!: There is a whole notion and sense that people that ride bikes all exhibit a roguish, rough-tough, reckless unbearable character and demeanour. Believe me – many years back; I kind of held the same ideology even when I still knew there was a ‘biker’ dwelling inside of me. The movies haven’t depicted this any better; the characters on bikes are always the assassins, the men are the bad-boy and Casanova types that don’t give a care, are super unhinged and literally live on the edge of life. It’s very easy to flow into that notion but I will tell you about the Bikers I have met in this very short time of owning a motorcycle.
Behind those dark visor helmets, behind those body suits that make riders look like fearless RENEGADES; behind the bodies that dangerously maneuver through mad traffic – leaving many wondering why such risks are taken; behind it all are the most kind, most giving, most caring people you would ever meet. I have met men and women of different ages, undertaking different professions in life, with great ambitions – that Mother Theresa would be proud!
“Do not judge a book by it’s cover” is all I can say with these people. So much such that on various rides we take out of town, comradeship is what makes the entire experience worthwhile. The togetherness is impeccable both on the road and off the road. If you met a biker on a day they are not riding, you might not even believe they own a humongous machine as such. They give to charity, they ride for causes ….. I have met some of the most amazing people through my bike riding.
They are everyday people. We are everyday people; I am an everyday person 😉
“No Road is too long, if you have good company” Anonymous
Practice makes perfect: There is no way around this. You want to be good at something, you practice practice practice till the ”ice” in “practice” melts. I have to put in the work if I am going to be a great rider. As it is now – I cannot ride alone (still need some kind of hand holding) but each time I come from a ride, I will have noticed the areas that need to improve. The onus is on me to continue to ride and improve. I have dropped the bike several times because there are aspects I am still raw at; there is a spot near my house that teases me so big but I have to keep riding over the challenge over and over and soon – it will be a smooth walk (ride)-over. Practice practice practice will make it all perfect.
“It not about WHAT you ride, its about HOW you ride” Anonymous
This applies to life generally. I can imagine the practice hours Serena Williams or Hussein Bolt or Andrea Bocelli or Kiprotich put in to become the champions they are. They say, you have to do something over 21 times to be great at it. My motorcycle has and is teaching this to me more than anything.
In all of this – I never forget to STOP and enjoy the ride. Motorcycle riding is not just about getting to where I am going, it’s also about enjoying the journey and everything I see and encounter along the way. It’s one huge classroom on two wheels.