Two wheels move the soul

April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Adam and I took the TL for a flog today.  It’s been ages since I was on the back of his bike, and I frigging miss having my own.  Sometimes when the air and the sun is just right, it feels like you can just ride, ride, ride until you run out of fuel or daylight or asphalt.

Riding a motorbike is so unique and so addictive.  Before I had ever ridden, Adam once tried to explain what it was like being on a bike and it sounded romantic but didn’t mean too much to me.  Once you ride your own bike though, you never go back – at least I can’t.

I remember writing about the first time I ever rode my own bike and how it felt – the flow of energy and motion, being perfectly in tune with this machine underneath you, moving together as one.  You have to focus 110% when you ride; there’s no daydreaming or sightseeing.  You can’t afford to take your eyes off the road for a second, and every time you take your bike out you know it could be the last time you ever ride it because today might be the day you die.  Today might be the day when you slide out on a gravel patch on the road.  Today might be the day when you lean a little too far while you’re going a little too fast.  Today might be the day when someone changes lanes without checking their blind spot.  There’s no shell of protection with a motorbike; no metal and glass to shield your impact with the road at 120kph.  You’re riding a bike, and then suddenly you’re dead.

With total concentration on this 200kg beast between your legs, everything else just falls away.  You take in everything – the pockets of warm and cool air as you rise and fall through peaks and troughs; the feel of the asphalt underneath you (sometimes sticky and warm, sometimes hard and sharp); the speed and proximity of every other road user (cyclist, motorist, fellow rider); the pressure of the wind against you as it buffers your body and your bike.

The subtlety of your movements are exaggerated at speed.  No one can tell you exactly where or how to lean or turn.  Only you can sense the distribution of weight to balance yourself and the bike against the speed you are moving.  The slightest shift of your hips can throw the bike into a corner and slingshot you out the other side, but leaning too far or too hard while you’re going too fast or too slow – well, today might be the day you die.

Every undiscovered bend presents a challenge as your eyes search the road ahead looking for signs of how steep and how long this one is.  You gear down as you go in blind at 50kph; your eyes constantly scanning ahead to take in the next few metres that appear as you fall further and further into the curves of the bend.  When the road finally straightens out before you, you roll the throttle on and 125 ponies roar as they effortlessly pull you away.  As the dense side bush thins and then suddenly opens into a wide valley, you float to 150kph without thinking twice and without looking back. Every part of you is alive and it’s magic.

Four wheels move the body.  Two wheels move the soul.

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