Weed affects different people differently.
Some go quiet, some can’t stop laughing, some start doing repetitive shit, and I become extremely logical. One of my favorite movies of all time is V for Vendetta, and I’ve always enjoyed watching it irrespective of the obvious theatricality and special effects. I watched it one day when I was high, and I questioned each and every stupid thing that goes on in that film.
It wasn’t fun.
Here’s a collection of random thoughts about motorcycles that came to my mind after my eyes had gone red.
1. Why do so many people enjoy riding motorcycles?
Because in today’s world of smartwatches and smartphones and smart dildos, riding is one of those extremely rare times when you’re only doing ONE thing.
The only other time that I can think of when you’re not multi-tasking is sex, given then you’re not in an orgy. This is the reason why a lot of riders compare motorcycling to meditation. We have so many distractions nowadays, that it’s nearly impossible to focus on one task at a time.
As I’m writing this, there’s a Youtube and a Facebook tab open on my laptop, where I randomly keep going mid-sentence, liking some weird memes, watching some weird shows, and then coming back to this article without a single fucking idea what the hell I was thinking about. This is when I’m not randomly opening my phone and checking Instagram or WhatsApp.
Riding a motorcycle forces you to just a single thing, and that for me is probably the biggest reason why it’s so enjoyable. This also explains why I don’t enjoy group rides, that just puts an extra load on your brain, thinking about other people, riding with them without murdering most of them. This also explains why I don’t listen to music while riding, and don’t use a Scala/Sena or any other communication equipment.
After enough time, wind noise becomes your friend and tells you interesting stories about yourself.
2. Why do people go to track, get trained by professionals, read articles/books about motorcycling?
Because surprisingly large aspects of motorcycle riding are entirely unnatural. The only way you can learn to do the right thing is by watching someone else do it.
One way to look at the science behind motorcycle riding is by comparing it to the science behind Quantum physics, if you think you understand it all, you probably don’t. Everything that your brain knows after thousands of years of evolution is wrong, and you need to do uncomfortable things against your own intuition.
Take track riding for example, after doing some 2 track days a month for a year, I thought I understood how to take a corner. Then on the last KTM track day, one of the trainers gave us a demonstration of how he took a hairpin turn, and my first reaction was “That’s fucking impossible, he should’ve crashed and died a painful death immediately!”
Usually on a hairpin I come in hot, stay wide, brake late, turn in staying wide of the inner apex, trail the brakes till the outer apex and then accelerate just before I’m about to hit it. It always felt a bit edgy and I made frequent mistakes trying to do it, but I didn’t really think there was another option.
This dude rolled in, braked far before I do, finished his braking before turning in, was on throttle by the time he took the wide line at the inner apex, and was on full gas by the time he hit the outer one.
Before this experience, I knew that braking in a corner unsettles things, and the smoother way is to modulate your throttle, but in low-speed turns it felt unnatural to stay on gas. I was so completely sure that I’d run wide I never even tried it. After watching the guy do it, and then reading about the science behind it, I understood that what feels wrong isn’t always wrong.
The same principle applies to off-roading, especially sand/clay/uphill sections. Your gut says to slow down, but in all of those conditions momentum is your best friend. Track riding is important because it lets you experiment different things in a safe environment. Training is important because sometimes you just need to be told what you need to do. Reading other people’s books and articles is important to learn from their mistakes.
3. Why is off-road riding so much fun?
Because there’s nobody else around.
If you’re like me, you stay in a city somewhere, and every time you take your bike out the gate you end up in a traffic jam. India has too many people, the Earth has too many people. It’s painful, tiring to handle others, especially when most of the drivers in India use our roads as an anger management system.
When you go off-road, you rarely meet anyone. When you do happen to cross paths with another human, they are either working their fields, illegally mining stone, or taking a shit, and neither of these 3 have any time for you. As long as you don’t bother others, nobody cares about you, which leaves you busy with handling the terrain and finding spots to chill out.
In some cases, it’s fun to go off-road with friends, you tend to push each other to do stupider shit until someone gets hurt and all have a laugh. In all cases, it’s safer to go off-road with friends. Even so, most of my trail riding in the recent past has been done alone, and things do get scary sometimes. Riding the Mojo yesterday on a trail I got stuck on an uphill section that suddenly reached a dead-end. It took me 15 minutes of pulling and pushing the bike through mud and bushes to get back down, by which time I was so exhausted I slept in the dirt for a while.
If you’ve never experienced it, try it. Go to any road outside your city and keep on the lookout for trails going inwards to some shady and dangerous looking forest. Don’t be afraid of making bad choices, some of the trails will end in piles of garbage, others will end in glorious sunsets. This is why I keep going to the same places over and over again, it gives you a chance to explore every inch of them.
Most importantly, don’t worry too much about “No Trespassing” signs.
4. Why do people travel long distance on motorcycles?
Because there’s no equivalent to it in terms of absolute freedom.
This is a point that became clear while listening to Sam Manicom’s books about his adventures throughout the world. There is no other means of transport that gives you that sensation of freedom that a motorcycle does.
No form of public transport, no matter how costly, is ever truly in your control. Flights get delayed, trains get derailed, buses get destroyed. As far as personal transport goes, cars can only take you so far, even the best and most tricked out 4x4s will find it impossible to do things that are rather easy for a bike.
There have been attempts to combine the best of motorcycles and cars, and quite a few leaning trikes have been invented, things that give you the thrill of a motorcycle with the safety of a car. However, the perfect combination of the ridiculous fun and insane danger of a motorcycle is still unmatched, and will be for a while.
Most of my recent rides have started with a simple idea, I want to ride. I decide a place where I want to go, do some basic research about the route, and then set off. 2 hours into the ride I find myself lost on some jungle trail, and it takes quite a bit of effort to get back on the road, by which time I’ve stopped for food and found out that there’s lake nearby, so I take another detour and end up stuck in some mudhole somewhere, by which time it’s already late afternoon, so I slide my way out of the dirt and head back home before it gets dark, not even coming remotely close to the place I originally intended to go to.
Motorcycles are for people who don’t want to think, who find it painful to use their brains for everyday shit, who are tired of doing things that have been done a countless times before. Spontaneity is what comes naturally with two wheels, and that’s one of the most enjoyable things about riding.