Harley Davidson Switchback 2012 Desert Shot
Harley Davidson Switchback 2012 Desert Shot

When you first start riding, the number of decisions, the dance of control is almost far too overwhelming. Inputs need to be managed, tactile feedback which has to be processed and the decisions that result – is quite a feat. It’s a real effort both physically and intellectually.

But after an unusually short while, the power of the faculties becomes apparent. The conscious part of the dance becomes a subconcious one. Muscle memories take over and multiple commands becomes a performance, from a pas de deux to a more rhythmic adagio.

Each sequence choreographed – check the mirror, release the accelerator, pull the clutch, shift the gear, hear, feel the satisfying clang of the motorcycle ‘s clutch plate, the slow gentle release of the clutch and the engine biting into the transmission belt,  the kick of the Harley engines throbbing power.

Direction is predetermined, corrections are automatic. Dangers are obvious and mitigated. Prescience. Or at least the illusion of it.

This ease of operation is now a background noise, like breathing or the heartbeat. Like the tip of your nose, your brain filters it out.

And this can continue for hours – that is, unless you’re not setup for it. The motorcycle’s seat, and controls have to be conducive to achieve this nirvana. An uncomfortable ride will result in aches  and pains, the unwilling body reminds the willing mind of it quite readily.

The accesories – the motorcycle jacket, gloves and the shoes are a part of the ritual. They should perform thier function, but as unobtrusively as possible. Provide an invisible utility rather than a purely aesthetic one.

Once planned for, long rides can become time for epiphany, for clarity – and releases the mind to the meditative state.