The Meditative State

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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.

The Meditative Ride

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It start’s long before you hit the starter switch. Where am I off to, what do I need to get done? Meet with friends? Quick run to the shops? Pick someone up?

Then the motorcycle helmet. Do I want the pretty one, the ugly one or the easy one. Once that’s done, then the other accessories that go with or without. If the helmet has the built in sun visor, then no sunglasses.

If it doesn’t then sunglasses (thankfully I only have a throwaway and can’t yet afford an assortment of shades). Do I need a spare helmet, do I need to give someone a ride? Laptop? Ok, which bag will accomodate the pillion rider.

This may sound complex, but it forces focus.

Down to the bike. Get the bag on, depending on the helmet, either gloves first or the helmet first (some motorcycle helmets have the double D rings – good luck trying to get that on with gloves).

Then the mount, and the best part. The starter switch. The starter switch ironically is the off switch for the concious mind. At that point you’re a guidance system with a single mission get to destination. I now know what a Tesla autopilot must feel like, if it could feel.

Quick check of the lanes, and ANOTHER check for non vehicular hazards, and you pull onto the road.

I am now one with the machine. Let the meditation begin.