“When I drop the clutch, it’s a distraction. It’s an escape.”
And it’s a journey… for some, it’s away from something and for others, it’s towards something but at the end of the day we’re all just sharing the ride out, aren’t we? My ride has brought me here, from biking enthusiast to something which transcends being just about an engine and two wheels, I’m captivated by the whole culture of the riding world. I think about it, I talk about it and now I’m going to blog about it.
I started Baffle Culture as a brand-seeking initiative to bring like-minded riders together to create a community that promotes the sharing of people’s experiences with those who share that same burning passion for riding and bike culture… or something like that.
We all know the excitement around new bikes and production is an addiction. Especially this time of the year! What type of bike will be on the 2018 production line? Retro or modern? Adventure or tourer? How many CC’s? Cylinders? How will it handle? What sort of throttle response will I get? Twin disc brakes? ABS? Catalytic converters? Liquid cooled? How does it sound? I could go on forever here.
I’ll be honest, I’m no motorcycle mechanic or technical stats man but having these endless questions running through my head got me thinking. Why did I start asking these questions in the first place? And what does what does riding mean to me?
Myself (left) & Jamie Hibbard (right), DGR Cardiff ’17.
I don’t ride because of fuel efficiency, I don’t ride because of my carbon footprint, I don’t ride because of cheap tax and insurance. Yes, they’re all facilitating factors, but they’re not the definitive answer. I ride because it’s freedom, it’s my way, my style. No matter where my mind is, as soon as my helmet goes on and I drop the clutch, it’s a distraction. It’s an escape. Bonelli linked zen and motorcycle racing in his book and I think he’s spot on. The right ride, on the right day, shared with the right people is a truly spiritual experience.
That opportunity for social interaction, to meet new people and forge new and exciting relationships, which, in the ‘real’ world – that place away from caffeine and gasoline – would not be as easily achieved. It’s easy to get caught up in your own bubble, with your own thoughts, following the same rhythm, day in, day out. Riding breaks that rhythm, allowing you to explore the unknown and connect with what makes me, me and you, you. This is just one of many reasons why something that started out as just a hobby has quickly transformed into a life-guiding passion.
So it’s about the journey as well as the ride and if you’re not getting far without the right bike are you? So…which one, or two or three if you’re lucky?
You can’t escape that it is a financial commitment (but then again, there are not many things left in life that aren’t). I may never be a motorcycle salesman, and that’s probably for the best, I would struggle to sell ice to an Eskimo. But if the two wheels, chassis and engine between your legs puts a smile on your face then you’re onto a winner. I’ve been lucky to ride an array of motorcycles including; 1982 Honda CG125, 2016 Triumph t100, 2005 883 Harley Davidson Sportster and more recently a 1982 Kawasaki KZ440. Have they all been a good decision? Yes – all completely different, not particularly that reliable, yet they’ve all given me a different story and feeling. I don’t think there’s such a thing as buying the wrong motorcycle, I just think we’re building a log book to revisit in later life.
So when you’re struggling to find the bike of your dreams, just trust that it’s out there, don’t get caught up in the manufactures spec and just indulge yourself in how it makes you feel. You’ll know which one to share the ride with.