I don’t do music when I ride. Now I respect every biker’s choice in the matter but personally, I don’t do earphones or have a stereo system. I also don’t do blue tooth wireless transmitters that allow people to phone you or allow the passenger behind you to talk with you. Just communicate the old fashioned way, tap me on the shoulder. I like the silence, the natural and the man- made sounds of the world we drive, walk and ride through. The trains, the lawnmowers, the church bells, the sounds of a small town at a four way stop. Good time to remember the Four Way Test of the Rotarians:
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
How much better our society would be if we simply asked ourselves those questions about what we say and do. It would close down many news broadcasts completely and send most of the politicians packing their bags. I’d make less mistakes, that’s for sure.
We could also use Kant’s Categorical Imperative to guide us but that’s for another blog.
I also like the sounds I can get from Big Red’s engine, My Harley Road King: accelerating as fast as I can up to the speed limit (safely!), running at high revs (safely!) in a gear, the sound of gearing down. From the open throttle scream, to the throaty grumble, to the muffled roar, to the torque”y” confidence and swagger. I love to listen to them. And I don’t want to be distracted in case some thing or someone falls of the back. (For the record no one has fallen off my bike –yet!)
When I finally settle into a gear I like to gather my thoughts, and believe me those rascals run everywhere. Past, present, future. The usual: Why in God’s name did I do that? What did she mean when she told me that? I wish to hell I’d said that to them! The French have a phrase for that last one – “Esprit de l’escalier (es-pree der less-kal-lay) — A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs.” From “In Other Words: A Language Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World” by Christopher J. Moore (Levenger Press, Walker and Co., New York, 2004).Let’s have a show of hands – we’ve all had those reflective thoughts!
After giving up on trying to herd the cats of my thoughts I finally try to meditate, watch my breath, be aware of things around me, do my “Be here Now” thing. It helps give me a quiet frontier where I can cultivate awareness, pray for folks and give thanks. I’ve come to love the silences. The long silences of cross country trips have affected me off the bike as well. I no longer listen to music or the radio in my Jeep, or as background noise in my house. But hey, that’s just me. Still, unless you try hard it’s difficult to keep the silence going when you’re back into your demanding and sound crowded life.
I made a list of other things I want to write about in this series of: How do you describe a motorcycle ride?
Roads, conditions and especially back roads, people you meet, new places, other riders, bars, restaurants and entertainment, and adjusting to life off the road
I hope they sound okay to you. Let me know if you want me to comment on anything else. But I’ve got to hit the road now because, dang it, I just thought of something I really wish I’d said to her!