Saturday, 12 May 2012
Why we ride old bikes
Riding a motorcycle is totally different from the struggle of four-wheeled physics, but if you're reading this, you already know about it.
When a car corners it leans to the outside pulled by centrifugal force, struggling to maintain its direction of travel. At times you will find yourself leaning in the car as a natural resistance to centrifugal force as you would riding a motorcycle.This may not sound like much, but until you've experienced both you can't understand the superior grace and simplicity of this mode of travel. Cornering becomes a fluid symphony of precise movements instead of an awkward wallow. Harmony with the road instead of fighting it.
Your nose will get the smell of roadkill and diesel exhaust, bread baking and
plants blooming. Your body will feel the tiny impacts of raindrops and shake to the buffeting of the wind.
Your skin will feel the gently warming temperature as you crest a hill and drop to the valley floor below. It might be the biggest cliché but it will make you feel alive.
Over the years I've carried many things on a motorcycle such as wood, propane bottles,roses, crutches, long pipe, wheels, tyres, a small appliance such as a toaster on top of the tank for 300kms and other stuff.
How often do you really use the cargo capacity of a car? Not often, judging by the long lines of single-occupant vehicles choking the roads, time and precious resources, hauling around a sluggish,petrol/diesel guzzling empty steel box.
Driving a car is so EASY and makes so few demands on our minds and bodies we just go on autopilot. How many times have you driven to a familiar location, and arrived only to realize you don't remember large parts of the journey?
With the evolution of the automotive industry, like many other industries, certain rituals and emotions are lost and forgotten. Checking the fuel tap for the on/off position, pulling the choke knob out and making sure the thing's in neutral before hitting the start button or kicking it into life, checking inside the tank for fuel, remembering the side-stand before you pull away,. The thrill of the "will it start?"
All these emotion related rituals are now lost in time and motorcycle engineers made sure we are nothing more than pre-obsolete bio-mechanisms ready to hit the button and pull away in a safe,controlled-as-possible way to enjoy ourselves.
This is why I ride a mechanical motorcycle.