Reflections on a year with a motorcycle

Getting a motorcycle was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have had the bike for a year. What a year it's been! I've done things in the past year that I've never done before and wouldn't have considered doing before getting the motorcycle.

In the past year I have: taken a motorcycle riding class (actually 2), ridden Golden Gate Canyon Rd and Cole Creek Canyon Rd, been to Red Rocks, rode in the Cruise Against AIDS run, been to Buffalo Bill's grave, ridden down Lookout Mountain Rd, rode in the Molly-Dharma run, rode at the head of the Gay Pride Parade, been to Breckenridge and South Park, got rained on in Roosevelt National Park, rode in the KSL run, rode to the top of Mount Evans, rode through Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road, and rode to the top of Pikes Peak. Before getting the motorcycle I would never have done any of these things.

This raises the question "Why haven't I done these things before now?" None of these things require a motorcycle.

The answer is both simple and complex but the root cause has always been Fear. I haven't done these things before, not because I'm lazy or disinterested, but because over the past 35 years I've gotten comfortable with my routine, now I am afraid of moving beyond my comfort zone. This has nothing to do with motorcycles.
  • I am afraid of being uncomfortable. Does anyone like being uncomfortable? No, but most people learn to grin and bear it.
  • I am afraid of the unknown. Most people are afraid of the unknown but some people live for the unknown.
  • I am afraid of looking like a fool. There was a popular song in the 70's titled "Everyone Plays the Fool Sometime", it must be your turn.
  • I am afraid of being unprepared. Who said anything about being prepared? Just go with the flow.
  • I am afraid of being labeled incompetent. So what? Everyone starts out as a novice.
  • I am afraid of loosing control. You never were in control; believing you're in control is just an illusion.
It's true that a motorcycle comes with some elements of risk but so does all of life. Some risks we have to accept, some we can avoid, and some risks can be managed. Most risks associated with a motorcycle are manageable; those risks that are not manageable must be accepted or avoided. Moving beyond my comfort zone, as with life and motorcycles, comes with some elements of risk but most of those risks are imaginary and the rest are manageable.

Not only has the motorcycle rekindled an old spirit, that died out over 35 years ago, and renewed a once forfeited liberty, it was via the motorcycle that I discovered the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club of Colorado where I have made some new friends. I hope they will be patent with me, maybe even lend a hand, as I struggle to push beyond my comfort zone and over new horizons.

The motorcycle and I will have our first anniversary on August 7, 2009 but the year isn't over yet. There are a few adventures yet to come: a weekend in Breckenridge CO; a weekend in Saratoga WY; and a weekend in Amarillo TX. That's a lot of riding!

It's true I could end up getting killed on the motorcycle but it's just as true I could die of a heart attack tonight. All I need to do is manage the risks that can be managed and accept the rest. Like President Franklin D. Roosevelt said "There is nothing to fear but fear itself."

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