The Riding Analogy

Every rider struggles to express their love of machine and open road to non-riders. Real non-riders, ones who have never felt the rush of wind or seen the blur of asphalt.

Anyone who has operated a motorcycle or ridden as a passenger, must surely see the allure. Some will not be willing to face the inherent dangers of such an activity. They may be willing to forego the joy it offers for a semblance of greater safety. But they at least have felt the pull of freedom and heard its siren song of exhaust. They ‘get it’, the why of our choice to ride.

For those who have done neither, it is an elusive thing to describe, this connection, this passion, this feeling of being in such a greater sense. We as riders know one thing. If you haven’t experienced it, we are left without a frame of reference from which to describe it to you. When asked, no answer can provide all that is needed for you to ‘get it’, and thus every answer falls short of answering any whys.

As a rider, I am very aware of this evasive quarry that is sufficient explanation. As a writer, even more so struck by the lack of qualitative words that I can hobble together to provide any insight. I am left with the tried and true method of analogy. The hopes that comparison will offer clarity, ever knowing it too may well fall short of expectations.

Let me start this analogy by saying I am not a baseball fan. I played a couple years of little league in my youth, but I was never drawn to the sport as a participant. However, my own limited personal experience with the sport as a spectator is also my best analogy.

On television, I find it unwatchable. The lack of action and monotonous drone of commentator conspire to put me to sleep within minutes. I must push through the pain for the reward of seeing who wins, though any one-minute recap would do the same. It is the same as the environmentally controlled ambiance of driving in your car alone. Close-ups and replays traded for the wider view. Make it nighttime and put some talk radio on the dial and you would likely have the same narcoleptic effect. But at least you get to where you were going as your reward.

 My first experience with attending a game came from inside a well-appointed club box. The addition of friends and food made the experience much more bearable. And although present at the game, we seemed completely happy to glance at the televisions around, on occasion, to track the score. The surroundings no less sheltered. The view available restricted by social distraction and convenience of televised frame. Until a last glance offers the reward of a final score. Likewise, your car can be enhanced by company and your travel may gain the status of ‘road trip’, when tweeted by friends staring at even smaller screens, as the world goes by outside their windows. Your car and experience a bit fuller, but your destination still your reward.

 Then I had the opportunity to attend a game in the stands, right along the first base line. This experience was amazing. The crack of bat and roaring crowd adding to the fervor. The smell of roasted peanuts and stale beer planting you firmly in where you are. The view of the entire field and raucous fans in the stands, create a multi-stage performance to rival any. The attention now given to the dangers of a foul ball require a focus on what is at hand on the field. Gone is the arbitrary simple existence of just being there, you are fully engaged in the competition evolving in front of you. Aware of what transpires and how it may affect you. When the final pitch is thrown and the winner declared, you will have reached that same goal with greater joy and appreciation. It will not be the score that is the reward, but the journey to get there.

 That’s what riding is to us. Driving your car is like watching baseball on television. Riding is being at the game. Destination is never our reward. It is simply a goal. Our reward lies in all the miles in between.

5 Responses to “The Riding Analogy”
  1. Your analogy gave a great perspective!

  2. edward dougherty says:

    Great read leads to a better understanding to the non rider.
    Just one critique…. What you couldn’t find a Phillies pic for you opening photo???

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