How fortunate I was to be able to start my 50 feats by taking my very first motorcycle ride! Mother Nature was kind to me and provided an absolutely beautiful, sunny day for my adventure and the Universe arranged for a wonderful friend and his gorgeous, red motorcycle to be available to take me on my actual birthday.
I had a little learning to do in advance of the trip: what to wear – long pants, boots, a jacket, helmet, of course; what to do – get on and off from the left, keep your feet up at stops; what not to do – leaning in the opposite direction to the driver when turning can dump the bike.
With the basics covered, we were on our way. I was tentative at first; holding on for dear life probably best describes my riding style. But, it wasn’t long before I was able to just experience the thrill of feeling the wind in my face (a little bonus – a temporary face lift and exfoliation from the force of the air combined with the occasional bug), and the rush of speeding along with only the motorcycle between me and the great everything in the world.
While I was merely a passenger, I can totally understand the appeal of driving a motorcycle. A 2013 study by Kelton (http://keltonglobal.com/in-the-media/harley-davidson-study-women-who-ride-are-happier-more-fulfilled/), commissioned by Harley Davidson, found that female riders reported feeling more confident and satisfied with their appearance than non-riders. As well, more than half described themselves as feeling happier and almost 75% believed their lives had improved since they started riding. Perhaps that is part of the communion between drivers who, when passing each other on the road, give a little wave, a low-handed peace sign, a motorcycle equivalent of ‘namaste’ – the rider spirit in me acknowledges the rider spirit in you.
Even as a passenger, I felt an incredible freedom in being so close to world around me, and the wild adrenaline spike zooming up and down hills, and seemingly suspended in mid-air as we leaned towards the ground around curves. I confess to engaging in several bouts of uncool whooping and hollering with glee like a child on an amusement park ride.
When I chose my feat, it was not to drive a motorcycle (breath easy all who are familiar with my driving prowess). I wanted to be a passenger, which I think also provided a unique and powerful perspective. While the motorcycle drivers in the Kelton study expressed a feeling of independence, I enjoyed the trust relationship that is part of the passenger-driver connection. As I have noted in previous posts, I live with anxiety and am generally not much of a risk taker. Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss: http://www.ericweinerbooks.com/) suggests trust is necessary for happiness and that both trusting and being trusted are significant factors in having a blissful life. I discovered that the same is true of having a successful motorcycle ride: I had complete faith in the skills of my driver, and knew he would keep me safe; in turn, he trusted that I would follow his lead, remembering the do’s and don’ts, and just enjoy the ride. So simple, but impossible to achieve without solid faith in each other. And not lost on me as a metaphor for life.
How blessed I have been to begin my journey of fabulous feats with such a magnificent experience! My thanks go out to Mother Nature, and my great friend Les for an adventure to reflect upon and remember. Next up: a spiritual retreat of sorts, after which I will post feats-in-the-works and a call for volunteers to join in those that lend themselves to group involvement. See you next week…