There’s a funny saying that goes something like “you’ll never find a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist’s office”. It’s pretty funny, and I wish it were the case. But there is SOME truth to it. Most of the people I know that ride motorcycles find it to be some form of escape. Whether it’s their way of relaxing or finding excitement, it’s usually the part in their week that leaves the rest behind for a few hours and pauses “normal life” for some “me” time. My good friend and riding buddy Rob named it “Wind Therapy”. I absolutely love it.
Wind Therapy obviously isn’t something that can or should take the place of medical psychiatric and/or psychological aid in one’s life, but more often than not it does seem to help people find some calm to balance their lives out. In so many ways, life can fill up with things that we MUST do and squeeze out time for things we WANT to do. It’s commonly called “adulting” and is just a part of life. It becomes hard to find time that we can enjoy without restrictions, and we often find ourselves in a rut where there’s nothing fun or exciting to look forward to. This can really take a toll on one’s well being.
Most motorcyclists LIVE for their time in the wind. It is always an event. It’s never boring. Whether it’s commuting for 7 miles or crossing the country on their bike, it’s an engaging, exciting and visceral experience that blocks out most of the rest of the world for the time you spend doing it.
It doesn’t happen immediately. Many new riders have asked me “when does this get relaxing?”. Because initially, the sensations of riding a motorcycle in traffic can be sensory overload and more than a bit nerve-wracking. You are experiencing wind to a degree that a small tornado can’t match, a visceral connection with your motorcycle that is unlike any isolation found in a car and all the while you have 4,000-lb crossovers just a few feet from your exposed body. The first few times it’s genuinely terrifying.
That same visceral and elemental feeling is what makes motorcycles so fun once that initial uneasy feeling subsides. It stops being scary and then becomes very enjoyable, like riding a roller coaster to work every morning.
But then the third stage sets in. The stage of calm. It comes from desensitization that lots of seat time brings to you. Where you no longer have to use any noticeable amount of brainpower in the normal operation of the motorcycle, and you just…. Ride.
I’m not suggesting you shut your brain off and lower your guard - far from it. But once the operation of the motorcycle is so ingrained that it becomes an extension of your body/thought, that’s when it gets REALLY enjoyable. Honestly, this is how MOST of us drive our cars, and we all got here the same way. Nobody tries driving a car the first few times and doesn’t feel VERY twitchy and a bit nervous. Most of us are just old enough to not remember what that felt like to compare to motorcycling.
There is a serenity in the harmony between you and your vehicle, add to that open air and the anti-cocoon that is the motorcycle and you have potential for something of a transcendental moment of Zen. The contrast between calm and excitement is so bizarre but ultimately puts me in a great mood every single time.
Motorcycles aren’t for everyone. They’re inherently dangerous., They require sacrifice, discipline and disposable money (in most situations assuming they’re not your only mode of transportation). But for those who like them, there is absolutely no substitute. Not a sports car, not a convertible, nothing really comes close.
And while it’s not actual therapy for big problems in our lives, wind therapy DOES seem to solve most of my day-to-day stresses pretty well.
Keep the rubber side down, friends.
I write and I know things. I am also the resident motorcycle expert at Everyday Driver - check out the Cycle Report - www.thecyclereport.com - on our YouTube channel. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.