A Biker's Dilemma
A biker’s dilemma
It’s a funny thing, riding a motorcycle. For me, it’s a balance of pure enjoyment, mixed with an underlying sense of dread that things could go wrong, with untold consequences.
Sunny day, dry and smooth roads, the smell of fresh cut grass, out with your mates. It doesn’t get better than that. For some, this is enough. For me, I enjoy it on other levels too. Not just the physical sense of leaning, or acceleration, or the noise coming from your exhaust, or getting an apex right. But the science behind road craft. About using the clues on the road to solve the puzzle, i.e. what’s going to happen next?
I hear a lot of drivers and riders say things like “suddenly, he pulled out on me”. There is no ‘suddenly’. ‘Suddenly’ means ‘without warning’ or ‘by surprise’. If you are anticipating correctly, you should be able to read what is likely to happen next. The clues are there. Good riders are simply road detectives.
But what about the truly unexpected? There are riders who do not push their luck by riding beyond the limit of their ability, or beyond the conditions, who still come unstuck. In these ‘anomaly’ type scenarios, not a lot can be done to change things. This is a pitfall of biking. This is where you are playing the numbers game.
So, biking is all about calculated risk in three key areas;
1. How fast you are prepared to ride based on your motorcycle’s ability, and your ability to control the motorcycle
2. How fast you are prepared to ride based on the conditions (i.e. traffic, weather and surface)
3. How much you are prepared to risk your own personal safety by accepting there may be situations outside of your control
Number three bothers me.
I have a small child. Part of my responsibility is to care for that child. Part of that care means me staying able enough to administer care. Part of my ability to stay able is based on whether I injure or kill myself. Activity which could lead me to injuring or killing myself is riding a motorcycle.
I think I have number one and number two covered. I think I have these two covered in everyday life.
Number three is the one we have little or no control over. And yet, if motorcycling forms part of number three, I have the opportunity to remove that risk. If I do not, then arguably I am being irresponsible by not living up to my responsibility to care for my child.
After digging deep and asking myself why I ride, I have concluded that I am riding a bike to prove to myself that I can stay ahead of the conditions that kill others. This seems like a morose reason for riding.
It’s selfish to do anything else.
So, my question to myself is ‘do I remain selfish, or do I give up biking?