The gush of wind, the sceneries of the world passing by, the roar of the engine, the road ahead and you. There is an immense amount of romantic freedom and solitude that motorcycling offers. The moment when you’re on the saddle, it’s just you alone with your thoughts. The sights, smells and souls that you experience on your journey are equally incredible. If you’re the one who believes that a journey matters more than the destination, then you should go take a tour on two wheels at least once in your life.
Motorcycling is kind of a meditation for me. Yes, obviously you can’t compare the two. But then what is meditation for a normal person, like me? A way to calm your inner self, right? A means to find solace with self, a sense of purpose to life. Meditation necessarily does not need to mean to sit at one place and peace out. While motorcycling, one does kind of get into a zone in their own head. Sometimes there are no thoughts, just the road ahead, and you and your bike going at a 100 kph, zipping around the countryside. Focus on the road as it turns and curves through this beautiful world.
I started motorcycling in 2014, and since then it has been an on and off thing for me. It all started with a sudden trip towards Coorg, Bandipur and Mysore to welcome the new year 2015, covering over 1200 km through Karnataka. Since then I have travelled my way through almost all of Karnataka on my “Screaming Eagle“. It has become the main medium for my escapades since then. Last Sunday, after a long gap of over a year, we headed for a 280km bike trip to Bheemeshwari and ride along the Kaveri. A trio of bikes and the five of us went cruising the roads. This bike trip brought back a lot of memories of my lost days of motorcycling. You feel, a sense of calm, a zen cruising the highways, curving through the ghats, riding at peace, living the moment.
It’s a strong emotion to connect to and truly a bit crazy. Well, after all, it is a series of explosions between your legs that keep the machine going ahead, cruising on the roads.
I cherish my solo ride to Hampi most, which was planned spontaneously on account of an extended weekend back in 2016. This ride was an 800km bike trip through the hinterlands of Karnataka, riding on some great and equally bad highways. Being solo in the trip, my bike being my only companion; I still remember the peace, the solitude this journey had to offer. The road and the destination were equally amazing throughout.
On a motorcycle, you can’t really think about more than where you are. There’s a freedom that comes with that – from stress, worry, sweating the small stuff.
The beauty of motorcycling lies in living the present. You have to be alert, mindful, aware the whole time on the motorcycle. And that’s what separates it from any other mode of travel. It’s like living the present. The past is behind us and we are headed to the future, that’s what riding a motorcycle is like. Self-awareness, the presence of mind, the perseverance, endurance are some of the few things to learn from motorcycling. I still remember the initial days of my motorcycling, where speed used to be the most important factor and how impatient I used to be. Off late though with experience and some maturity, the thrill of speed has given way to enjoy the journey, understanding myself and the bike. Motorcycling did teach me that life is not always about running to the goal, but more about experiencing the present, to fall in love with what the present has to offer. There’s a freedom that comes with motorcycling, a freedom to live the present and to forget everything else.
The journey, Not the destination matters…
It is a cliche in the world of travel, but more so when you travel on your bike. Riding the motorcycle is the best way to experience a journey. Snaking through the roads, your motorcycle and you become a part of the road, of the journey. You get to experience the journey closest to the elements of nature, the adrenaline pumping through you as you zip around the curves. After driving for hours, with the back hurting and the butt going numb, there is a sense of elation once you reach the destination. There is a sense of accomplishment after enduring the pain in the body. Cutting through the wind, dust covering your face, insects hitting your body, the sun beating you down or the rain pouring on you. All these take you closer to nature, closer to the journey. It is an adrenaline rush. Riding the motorcycle is more than the destination always, it truly is about the journey, the road. There are moments of silence when it’s just you and the bike’s engine roaring out loud. You find yourself in the middle of a quiet little place, just you, the bike and the endless road. Away from all the chaos.
When you need to be with yourself, when you have to clear the mind or when you need that space, there is no better thing in the world for me than the motorcycle, the “Screaming Eagle”.