November 19, 2006

Why do people bike?

"You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car widow everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You are completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.
That was an excerpt from Robert M Pirsig's Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM)

Pirsig continues... explaining how one is "completely in contact with it all".
"I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour, is warm and humid. In the wind are pungent odors from the marshes by the road.
Before trying to explore why people bike, let me share one more excerpts form ZAMM.
"We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with emphasis on 'good' rather than 'time' and when you make that shift in emphasis the whole approach changes. Twisting hilly roads are long in terms of seconds but are much more enjoyable on a cycle where you bank into turns and don't get swung from side to side in any compartment.
So.... Why do people bike? Why do I bike? I love biking for those reasons mentioned above and many more. I see that as "trekking taken to the next level". For me, there can't be a combination better than Biking, Trekking and Photography. To elaborate: You bike to a location, clicking all the way; then you trek, clicking all the way; and then you return biking and clicking. Nothing can beat it. Enjoying this combination would mean you have struck a perfect balance of left and right brain; mind and body. At one point you will be cruising trying to reach your destination on time; your mind always active, making calculations about the time left, distance yet to cover, milestones you need to reach in the next couple of hours etc; your eyes actively searching for short cuts. On the way, to give some relief to your back ache, you would be doing some small stretches on your bike, like leaning forward with your chest almost touching the fuel tank. The next moment you would see yourself stopping on the road-side copying the nature into your camera, ensuring that you get the right frame. After a while you would find yourself navigating the potholes and overtaking those cars that had zipped by you sometime back. Stopping on the roadside and talking to the locals with a smile on your face is another thing that you would do. You will be banking left and right when riding through twisted and winding roads. And yes, you would be definitely enjoying the nature around.

I love biking.
  1. Biking gives me a sense of freedom
  2. It lets me stop with ease at any place I like thus providing me that wonderful opportunity to tame that lovely light in my black box a.k.a camera
  3. I like to challenge myself physically and mentally. Biking gives me that opportunity.
  4. Biking requires some basic knowledge of bike mechanics.
  5. I enjoy the planning part of a trip... and to see at the end of the trip, the difference between the "planned" and "actuals"
  6. Biking gives me the opportunity to meet different people of different places. It helps me meet other bikers - owners of excellent minds... and bikes :)
  7. Biking helps in building confidence
  8. I get a chance to explore the 'unknown'
  9. It gives me that precious time to think about stuffs that I wouldn’t have if I had closed myself in a city. I can let my mind wander through the forest of philosophy
  10. I find it much easy to travel in a bike through rough terrains than traveling in a car.
  11. I can navigate easily through heavy traffic.
  12. It is easy to park a bike
  13. It is economical
  14. As mentioned in one of the Discovery Channel Programs "For a man, it is nice to have a powerful thing thumping between his legs"
  15. With that stern face and goggles, isn't biking fun?
So much said about my reasons of love, let us see why others love biking?

I stumbled upon this website - a wonderful website that tries to explore the Psychology of Motorcycle Riding. It says: "When you are riding a motorcycle, you are away from everything, and in a sense in the unfamiliar. You are unable to talk on a cell phone, listen to the radio, or even talk to a passenger (if you choose to have one). By removing all these things which have familiarity in life, a rider can be free and experience something new each and every time he/she gets on that bike." The author also explores the Psychology of motorcycle-gangs: "Because there is a shared interest between riders, they tend to treat each other with comradory. This is why there are “motorcycle gangs"”

Here's another website that I googled out. It talks about the pleasure of solo rides.

I hope folks-who-dont-bike and have wondered why-people-bike now know the reason.

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