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Lighthouses and Weathervanes

There are a lot of decisions that we must make while we’re riding our beloved motorcycle through the twists and turns of the backcountry roads. We need to determine the speed at which we will enter the turn and what our path of travel will be through it. We have to determine when and where we’ll stop for a rest break to stretch our legs and refresh ourselves. The more mundane choices of when to ride and where to go must also be made, even if we are on a follow your nose ride with no pre-determined route in mind.

 Riding across town involves reaching a number of conclusions about our riding as well. We need to determine our route while considering whether we’ll ride through known trouble spots or during high traffic times. Will we use major thoroughfares or stay on neighborhood roads as we move from one end of town to the other? We must decide how we will interact with other traffic on the road and how we will approach intersections with other vehicles waiting to turn or pull out onto the road we’re on.

"There are some  fundamental decisions we have to make about our riding."

But there are some more fundamental decisions we have to make about our riding. We have to decide if we are going to be a lighthouse or a weathervane. A weathervane is a movable device that turns with the wind, changing its bearing based on its current environment to show the direction of the air currents. A lighthouse is a shining light that serves as a navigational beacon to provide guidance to ships on the water.

A motorcycling weathervane tries very hard to please everyone. When riding with others they will normally avoid challenging anyone else as they attempt to blend in with the group. Their beliefs about riding change with the environment and are shaped by the people they are riding with today. They seem to be more like chameleons; hiding in the group and following what the others do even to the point of feeling uncomfortable with the way they are riding.

A riding lighthouse, on the other hand, stands tall in the group. They remember how they were taught to ride and they respect the value of feeling comfortable with their ride. They realize that each rider must determine their own riding style so they don’t criticize what others are doing. Rather they provide a steadfast beacon and example for others about the importance of riding their own bike in their own way. They serve as a silent guide for others.

We must all decide if we will be a lighthouse or a weathervane when we ride. Our decision is revealed by how well we adhere to our true beliefs and this is communicated to others by our riding style. Whether we ride with what we know to be the proper gear regardless of how our riding friends are attired also tells others of our choice. Others will also know our preference based on our decision to drink and ride or not.

More importantly, we will know our decision by how comfortable we are inside ourselves by what we are doing on our bike. The shining beam of a riding lighthouse serves as a beacon to others and quietly guides them towards better decisions for themselves. Our choice should be a lighthouse, a guiding light to follow, and not a weathervane spinning in the wind.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!