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The Motorcyclist's Soup Kitchen

The Motorcyclist's Soup Kitchen

Little Things

The French novelist George Bernanos wrote, “Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but together perfume the air.” We’re always seeking peace in our riding. Our goal is a ride that is uneventful so we can smell the flowers. We want to feel comfortable on our ride so we can relax and enjoy our passion.

That’s not to say we can become complacent on the road, but when we have a oneness with our bike, we feel in control of our ride and an inner peace comes over us. Just as the blending of the fragrance of many flowers perfumes the air, it’s a combination of many little things that come together to allow us to truly feel like we have smooth control of our bike.

There are many little things that contribute to the peace and serenity of our ride. While most of them take place during our ride, at least one occurs before we even breathe fire into the belly of our bike. This includes checking three things to make sure we’re ready for our ride.

The first involves inspecting our motorcycle so we can be confident that everything is working as it should and our bike is in tip top shape for our outing. Verifying that we are wearing the proper riding gear for comfort and protection is the second part of getting ready to ride. Finally our pre-ride check is completed by ensuring that we are well rested, have a clear mind and are unimpaired. Making certain we are prepared to ride goes a long way toward ensuring a more pleasant and peaceful experience.

During our ride, there are even more little things that contribute to a pleasing and pleasant outing. Visual control is a little thing that can be a really big one for us. Having our eyes up and looking as far ahead as we can when we take off or come to a stop helps us maintain our balance. Searching as far as possible down the road while we’re riding helps us see problems developing and makes them easier to avoid than last second efforts. Looking at and beyond the exit of a turn or curve allows us to glide through it almost effortlessly.

Having the necessary physical skills that have been finely honed through training and frequent practice brings a level of comfort to our ride. Knowing that we have the proper cornering skills sufficient to handle both the normal and the unexpected allows us to feel a little more secure on our bike. If an obstacle suddenly appears in our way, realizing that we can swerve around it or that we can stop quickly in either a straight line or in a curve enhances our confidence in our riding.

Developing and employing a well defined mental strategy to reduce the number of times we need to bring our evasive skills into play builds our self-assurance. This includes a means of seeing what’s happening around us and deciding what situations might arise as well as how we’ll handle them if they do. Expecting the unexpected and being prepared for it helps us manage our risks as we ride and allows us to be more relaxed on our journey.

Understanding our limits and recognizing when it’s time to take a break also helps. Riding for extended periods of time can be draining and to smell the flowers and see the thorns around us, we need to remain mentally and physically sharp. We’re out to enjoy our ride and time or miles shouldn’t interfere with that goal.

Like the flowers in the fields, it’s the little things that bring the pleasure to our riding. It’s the number of flowers on the hillside that create the beauty and fragrance of the landscape and it’s the little things in our riding style that increase our comfort and enjoyment of the ride.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!


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2008 213 pages