Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Four Senses of Motorcycling

Ever have trouble focusing while riding? You hop on your bike, a million things on your mind, and before you know it, you are an hour away but don’t recall much about the trip. New Hampshire Coast
A motorcycle ride is the perfect time to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness: bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience. A useful component of mindfulness is careful attention to the senses. This is excellent practice early in the season when your thoughts might easily drift from the ride at hand.
Road Shots

Here are my mental notes from this weekend’s ride to the seacoast; the ride out to the coast is rather dull. I decided to practice my skills, taking mental inventory of the four senses used while riding.

    Brakes burning
    Wood stoves
    Exhaust fumes
    Steak grilling
    Salt air

Rte 1B
    Clear skies
    Tires breaching my lane
    Tach stead
    Tree buds revealing
    Tolls ahead

New Hampshire Tolls
    Gears shifting
    Wheels on the road
    Wind in the helmet
    Engine drone
    Far off horn

Rte 1-B Portsmouth
Touch - Feel
    Jacket scratching my arm as the wind hits
    Wind buffeting my head, the cheek pads pressing my face
    The wind on my face as I notched up the face shield.
    Faint vibration of the hand grips in my palm
    The subtle drop in temps as I approached the coast.

New Hampshire Coast


redlegsrides said...

Gail, interesting way of focusing on environmentals as you ride....as opposed to one's troubles and plans and recent events.

The only time I've found myself at a destination without knowing what happened in between was when I'd listen to an ebook while riding or back in the early days, engaged in a phone call while riding (I know, bad, really bad). The focus would not be on the ride, but on the book or the call....and I found I missed everything in between.

I am sure I was aware of things since I made it to the destination without hitting something but it troubled me enough to get me to stop both activities while riding.

Good post, gets me to thinking about active situational awareness, thanks.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Unknown said...

I still recall an early morning ride years ago when the temp was very crisp and bordering on uncomfortable but not yet. Something about those atmospheric conditions coupled with riding a bike make smells intensify and carry far. I was on a country road with houses sparsely scattered about when I smacked into the strong, penetrating smell of bacon just as if I had run through Cracker Barrel's kitchen on Saturday morning. Bacon has never smelled so good before or since. I swear, had I known the source, I would have pulled in, knocked on that family's door, and offered to pay for breakfast on the pretense I was lost and had not eaten for days - maybe with a fake accent feigning ignorance of American ways. Not everybody gets to experience things like that.

GF said...

I do that all the time, I ride without music, just the sound of the bike and I love it, just looking around admiring the environment and the road, complete mindfulness ;-)

Bluekat said...

And people wonder why we ride. I love how it heightens all the senses to the things around us. Simple and pure.

Shybiker said...

This is, without doubt, one of the greatest joys of riding -- its focus on the present. In modern life, we tend to think ahead all the time and overlook the moment we're living in. Riding brings me back to that. Nice post.

Africa4Adventure said...

Cool Blog - couldn't agree more whole heartedly!