This is the final week for my fundraising before The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. We did it! The goal was to raise $2500, and as of this writing, together we’ve raised over $3500 for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health. We have surpassed the goal and I know there is more to come from ongoing efforts and support, which I am grateful to be receiving. Next year I’ll be setting my goal higher than what we raise this year so I’ll have to be more creative. Thank you for making this hard on me. I asked, you delivered.
I didn’t grow up with motorcycles. Aside from some travel in India and some limited exposure in high school, it wasn’t something I was passionate about. That is, until I saw my Uncle Mike roll up on his new Triumph Thruxton. I remember thinking, ‘Whoa. What is that, and where do I get one?’ That was it; hooked.
I got my Triumph Bonneville while I was living in Miami. From that point to now, I have taken every opportunity available to ride. Above all, I really wanted to ride with my uncle, but very sadly he passed from cancer (not prostate, but fuck all cancers) before I got the chance. I think of him every time I ride. His spirit is woven into the very essence of every ride I take.
It is difficult to put into words the experience of the open road on a motorcycle. There is an excitement and peacefulness that comes with getting ready for a ride. Truly, it is freedom, epitomized. I put on my sun-worn Barbour International jacket, and after that, on goes the helmet. My favourite part though, is my gloves. I might very well have a glove fetish. Perhaps it comes from years of wearing gloves in the army, but I feel complete once I have my grease-soaked and sun-bleached leather gloves on.
Then its time for the bike. Quick inspection, key in, set the choke, ignition, throttle. The routine and sound of the engine just centers me. I am in that moment, only. Mount, throttle again, choke, kickstand, first gear, then … gone.
I ride a bike with no fairings and no windscreen. I ride with an open-face helmet. One instrument: speedometer. There are four light indicators: oil, high-beams, left and right turns. That’s it. No distractions.
I never ride with music and I have no Bluetooth. It is just me and the road. On a bike you feel every aspect of your environment and the ride. The fresh manure on the fields is pungent in a way you can’t imagine if you don’t know, the small variations in the temperature are felt with the whole body, the bugs and rain hit like razors. It is an immersive experience. You know that rule you learned in driving school? The one where you should be looking 20 seconds ahead. On a bike, always. You need to anticipate the road, the turns, the traffic. Riding is a full-body experience. Consequently, when I ride I embody the Be Here Now mantra I try to live by.
Be Here Now
I was introduced to the Be Here Now mantra from the documentary on Andy Whitfield’s battle with cancer, which shares the name. Check this Be Here Now link out and take the 2 minutes to witness someone come to terms with what fate has handed them, and then to own it fully. The link is only a trailer, but I suggest you watch the documentary. We need to live each moment. We need to Be Here Now.
I ride because I have to. So I might as well ride for a cause.
As always, gratitude.
If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. – Lao Tzu