Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reflections Upon Pouring Water From A Boot

When you pour water out of your boots, I guess that says something about you.

Especially when you rode your motorcycle right past your (operable) car in front of the house on the way to work.

Especially when you’d checked the forecast, and left your rain gear at home anyway.

As motorcyclists, we are well aware of the dangers we face every time we throw a leg over and hit that starter button (or kick the starter).  Many of us do things to alleviate at least some of that danger by wearing protective gear like helmets, jackets, boots, etc. Often these things get uncomfortable, especially in a central Texas summer, but we weigh comfort against safety.

As motorcyclists, we are also completely exposed to the elements. The aforementioned heat. Cold. Rain. Hail, sleet, June bugs, roadside critters that decide to take us down like we’re a zebra on a nature show. We dress for the weather, too. A large array of options exists to keep motorcyclists dry even while riding through monsoon conditions. I actually own gear that can keep every bit of me dry except the gap between my collar and my helmet – even waterproof gloves and boots.

Sometimes though, I, for one, just feel the need to say to hell with it. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe in the use of safety gear, and I’d never encourage anybody to not use it. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s an unexplainable joy to be had from saying “fuck it” and just hopping on and going. Just to feel the breeze against the skin. To experience the joy of risk. I think risk taking is part of human nature, and I also firmly believe that it’s stronger in those who are drawn to bikes. Even those who wear All The Gear, All The Time.

I also occasionally leave rain gear behind, even when I know it’s going to rain. I think it’s good to remind ourselves of our connection to the elements once in a while. What better way to do that than to ride a motorcycle in the rain? When you ride in the rain, you really become aware of all sorts of sensations. You feel water running down your body, trickling into places you really weren’t much aware of before. You can feel your clothes soak through, from outer layer to skin, step by step. You’re definitely aware of how much the temperature is affected by water falling out of the sky. The wind becomes a lot more noticeable. Especially on days like today, when the rain felt like that ice bucket challenge that was going around the internet a couple of years ago.

Riding like that takes me back to my early days of riding when I didn’t have all the right gear and just made do. Maybe it wasn’t the safest, but it was new and exciting, and I noticed everything, and drank it all in. It’s like getting a fresh start, almost. Like feeling the new rider excitement again.

Like I said before, I’d never encourage you to leave safety and comfort gear behind, but for me, it’s a shot of fresh mental energy sometimes.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

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