Ticket to ride

My family and friends are expecting this post. That, my dear reader, is how predictable I am. But that’s no reason to keep them waiting, is it?

Nine days ago I was involved in a low speed collision with another vehicle. I was on my motorbike. I did not win that encounter.

Of course, the win/lose paradigm is not very helpful here, and already I find myself on a very different side of that divide to the majority of my loved ones. From their perspective, the outcome could have been much worse. The injuries may have been devastating and, if we are to follow this train of thought with any degree of integrity, perhaps even fatal. So, whilst I may have ‘won’ this battle, what if I had lost?

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From my perspective, it was simply one of those freakish and unfortunate incidents. It may have happened to anyone, but it happened to me. What did I lose? Perhaps my bike, but that’s insured (And even it it weren’t, it’s just a thing). The use of my left knee for a little while? Yes, but I’m expecting it to eventually heal. An object lesson in better riding and braking techniques? Duly, and seriously, noted.

My friends and family are right, of course. It could have been worse. But, fortunately, it wasn’t.

The real issue for anyone with skin in this win/lose conversation is not so much what it was, but what it could have been; or what it might be should this ever happen again. As I contemplate my riding future, assuming I still have one, I realise that, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, everyone is right.

What people are alluding to most in these conversations is the issue of risk, their general discomfort with differing levels of risk and what they might do should that discomfort threaten to jeopardise any or all attempts at individual self-preservation.

I can only assume this is the place where well-meaning advice comes from. It’s no wonder, then, those offering this advice may feel somewhat put out or perplexed should anyone entertain a different course of action to what they are suggesting.

“Can’t you see what the risks are?” They might vehemently argue. “What you are considering is not logical,” stated, perhaps, with a slight tremor of frustration in their tone and a not too sympathetic shaking of the head, “In fact it’s pretty stupid.”

Well, except maybe for the rare exception, there haven’t been too many overtly negative assessments of my intelligence. Yet.

What I’m grappling with here is perhaps a textbook example of the age-old battle between ‘heart and mind.’ No matter how reasonable your argument against, no matter how many statistics you throw at me, no matter how many YouTube videos of unfortunate motorcyclists flicker before my glazed-over eyes, I still want to ride. I just haven’t finished with it yet. Living proof that, just because I’m a rational being doesn’t make me a reasonable one.

And perhaps that’s the point. My insatiable need to ride again is not simply explained within the realm of reason. It is very much shaped by unwieldy passion, an energy that tolerates reason but is not driven by it, being largely guided (certainly in my case) by action and desire.

This does not mean that the apparent risks are ignored nor that they fall on deaf ears. It means, however, that there are other voices, other energies in the mix that should also be considered. And it would come as no surprise to those who know me which of those energies are most likely to sway me.

I’m just not done yet.

(I shot this video, back in June 2014 along The Bells Line of Road)



Filed under Words & Thoughts

2 responses to “Ticket to ride

  1. There is risk in most things we do. Apparently driving a car is one of the riskiest activites. You didn’t mention death. I have just spent a day at a conference about Jacques Derrida. It was mentioned by everyone there. Survival was a key word. It sounds like you should keep riding. After all, life is not just about avoiding death.


    • How very true.

      Any mention of death in my post was purely tangential, where I suggest if we were to follow a particular train of thought with any integrity then we would need to consider the possibility of fatal injuries.

      Death is often on my mind, but that was long before either my motorbike or Derrida’s ‘Gift’.

      Thank you.


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