I used to think that only longer motorcycle trips constituted a meaningful ride. Whenever I would go out on the weekend, I would be exhaustedly euphoric, like I had accomplished something worthwhile. Other times, like commuting, not so much. During a discussion with friends around the fire pit one not, my mindset changed.
Once upon a time, I used to put on nearly 500 miles in a week. I would commute every day to and from work on Archer, my trusty F800GT, only to turn around and go immediately back out on the weekends. Moving closer to work plus having a daughter now changed that significantly however.
I still ride Murdock regularly as well, but most of it is commuting. The weekend trips do not happen as often as I would like, but I make the most of them when they do. That was not always the case however, as I thought that in order to have a meaningful ride I had to get out and have fun on twisty scenic roads for uninterrupted hours on end.
There is a mental switch when it comes to riding that we do not realize unless we stop to think about it. The moment we straddle the engine, our mindset changes. We do not think of the stresses, the gossip, or the external factors affecting our lives. What matters right then and there is the bike, us on it, and anything that might endanger that bond. I would prefer that over the daily grind any time…
Where you ride, how long you ride, and why you ride is inconsequential unless you are mindful of how you do it. At the root of it all, whether we realize it or not, we ride to experience the mindfulness of it all. This is my Motorcycling Zen.