One of my favorite quotes from any movie or film on motorcycles comes from Robert M. Pirsig in his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
"The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself."
I always hesitate to talk about this book because so many people have already read it and cited its worth and discussed Pirsig and his philosophies and how they connect up to motorcycles and caring and life.
Still, I can't shake this book or this quote. It's the thing I come back to time and time again, and it's one of the main reasons I bought a bike in the first place. That one quote alone has shaped my life more than I'd actually like to admit. It's a reminder that no matter what menial task I'm doing in life, I should do it well. No mater what it is, it matters, even when it seems it does not.
That's one of the lessons owing a motorcycle can teach you. The little things matter. And that's something that will transition to every part of life.
When I come across someone who thinks they want to get into motorcycling, I often think of the quote above.
While that person may just want to go fast or look like a badass, they're bound to find out along the way that owning a motorcycle is about more than just riding. It's about learning things about yourself and learning how to improve yourself through caring for and riding a machine that could get you killed.
Motorcycles can be temperamental, fickle and downright frustrating. But if you take the time to care for them and care for yourself, you'll come out of the experience having learned a great deal.
Many motorcycle riders are thoughtful, smart and self sufficient people. If they're not, they're likely not interested in improving themselves and are just riding a bike for the thrill. I hesitate to say there's a problem with that, but they're just skimming along the surface, missing out on the the true joys of the activity.
When you learn to care for a motorcycle and learn to ride it correctly and skillfully, you're going to improve your confidence not only in your abilities in connection with your bike but also the ability to take care of yourself in just about every situation.
The patience you learn from taking the time to figure out why your motorcycle is running rough can come in handy in other areas of your life. It can help you learn to think critically about a difficult situation or be able to see things from a different angle in the relationships you have with friends and family.
That can come in handy at work too. When you're boss gets on you about something you can relax, knowing that you've been in worse places before and that you'll find a way to figure everything out.
I've been stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken down motorcycle and a dead phone. At the time I was a little worried about what I'd do, but I figured it out. I found someone who was willing to help me out. Through that experience, among many others, I've learned that I can figure things out. I can keep moving forward even when I don't know what to do.
That wouldn't be possible if I hadn't owned a bike, and I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to own the bikes I've had.
At this point, I've rambled on long enough about Pirsig's book. If you want to read someone who articulates what I've just expressed in a much more intelligent and entertaining manner, go get a copy. If you're open to it, it might just change your life the way it has for countless others.
You can buy the book by clicking here or clicking on the image of the book above. If you use one of these affiliate links, you'll help keep this blog up and running through your purchase. Thanks in advance. Keep riding, and get reading.