Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Rain again this morning. I woke thinking again. This is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse. Today I woke thinking about riding in bad weather. Weather is one form of nature, a tangible and immediate form. Even those who live in cities, very urban, not people normally associated with nature are interested in weather. People are willing to put up with the mad rush of southern California in order to have consistently good weather. Other people are willing to tolerate the extremes of weather in order to avoid the mad rush of Los Angeles. Weather affects us all and is one of the major topics of conversation.
An archaic definition of atone is to be reconciled or at harmony with something. At on, in harmony, at the point or moment of being on. That's it. That's part of the motorcycle experience. To be atone with the weather. On a cycle one is in the weather rather than traveling through the weather. There is a connection with nature, and by extension with God, that does not exist when one is an observer in a climate controlled environment going through, but not in, weather. Perhaps that feeling of being atone with a facet of God is central to the motorcycle experience.

Over the centuries humans have gone to great lengths to experience that feeling of being at on. When in harmony sometimes it is harmony with and sometimes it is harmony within. Being at harmony with, with nature and the machine, yet not being at harmony within is incomplete. There is still internal discord. Sometimes driving a motorcycle, achieving that harmony with helps achieve harmony within. It helps send the demons of dis-harmonic thought away.

Sometimes that same harmony is established by walking, or sitting in the woods, yet it is difficult to hold the feeling. That clarity of thought and sense of peace tends to last easily when driving a motorcycle. It is a bit like being able to compartmentalize the mind, to focus on the calm part and let the remainder be occupied with driving, watching for gravel, attending to the many small motions that keep the physical balance and free the other part of the mind. It is the mental equivalent of send the children out to play so one can relax and concentrate on some important mental business. It is a precious time of being at on, exactly and wonderfully on.


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