RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Learning as You Go

Jul 07, 2013 View Comments by

Learning as You Go

Honestly, I’m not sure what to write sometimes. When that happens, I remember what Ernest Hemingway said to get started—write one true sentence. Well, here goes: Life is a lot like motorcycling. I know, I know, I’ve never started a post that way before… but bear with me. Remember your first days? You start out full of excitement and trepidation, eager to take on the world, too naive to see the pitfalls in the road ahead; carrying too much speed all the time, and trying to lean, muscle, and brake your way through every situation to compensate for your lack of skill and knowledge.

You gain experience as you go, scooping handfuls of memories from the roadside as fast you can before reaching out for more. You swallow sunshine along with gulps of wind, breathe fire, and sometimes when you stop to look back years later, you can’t imagine how you had time enough to squeeze it all in.

I’ve experienced a lot over the last 2 years, 4 months, and 24 days. I can flip through the memories of that period in every intoxicating detail at a moments notice (and often do). If you do the math backwards the starting date is significant to only one other person on the planet; but I mark that period as the most deep, joyous, and spiritual time of my entire life.

Remembering the well-spring of your joy goes a long way toward ensuring its growth but that alone isn’t enough, you have to keep expanding your skill set and growing. Experience builds like a relationship does, through care, repetition, attention to detail, applying what you’ve learned, becoming better for it and progressing forward, and wanting, always, to do it well even if you are learning as you go.

Sometimes though, you stumble; you forget the lessons your time on the road taught you; forget to look far enough ahead and to know what to look out for; forget to plan the next move and through either lack of foresight or indecision you might pay, and pay dearly. Some lessons you learn the first time; but some mistakes you never make because you’re careful and hold what really matters clutched close to your heart like a secret you’d die to protect.

I encourage everyone to continue learning, growing, progressing, correcting for inexperience, youth, or simply not having been down certain paths before. Admit your mistakes and always keep the prize in sight. What’s the prize? The prize, in motorcycling and in life, is the joy of the ride and having gone from there and arrived here, with something worth celebrating and remembering.

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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.