It’s About the Journey, Dummy

Ride a motorcycle. Or two. Or three.

Motorcycles are great. What started as a tax return-fueled purchase on a whim five years ago has spawned a garage full of bikes, spare tires, riding gear, tools, and generally a full-fledged addiction. I’m currently down to two functional bikes (’77 Yamaha XS400 and ’99 Suzuki DR350) and one project (’82 Suzuki GS650). Although I don’t have any current plans to expand the fleet, that hasn’t stopped me in the past. I’ve poured a lot of money, time, blood, and sweat in to motorcycles and it’s all been worth it.

I enjoy motorcycles because they’re a relatively inexpensive, fun, and surprisingly practical means of transportation. Regardless of what your mother has to say about them, motorcycles are not actually the vehicular equivalent to death. There are lots of good reasons to own a motorcycle. Here are a handful:

Reason 1 : You like fixing things. Things that will inevitably break at the most inopportune moments. Things that would have been simple to fix if you brought the right tool, had a stand, or just a liiiittle more leverage.

Reason 2: Your ideal superpower is invisibility. Like, when you’re so invisible that people merge into your lane — exactly where you are.

Reason 3: You like feeling cool. SUPER cool. Especially when you fail to rev enough out of first gear and shamefully kill the bike. Then you proceed to get sweaty on the kickstarter while the driver of the Prius behind you smugly enjoys their AC and 99 mpg.

Reason 4: You love great fuel economy, but all those rev-happy rips through 2nd gear while enjoying the sound of your 2-into-1 exhaust blew through 3 gallons of gas faster than you knew was possible.

Reason 5: You’re an artist and your motorcycle is your canvas. And you’re an expert at “shaving weight.” It goes faster when you shave weight, right? You can’t be bothered with that parasitic draw from the wires you snipped while removing the kickstand sensor.

The low down

The real reason to own a motorcycle is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Cars are safer, keep you dry, and some of the new ones even drive for you. Motorcycles are loud, intense, exposed, and bludgeon you into giving your undivided attention to everything happening around (and under) you. They give you a new, visceral perspective and turn every trip into a little adventure.

You’re gonna get schooled

The journey is a learning experience. Being stranded on the roadside enough times forces you to get in touch with your creative problem solving side, meet new people, or just exercise patience. After a while, extracting the good out of a frustrating situation becomes second-nature. Stress becomes relative, and you learn things regardless of whether you expect it.

You also learn that when all comes together, it’s really good. Whether you rescue yourself from being stranded, hack your broken clutch lever back together with locking pliers, or when nothing goes wrong and you just savor the joys of riding a motorcycle. It’s damn good. Thank heavens for that first idiot who put a motor on a bicycle.

A big part of enjoying any journey is the people you meet along the way. When you ride motorcycles, you meet people. Not just any people, motorcycle people, and they are a genuine breed that’s becoming increasingly rare. If you’re lucky you become a motorcycle person too: someone who enjoys the journey as much as the destination and shares that experience with others.

Motorcycles for everybody

Enjoying the journey is becoming a lost art. Whether it’s from your home to the office or a tricky project with a tight timeline, there are many different journeys to enjoy. The creative process can often feel like an LA commute; like you’re only trudging through to get to the end result. Unlike a car, you can’t put on cruise control and do the Lil B cooking dance to your Young Thug playlist. However, there are a ton of ways to keep things engaging and exciting. Set smaller milestones, celebrate little wins, show your progress to the person next to you, have ice cream parties. It’s different for everyone. The point is: don’t get bored. Don’t rob yourself of the experiences along the way by only focusing on the destination. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to enjoy the journey and share that enjoyment with others.

Find your motorcycle.

Nathan Crawford is a Strategist at Parliament where he helps brands like Icon Motosports crush it, hard.