Unique perspective of riding a motorcycle

Traveling in a motorcycle is different than traveling any other way. In a car you go from one place to another without ever seeing anything on the way. In the car your attention is focused inwards: to the music, cell phone, conversation, anything but the scenario that is moving through the frame of the window. You can travel without noticing or learning anything about the path you took.

In a motorcycle that disconnect is impossible. You are part of the scenery and in contact with it at all times. You have to pay attention to everything that is outside of your vehicle. There is no DVD player, no cell phones, no music. You are part of the environment and you will experience it all. Small changes of temperature will be noticed. You will learn to observe the weather and predict it just by looking at the clouds. The smells of the road, even the elevation, all of it can be felt directly in your senses.

Walking you have the closest experience possible with your surroundings, but you are limited to just a few miles a day. In a bicycle you are still very much in touch with everything, but there is very little luggage you can carry, and the distance you can cover every day is very modest. Riding a motorcycle slowly, and avoiding the interstate highways, you can have the presence and contact with your surroundings, while still being able to cover great distances.

I like to plan my travels to some point, but leave them very open to improvisation and changes of plans. I avoid highways because I usually prefer to ride under 60 miles per hour and don’t like traffic passing me by in high speed. Secondary roads are preferred, paved county roads are the best. Twisting hilly roads give you the best experience while riding a motorcycle, while in a car you would rather take the straight and fast highways.

I look at the maps and when I see a very twisty, paved county road I try to take it. That is where you find the most interesting bars and diners, where people wave at you when you pass, where you can ride slow and enjoy not just the ride itself but the beautiful scenery.