A Motorcycling Journey In Provence - July 2014
My car driving friends don't get why riding a motorcycle for 3,000 km sounds like a great holiday. A car is transportation; it gets you from one point to another, so you can enjoy the places you go. But there is nothing special about the trip, so you take the highway and get there as quickly as you can. That's fine, but you miss a lot.
When traveling by bike, the trip is the entertainment. We stay off the highways and travel the small, windy roads that take us to places we never would see otherwise. We discover small towns that we never heard of. We ride for miles without seeing another person. We take small two-lane and sometimes one-lane roads that wind around some of the most spectacular scenery the planet to get views that we would have missed otherwise.
On the bike, you are immersed in your environment. You smell the trees, the flowers and crops in the fields, the livestock, and the clean air. You feel the road as you travel over it. You feel the sun and the wind. You look out across the landscape, uninhibited by windows.
On the bike, you are part of the machine, not a passive occupant in it. You steer the bike with your body, leaning into the curves while taking constant mental notes of the shape of the road, the slope, the tightness of the curves, your speed, your RPMs, your weight, and your center of gravity. You continuously scan the road and calculate what you need to do 2 seconds out, 4 seconds out, 6 seconds out.
The bike is exciting and calming at once. There is no radio, no iPod, no iTunes, no email, no mobile phone, no intercom. The long periods without the bombardment of other people's entertainment frees your mind to go where it wants. It is meditative and contemplative. It lets your mind wander and analyze, or turn inward and reflect.
I am grateful that Andrés enjoys this as much as I do, albeit in different ways. We have seen some of the most incredible places (New England, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, the Alps and Bavaria, South Africa (without Andrés), and now northern Italy and Provence). We never could have seen these places and experienced them with this intensity locked inside a car.
A car gets you between points, but a motorcycle is good for the soul.