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Embedded in the Ride by Richard Keir

Since one of the things I love best is riding, I end up thinking a lot about it and about why I do it and why I like it. It seems to be one of those things that mystifies a lot of people.

How many times have you been told how dangerous it is? Bikes are unstable, You don't have any protection. Drivers can't see you. If you go down you can die from the road rash even if you don't break anything. It goes on and on. The endless list of horrors. The stories about somebody who such and so knew who spent 6 months in traction, got turned into a vegetable, whatever.

Well, it's all true. There are reasons why insuring your ride is expensive. Mostly having to do with medical costs and theft, I expect. But this is one of those odd ways of viewing the world that people use to put down the things they aren't interested in doing.

One certainty is that nobody's getting out of here alive. And it can happen at any moment in any kind of situation from nearly any activity. Life is not safe. Living isn't about being safe. You going to give up eating because something could get stuck in your throat and kill you?

Still, riding is dangerous, and untrained reckless fools often have a short career - or run through a lot of bikes if they're very lucky and can afford not to learn how to ride.

Even the best riders can get taken out by a bad combination of events. But so can a driver in a cage or a pedestrian. Things happen. No guarantees.

Unlike a new motorcycle, life is not under warranty. I need to be reminded of that from time to time and to learn, over and over, how to live with uncertainty. Riding brings it home.

Riding a motorcycle has a number of virtues that are sensible and common - you save on gas, you can park almost anywhere with no trouble, they're relatively inexpensive compared to a car, even the insurance can be less than a car, they are less expensive to maintain and repair. Nice sane virtues, eh?
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