What I Talk About When I Talk About Riding

Last year I got my motorcycle license, something I had dreamed of getting for years. Immediately afterwards I flew to the United States and made an amazing journey from San Francisco to New Orleans on a Honda CB500F, even though initially I had hardly any experience driving.

When I returned to Israel I fulfilled my dream and bought my own motorcycle. While at the shop I, for some reason I still cannot explain, asked to try a dual-sport bike and fell in love with off-road biking. Though I had no real idea what the sport was, I bought equipment and went out to the fields behind my house to try and learn how to ride my dirt bike.

That machine has led me on an incredible journey – every ride I go on is an adventure into the essence of who I am and what I am capable of dealing with. The answer is – anything. Every time I fall down, I get up – not letting myself feel any pain. Only afterwards when I get home the bruises and cracked ribs show. The experience feels like learning to walk, and every spill is incredibly humbling. I appreciate that – to be able to learn again and again how it feels to have my ego bruised – and then force myself to stand up and continue. I have a method, which is not to ask myself “Do I want to quit?”, but – “Am I a quitter?” The answer to that is always a resounding “Hell, no!”

Every ride, about 100 times a second, I am almost paralyzed with fear – a huge wall in front of me, a gigantic drop, a huge jump – and I must look at that obstacle, take a deep breath and say to myself “Okay, now I am going to do this.”; and then hit the gas throttle and jump, dive or drop away. Nothing can compare to the sensation at the top of a successful ascent, even if those moments of bliss are short, fleeting and require lots of pain and mouth-gritting, teeth-clenching determination.

In some ways riding is contrary to what we are taught in life – when you see something difficult in front of you, you shouldn’t slow down and assess the situation – the answer is almost always more gas. That is what will get you over that hump or out of that sharp turn. Hesitate and you will fall.  For me there are also many similarities between riding and living and I give myself the same advice for both – have strong self-confidence, do not be afraid to fall and do things that scare you, if you get down get back up again, and always look where you want to go – stare only at the top of the mountain and not the steep track ahead of you, and you will get there. Don’t lose track of your dreams and goals – and you will achieve them.

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