Why I Ride

Going through a left hand turn today I was hit by an incredibly hard crosswind. The bike was pushed from the left tire track to the right and for a split second I thought I was going down. A little while on when my heart rate had dropped back down to only 120 bpm I figured I should explain about why I ride. More specifically why I ride on long distance road trips.

At my last school I had a friend who thought I was an adrenaline freak. At the time I was either racing karts or learning how to fly sail planes. At no point could I ever make him understand that adrenaline didn’t enter into it. Oh there are times of excitement but adrenaline kicks in when things go wrong which is never the goal. That said, riding the bike adds to the adventure of travel.

Every time my friend (a different one this time) and I would stop on our trip out to Alaska he would either be mimicking Jax Teller or be signing Bon Jovi lyrics. “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride”. As ridiculous as this image is (have you ever seen us? There is no where I am wanted dead or alive!) the idea of cowboy like adventures and traveling long distances isn’t far off the truth.

Last year when I crashed up in James Bay it was also John who put what we do the best. “Never had any doubts,(about me getting home) but glad to hear you had a very eventful adventure and home safe! Some may disagree with the “eventful” part, but that’s what makes it interesting and exciting! What everyone can agree with is, your home safe and sound…. With a bunch of exciting stories to share! Welcome home buddy! ”. John can be a frustrating person for a variety of reasons but this comment always brings a smile.

Being on a motorbike allows you to be much more a part of the place you are in. If it is cold then you are cold, if it is hot so are you. On top of that you smell everything that goes by. You also stop more often that you would be in a car, and on my bike more often than you need gas. When you are in a car the air-conditioning is going, music is playing, you are chewing or drinking something or if you are a passenger, you are asleep, or reading. What ever happens in a car you tend to miss a lot of what is going on around you. I can honestly say I have experienced the wind and smell of the prairie, the cold and setting sun of the Yukon, the wet of Northern Quebec and the thrill of riding in the mountains. These are all things I could have done in a box, but I didn’t.

When I was young my parents used to take me on road trips every summer. During these trips I traveled around most if not all of the lower 48 states and chunks of Canada. Every trip, without fail my Father would yell at my sister “I brought you all this way to see the scenery” he would say. “Get your noses out of those books!”. Sorry dad, but it looks like you should have brought me on a motorbike.

So today’s adventure. I left Miles City and headed North. After being on the interstate for the last day and a bit, getting off the main road was bliss. Going north on highway 59 quickly became quite a quiet road. Not the most remote road I have ever ridden but the traffic was extremely sparse. It had a very Mad Max kind of feel, right down to the feeling of menace when a car would approach from behind. This area contains massive cattle ranches. Very rarely do you see the cattle near the road but they are out there some place. Beyond rolling hills and absent cattle there isn’t much else. Slowly the scenery has changed and by the end of the day I have found myself in Great Falls Montana. By now there are coniferous trees and the first mountains of the trip. I love mountains and it brought a smile to my face when I saw them.

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