Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Zen and the Motorcycle....


I remember reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when I was in university and since that time, a lifetime ago,  my fascination and love of motorcycles has never dwindled.

Though I've ridden many types of bike over the years, i've always had this dream to ride an Enfield through vast Indian countryside. I finally got my chance in Goa a few weeks ago and it was the shit, as they say.

We picked up an Enfield 350 for just under 10 bucks a day and rode the sucker all through South Goa. This thing was classic; the engines haven't changed in 50 years, they sound like a helicopter taking off, none of the blinkers worked, no side view mirrors and no helmet...

Any rational person would agree that such a bike is a recipe for disaster but it was what we got and i couldn't let the opportunity slip past...

We rode through quiet rural villages on windy paved roads, up steep hillsides and down the curving snake-like asphalt to the glistening beaches below. We slowed to pass cows and sheep and sped past rural villagers working the fields.

A motorcycle is truly the best way to see a country, especially a country like India. You witness a way of life that you can't quite see in the rush of the big cities where the trains and buses stop.

I remember thinking, the wind blowing through my hair, sun beating down on my shoulders, the bike settled and thumping in 4th gear that of all the damage we humans have done to each other over the centuries, all the pain we have caused and sorrow we have inflicted...the human spirit still managed to invent the motorcycle, that symbol of ultimate freedom.

...and if we can muster the ingenuity and talent to create something so beautiful and precious as the motorcycle, I have no choice to believe that there is hope for us all.

5 comments:

Anil said...

This takes me back down memory lane... a thumper of a Enfield Bullet and the freedom to ride anywhere I wished. Have fun in Goa, and enjoy that bike!

LucaRagogna said...

I love traveling by bike, you get to where you're going in the same amount of time but you connect to the environment in way that is impossible in a car. This time of year I miss my bike, I need to get another one soon.

Luca Ragogna
www.lucaragogna.ca

Malcolm said...

If the problems with the world could be fixed by having everyone ride a motorcycle I'm all for it.

Have fun and stay safe...

Chai said...

I am right there with you Martin - I can smell the air as you describe your journey.
Ah India!
There is a great movie coming this year with similar sentiments about the motorcycle - "The Drifter" with Rob Machado.

Chai
www.theopeningi.com

rahul said...

You did not. That is one trip Meghna and I are yet to make-Goa on a bike-but I can well visualize from your writing. Goa is an amazing place, and it's warmth is mesmerizing.
Love, Rahul