Episode 38: Motorcycling: A Pure and Simple Return to Reality

There are lots and lots of things we love about motorcycling and for me, an overarching thing that I most appreciate.  Motorcycling is real.  There’s no Virtual Reality.  There’s no AI.  Nothing Artificial going on here.  

When we go from looking at a computer screen or my phones to going out on our bikes into Mother Nature, where we see the birds fly, where it rains sometimes and where the sun is shining at other times.  That’s real and that’s really amazing and I’m convinced, a dose of reality is what we need in this ever increasing artificial world.

When we go into our garage and start our bike, we know that there are probably dozens of things that had to go just right in order for that engine to start.  Maybe it’s the extra layers of complexity, the oil, the gas, the rubber, the steel, all working in harmony, that attracts me more to gas powered motorcycles, maybe more so than the new electric ones.  At least that’s where my head is, for now.  A gas powered motorcycle just feels authentic.  Just feels real.

When we go out for a ride, we are completely exposed to the real natural elements like the wind, rain, heat and cold.  Nothing we can do to change that. And we bring into the equation, velocity, speed.   Experienced riders, like you and me, know what to wear so we’re prepared for it.  Nothing artificial going on there. 

Real, let's call them, “imperfect”, experiences are important too.  Your ride may not go as planned, maybe you find that the one and only gas station way up in the mountains that you counted on to fill up is temporarily shut down because the excited tourist pulled away from the pump with the handle still attached.  Yeah, that happened recently.  You may discover that you have a slow leak in a tire.  Yep, that happened too.  Call these a flaw in your ride, but that’s the beauty of it.  It’s real.  

Maybe in this day of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence where everything happens as it should on the screen in front of us, something real, like motorcycling, is something I think many of us need, no matter how quickly technology is advancing all around us.  Yeah, let’s explore that idea.

One more thing.  At the end of this Episode, I have a footnote directly associated with the previous Episode, Episode 37.  You may find that interesting!  Ha ha.  Stay tuned.


I like Youtube.  You can see, hear and learn about most anything on Youtube. I like it so much that I have a Youtube Premium account that I pay for every month. You’re probably saying “Hey Ron, don’t you know that Youtube is free”? And I say yes, but I don’t like commercials.  Just despise them.  So I pay a little every month so that I don’t get commercials.

I enjoy watching YouTube for lots of reasons, but the primary one is that, most of what I see is real.  Created by individuals for the purpose of sharing with others.  If you’ve not already heard Episodes 27 and 28, check out my interview with Rob Hamilton who has a massive following on Youtube for his moto-camping videos.  I watch Rob’s stuff.  Without saying a word, Rob records the sights and sounds of motorcycle camping adventures in his home country of Australia.  Using both onboard and drone cameras, he takes us along.  He records the sounds of the birds.  The sounds of the wind, of the bike.  The sounds of bacon cooking on his portable camping stove.  I always tell my friends to watch and listen to Rob’s videos with your headphones on.  The sounds are amazing.  It’s pure.  It’s real.

I say all these good things about Youtube to highlight one thing that I don’t like, and I’m seeing what I don’t like more and more often.  Maybe you are too.  That’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) generated content.  

Are you seeing some of that now?  It’s not that it’s necessarily poor quality content.  If I’m looking for facts, like motorcycle specifications, it’s mostly accurate.  It’s just that, that’s not a real person speaking.  There are little, subtle clues that it’s not a real person narrating by the way some words are pronounced in a way that a savvy motorcycle rider, or any human for that matter, wouldn’t pronounce the word.  It probably was not a real person that created and edited the video also.  That for me is the deal breaker. I want to see something produced with a little more thought.  A little more care.

Not to bash technology too much, there are certainly a lot of things out there that are really really cool!  Virtual Reality, ya know where you put on a headset and the world in front, behind, above and below you suddenly changes.  

I tried that and must admit, it was an amazing experience.  A friend loaned me, I think it was called, a Meta Quest VR headset.  Because it’s best experienced where you walk around in an open space, I took it to my backyard.  I put it on and suddenly, I was among a herd of elephants somewhere in Africa.  Not only the perfectly clear sight of them, but also the sounds in surround sound stereo.  

The elephants were not only right in front of me, but as I turned to my right, my left and even to look behind me, there I was, somewhere in Africa, among a herd of elephants.  When I physically walked in my backyard, I was moving among the elephants.  Wow, amazing…   

What was really mind boggling, was taking the goggles off and having my mind blown again with the realization that I was in my backyard the entire time.  Incredible.

Back to Rob Hamilton, in part 1 of our interview, Episode 27, I screwed up, badly and Rob laughed and insisted that I leave that in the podcast, which I did.  It was just a short time later that I was watching a Youtube video on how to be a good podcast host.  The interviewer said “Be yourself, mistakes and all”.  Well, I hope that was a good example of being myself.  Mistakes and all.

In my interview with Charlie Hansen-Reed of Janus Motorcycles, in Episode 36, we determined that we have one more thing in common.  The appreciation of simplicity.  An appreciation of purity.  Things that are real.  Maybe call it genuineness.  As Charlie described how their custom motorcycles utilize parts that are hand-crafted by the folks in the local Amish community.  I still find that so amazing, so cool!  The same folks that use horses and buggies to get around are crafting their motorcycles.  

Back to Youtube, another person that I enjoy following is a show called Itchy Boots.  It’s a very real video series created by a solo traveler named Noraly.  As she rides her motorcycle solo around the world, she does all of her own videoing and narration.  Live, as it happens.  It’s very pure, very raw, and that’s what makes it so great.  What she also demonstrates is a positiveness in challenging situations.  Very real experiences that we share with her and learn from her.  I hope to have Noraly on the podcast someday.

When I ride, I’m trying to keep it as real as I can.  I’m trying to stay undistracted. Being in the moment like we talked about when we discussed Mindfulness in the last episode, 36. Sometimes I will have my cell phone mounted to the handlebar, but lately I’ve all but completely stopped doing that.  I keep my phone in my pocket, out of sight.  I seldom even listen to music anymore when I ride.  I so enjoy hearing the engine and the varying sound of the wind.  If someone says hello at a gas station, I can hear them right away rather than having to pause to turn down my music.

I was reminded just this week about the beauty of this real experience we have with motorcycling.  My wife and I attended a film festival featuring 10 short films about different motorcycling experiences.  Motocross, stunt riding, touring and even personal transformation associated with riding motorcycles.  It was sponsored by an organization called Vahna.  I’ll put a link in the show notes.  

What I didn’t see in those short films was a virtual world or reflections on an artificial world. Just real humans who happen to love motorcycling, experiencing real joy.  

For those of us fortunate to have a motorcycle in the garage and the ability to ride it, …. Wow, we are just so lucky!  I think that riding is not an escape from reality.  Riding motorcycles returns us to reality.  And for that, we can be very grateful.

Thank you for listening.  I wish you peace.  I wish you love!