Time races in fast forward when the front wheel of your motorcycle lets go without warning. One moment you’re leaned over in a corner having the time of your life. The next moment you’re kissing the road. There is no elapsed time between these 2 realities, they occur so minutely close together so as to be simultaneous. To your overwhelmed mind, it seems as if you’re riding the motorcycle and the road in the very same moment but there is more physics and destiny packed into that nano-second than your brain can fathom in a lifetime.
Time slows right down when you’re sliding on your arse watching your bike hurtling towards destruction a few feet ahead of you. In the couple of seconds it takes for you to come to a stop, the following things have raced through your mind:
1. Fuck, I have crashed my bike
2. Fuck, I have crashed my bike
3. Fuck, I have crashed my bike
4. Was that gravel?
5. Looks like about 2K worth of damage
6. Don’t hit the Armco, don’t hit the Armco, don’t hit the Armco
7. The guy on the cruiser I just went past at a million miles an hour is going to laugh very hard at me
8. Where’s a GoPro when you need one
9. You have run through 3 different excuses you could make to your partner explaining the crash. You have rejected 2 of them and just before coming to a sliding stop, you settle on the third being the most sound
10. The boys are going to piss themselves at this one. (If you are Jamie, you may also be thinking “Maybe I won’t tell them”)
11. Fuck, I have crashed my bike!
Surely you will agree that it is impossible for any human to think all those thoughts in a mere 2 seconds. Hence, the only possible explanation is the stretching of time by motorcycle.
You can explain with Physics, why you lost control of the motorcycle but you can never explain WHY you lost control of your motorcycle there and then. Let me elaborate on the problem. Why did I enter too fast into that very corner when a thousand similar corners were negotiated with ease? Why did I not spot the gravel on the road in this corner when I’ve successfully spotted and ridden through gravel hundreds of times before? Why did the first 5 Kangaroos cross the road OK but the 6th one turned back and kamikaze me?
I believe in destiny.
“A man makes his own destiny” you say? I believe in that too. No, I don’t find that contradictory. I’m from India for fucks sake, we garland images of gods in our cars and then drive around like maniacs. We blame the British for everything that’s wrong with our country but wear their clothes and speak their language with pride. We pray to our sacred rivers at dawn and then shit in them at dusk. Don’t lecture me about contradiction, I grew up with it for neighbours.
Anyway, we were talking of destiny weren’t we?
Yeah, so a motorcycle crash is like a chemical solution comprising variable quantities of 2 major ingredients - FuckUp and Destiny. Sometimes FuckUp is predominant while in other cases destiny weighs heavily on the outcome.
But there is more. The inner voice, the 6th sense, the intangible, we may call it different things but its presence is undeniable. You must listen to your inner self. We’re humans, not machines. We cannot perform at the same level every day and every moment. Just because you’ve smashed the twisties on the Putty Road like a champ countless times before does not mean you can go through there today at the same pace as yesterday and with the same confidence. You may not be “feeling it” today. And you need to listen to those voices inside you that tell you whether you are “feeling it” or not. As a motorcyclist, you must be deeply in tune with your own conscious and sub-conscious mind and the best and safest riders are tuned into their 6th sense like digital radio.
All this contributes to minimizing the “FuckUp” component of the crash equation. But the “FuckUp” component can never be totally eliminated. Which is where destiny comes in. Destiny is not an active participant in a motorcycle crash. Rather, destiny is a filler that seeps in by osmosis to plug the gap between “FuckUp” and One Hundred. Because the sum of “FuckUp” and “Destiny” must always equal One Hundred. Hey, I don’t make the rules, the Road Gods do. And this is their law, as told to me by my imaginary friend, who is in direct contact with them, daily.
The only sure way of not crashing a motorcycle is to not ride a motorcycle.
The second choice is to accept and embrace your homosexuality as you wobble along eliminating all speed and joy from your riding.
If, however, like me, you ride motorcycles because they are dangerous and not despite it. If riding motorcycles for you is about living dangerously and squeezing every last drop of life affirming elixir from the day. If you know that every time you throw a leg over that bike you must strike the perfect balance between thrill and responsibility. If on every ride you aim for excitement but hope to draw the line at madness. If that is what you, like me, find challenging and satisfying about riding motorcycles. Then, my friend, you must accept, like I have, that you wont get it right every time and you will roll the dice occasionally.
When that dice is rolled, the only thing that's in your control is the FuckUp Index. It is encumbent upon every motorcyclist to do whatever they can to minimize the FuckUp potential and leave the rest to the road gods. In my experience, they are kind.