Zen and the Ride

Technology will soon make motorcycling something you do not recognize … although you may not fully understand why it is unrecognizable.

Hardware sensors and software algorithms will combine to allow a rider with no experience whatsoever to ride a course faster than Valentino Rossi. Lean angles, accelerative and braking forces will all be optimized to fully exploit the coefficient of friction available from the contact patches offered by the tires given the road surface conditions.

This all means that the rider will be able to ignore the ride. He (or she) can work on his tax return, for example, while riding. No need to focus on the task at hand, because there is no task. The forgotten part of motorcycling will be the essence of the joy it offers. Concentration. Focus. These are the foundations of joy when riding, or, at least, the traditional foundations.

You don’t need to understand Zen (“understanding Zen” is an oxymoron, but that’s an entirely different topic). Unqualified concentration and focus while riding a motorcycle (required because of the inherent dangers) bring a mental peace and joy that will be missing from our brave new world. Reason alone to hang on to the motorcycles that still require it.

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