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Offline Kamanya

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The Paradox of Joy
« on: October 12, 2006, 10:32:24 pm »
I have a close friend and colleague who wrote the following. I found it really insightful and asked him if i could share it on this site.  No Pics but here you go.

The Paradox of Joy
By M van Reenen

I started experiencing a resistance to go for a ride, my mind filled with dark
thoughts and foreboding of all possible sorts of accidents that could befall me. The riding was becoming a ritual that was devoid of pleasure, and it was often with a sense of relief that I arrived home, feeling lucky to be still alive! This fear didn't improve over time; in fact it became worse. The sense of dread and joylessness that I associated with riding persisted until the decision to sell my motorcycle was accompanied by a palpable sense of relief.
That was 20 years ago, after about three years of motorcycling.

I was then in my early thirties, a thirtysomething that was relatively immature and torn between conflicting feelings of excessive responsibilities and a yearning for freedom. The sense of responsibility won the day when I sold my bike.
 Yet joy was missing.
I attempted to fill this gap by all types of excesses; compulsively pursuing a pre-occupation for motorcars, spending and wasting amounts of money on entertainment and other self-indulgences, yet the hole remained.

In the intervening years I did the usual: chasing a career, making a living, and eventually relocating to Cape Town where I and my family have been living now for 20-odd years.  

Then last year something happened. A colleague, who owns a BMW K 1100 T, offered to loan his bike to me for a ride into the country. The day and the trip were spectacular and I again experienced the wonderful sense of freedom, exhilaration and the magic of motorcycling. The bug was about to bite again, but I recalled my previous feelings of trepidation and resisted the impulse to buy. Yet I found myself wandering past bike shops, reading motorcycling magazines, and getting to grips with the motorcycling nomenclature and model abbreviations.
After months of research, and with hindsight, subconscious resistance, I decided on a purchase. This in itself now seems to have been significant, as I found that I could not identify with Cruisers, Sportbikes  were too Yuppie for my liking, and Tourers just seemed too staid. I guess these preferences, as are most preferences one has, is a projection of one's sense of identity, and inevitably a mirror of subconscious needs.
My eventual choice was a Honda VFR 800, a Sport-Tourer.
The link between Sportbike (too wild and unrestrained), and Tourer (too tame and responsible) was probably a very significant indication of the space I was in, and in many ways reflected my earlier conflict during my thirties. I didn't realize it then, but this was an opportunity to start working at resolving the responsibility/freedom conflict.
But how?

As I rode more, I started to understand that responsibility wasn't staid and boring, nor was freedom unbridled and uninhibited. To really enjoy riding, for me, seemed to require a different mindset to that which I had previously experienced such tremendous conflict with. I desperately wanted to fully appreciate the joy of riding, and yet I found myself alternately riding in a way that was either potentially dangerous, or excessively cautious; as my mood took me.
I realize now, that this was still a manifestation of a remnant of distressing immaturity and that unless I could find a balance, the old ghosts would keep on turning up.

There is a stretch of road; a winding, beautifully surfaced set of turns, that leads along the coastal route from Gordon's Bay, near Cape Town, to Kleinmond. It is breathtakingly scenic, and is a motorcycling heaven. I often traverse this route by bike on my way to Swellendam, some 200 km's from Cape Town. On one such a trip I deliberately decided to commit myself to enjoy it with full abandonment but to do it as safely as I could.
Halfway along the route I parked at a lay-bye, and could scarcely contain the sense of joy, happiness and accomplishment that I was experiencing. What was this, then?
As I rode on, it  dawned on me what had brought about this ecstatic sense of vibrant aliveness: it was pure joy.
And as I ride more and more, it is becoming clear to me that freedom and responsibility are not mutually exclusive- they need to merge and marry.
Motorcycling seems to me to be one of the few pastimes/hobbies/sports that can facilitate this integration of these two seemingly opposites. Freedom is not without risk, and responsibility is not without restraint. To fine-tune these qualities is the challenge I set myself every time I get in the saddle.
Motorcycling is dangerous. Statistics tell us that ad nauseam.
 The challenge is to minimize the risk without depriving oneself of an experience that can facilitate what all human beings yearn for: JOY.

Somedays, life's like a middlemannetjie.

Offline Dorje

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The Paradox of Joy
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2006, 08:11:28 am »
thanks . . . can sincerely relate to this . . . i think freedom is the elimination of constricting fears . . . and the fears can be overcome responsibly . . . ride 4 freedom  :D
ildly adventurous ...

Offline OX

The Paradox of Joy
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2006, 12:19:20 pm »
My answers to this are............
I have a 300 Enduro bike which I ride regularly off road
I have a 640 which I ride mostly on dirt roads and then .............
To really get the biggest thrill I often use my buddies R6 and do a track day at kyalami. The feeling of the foot peg dragging on the tar at 160 + round the corner can not be equalled. And the best part is the guarantee that there are no pedestrians or taxi etc round the corner.
slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance this email's individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects