As a motorcyclist I enjoy putting the visor down, shutting the noise of the mundane day-to-day out, and reconnecting with the natural world via a good ride.  I love the solitary nature of motorcycling and enjoy spending time on my own.  I even write a bit of amateur poetry on occasion:

A motorcycle & an open road…

Within a suburban straight jacket

Revs a guttural growl

Transforming fastened tarmac straps

Into flight paths of the Soul.

Like murmuring birds 

Caught up in the wind

Where skyward is home 

And ground level’s the risk,

I embark on a ride.

Smooth curving roads 

Smile like Cheshire Cats

Beckoning indulgence,

Perseverance, and discovery.

The air, trees and sea,

The rolling hills,

Gas in the tank,

All mix like paint 

Morphing into 

A masterpiece 

For what’s to come. 

Astride this rumbling vortex

That sparked life awake

With a twist of the key,

Primed intelligent hands 

Weald the engines

Magnanimous roar.

Body,

Bike,

Modern day centaur.

I also wonder about the deeper meaning of motorcycling whilst riding.  I don’t mean to omit you, ladies, here but I am involved in therapeutic work with groups of men, and that is a particular interest area for me.  It is obvious that motorcycling is a predominantly male activity.  Isn’t it a perfect activity for us to escape and be unreachable?  I find I can really relax when I’m not having to fend off emotional demands of me, battle with thoughts about my next work project or, dare I say here, answer my own inner critics about whether I’m measuring up thus far in life in my early 40’s.

The men’s group work I have been involved in since my early 20’s runs on the premise that we men can often benefit from active guidance in engaging with our inner worlds and through doing that we can be helped to mature.  In our society, in general, we are told that it’s not OK to have feelings as men.  The age-old adage that “big boys don’t cry” and phrases such as “man up!” have been with us since the schoolyard.  One of the things I recognised with some of the training with ELAM was the regulated approach they had towards getting on a bike, which appealed to me greatly.  It was lovely to see there was a nod to this of sorts in one of the last S’s of the POWERS anonym under SELF!

I pitch here in this article some questions for some of you that I hope might be thought-provoking.  

  • Many of us know how to adjust our suspension for a ride… How good are we at facing a difficult feeling so we are able to head out on the next ride with a clear mind?
  • Many of us will know one bike brand from the next… How many of us can say clearly what our personal ideal image of being male looks like, taking into consideration ours and our partners needs and visions?  
  • Many of us have a good understanding of the Highway Code… How many of us are able to give an emotional stop sign to others when we need to, or a green light when we really want to let someone in?

I shall be starting up a motorcycle Men’s group entitled “Men, Motorcycles & Meaning” in the New Year.  We will ride out together to a pre-booked venue and spend time looking at some of these questions providing a space to explore, connect and enjoy the good company of one another.  Please get in touch if you think you might be interested!  I can be contacted via my email arranknight@hotmail.com or on the community Whatsapp group.