Is it possible for Motorcyclists to be MORE in touch with the road, nature, the Earth than other motorists?
You may have heard that I have joined the ranks of the motorcycle commuters, who are attempting to save gas money by switching from four wheels to two.
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Actually, there are other more health conscious staff members who have converted to bicycling, but that's another topic!
I have started commuting on an old 1982 Honda on good days, when it is clear and no storms are expected. So far, this has gone well, and I've not been caught in the rain, but high temperatures during the day have made the commute into work more challenging.
Since I had cycled briefly back in the summer of 1980 for a while, I had forgotten one of the pleasures of being so open to the air.
No, I'm not talking about bugs smacking into your legs, helmet or windshield... I'm talking about smells.
We all have an image of a biker being a large beefy guy wearing a leather jacket and riding a big hog. When he pulls up along side of you, you want to look the other way to avoid offending him. And the smell of leather being worn day in and day out in the high heat... well, those aren't the smells that I'm talking about.
What I notice most, besides getting 67 miles to the gallon and filling up a 3 gallon tank for $13, is the smells of the countryside.
The open air exposure brings me more smells than I had remembered.
Wood smoke, grass, farm manure, river bed, animals, road kill, crops, gasoline, exhaust, green forests, hot pavement.
I know, some of these aren't pleasant, and some are not smells, but images that pop-up when I smell something unidentifiable.
I'd like to think that it keeps me more aware than others to smell these natural outdoors smells while cycling. But that would sound superior, and that's not my point.
Other than when the temperature is 94, you might try an experiment. Try driving slower on the roads, with your windows down. True, it may not be good fuel efficient behavior, but the smell of the countryside is truly breathtaking. Try it!