In a former life (a couple of years ago), I was a corporate pilot flying executives around the country in Beechcraft King Air’s. One of the things I enjoyed about flying, was trying to make the entire flight go perfect. Managing all the risks, using all my skills, knowledge, and experience, with the end result of the perfectly executed flight. I enjoy many of the same things on my motorcycle.
|Beechcraft King Air 350|
As a corporate pilot I often flew to the same destinations, via the same routes. I never got bored with that because no two flights were ever exactly the same. The temperature changed, the load was different, the weather changed (sometimes drastically!), and I always had to be ready because today might just be the day that the left engine quits on takeoff in the King Air 350. In fact, one excellent simulator instructor I had, told me to always tell myself as I lined up on the runway for takeoff, that today is the day my engine will fail. He told me that if I would say that to myself on every takeoff, and think through my procedures, then, if and when it ever did happen, it would not come as a surprise, and I would be in the proper frame of mind to immediately execute the correct procedures and survive to fly again another day. He was right on with his advice, and I put his advice into practice as part of my normal flight procedures so that I would be prepared.
Being mentally prepared for the unknown is important on the motorcycle as well. I have to assume that the blue hair is not going to see me and is going to turn left in front of me. I have to assume as I begin to crest a hill that there will be a vehicle stopped in the lane waiting to turn into a driveway. If I expect these obstacles to be there then I will be mentally and physically prepared to deal with them. My fingers will already be covering the front brake lever and clutch, and my right foot will already be off the floorboard and prepared to push the rear brake pedal. My speed will also be slow enough to be able to stop, if needed. If the obstacle is not there, then I am out nothing. I still get to enjoy the smooth acceleration of bringing the bike back up to speed once I am assured the danger has passed. I enjoy managing the risks and thinking through and applying all the perfect inputs such as counter steering, lean, ride line, coordinated braking, and smooth acceleration, that all work together, to make the perfect ride.
Two completely different hobbies, but they are very similar in many ways as well. Ultimately, I find there is a certain unequalled satisfaction for me in riding the perfect ride. It takes thought, and concentration, and knowledge, and experience. The end result is perfection and satisfaction. And, while I am concentrating on the perfect ride, I am not thinking about the to-do list I still need to complete, or any of the other obligations of life. No, once again, even if only for a little while, I am living in the moment, and just enjoying the ride.