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April 16, 2014
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The biker’s way; Motorcycling is a frame of mind


That was the moment when I suddenly realized that these people, and others like them, were really on to something here, something the rest of us can only hope to find at some point on our journey through life.

Most of us are taught—indoctrinated, really—to plan, to analyze, to set concrete, measurable goals and engineer our way toward attaining each in turn. Study so you can get good grades. Get good grades so you’ll be accepted into a prestigious college. Go to college so you can land a lucrative job. Work hard so you can acquire the things you desire. Acquire those things so you can… what?

Enjoy life?

So “the one who dies with the most stuff wins?”

We are conditioned to approach life as a series of milestones. “Keep your eye on the ball,” we are incessantly enjoined.

“Plan your life and live your plan.”

How easy it is, with our eyes so fixedly glued on some nebulous destination, to totally ignore the rich and varied scape along the way.

So, does this mean you have to sell that minivan, buy a Harley and set off on a cross-country jaunt like “Easy Rider” in order to be happy?

Of course not. What brings one person joy would bring another only discomfort. Viennese psychiatrist and author W. Béran Wolfe wrote: “If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.”

The mantra of “bigger,” “better,” “more,” “flip this house”… is utterly inimical to the true biker mentality. While most of the bikers I interviewed clearly lavished great effort on maintaining and accessorizing their vehicles, almost none seemed at all inclined to “trade up” every couple of years. Rather than seeking fulfillment in that next acquisition, these people are completely focused on enjoying and appreciating what they already have.

Living in the here and now. What a concept!

As I pondered this avalanche of profundity on that sunny Sunday afternoon at the Baer Open House, I suddenly realized something: I wasn’t sure at first, so I started looking around, and sure enough, I was

right…

Nowhere in this gathering of several hundred people did I spy a single individual chatting on a cell phone, texting some far-away phantom, or surfing the web. I saw nobody videoing the event for future analysis. They were there, for goodness sake. Completely. Wholeheartedly. They were with the people they loved.