Get on your bike and go away.

“Get on your bike and go away. Go far enough so that your bike is the only familiar thing is sight.”

-Maynard Hershon, Open Wide, City Bike, March 2010

I was riding my bike home from work this morning and passed three guys on their motorcycles going somewhere. Then I passed a guy on a Harley. He was also going somewhere. I suppose I was going somewhere too, but I was actually commuting. The difference of course, is that I’m just riding repetitively from one place to another and back again. Mr. Hershon calls that using a motorcycle as a “tool.” I’m inclined to agree.

Logging in to BARF with spring in full swing I see the pages filling with the usual posts about weekend exploits on 9, other rider’s poor abilities, and questions about who stacked on Skaggs. Mostly ignoring those threads for some with a less chance for predictable conversation, I began to wonder…

Where were those guys going this morning? Were they headed to Skaggs? Berryessa? The coast? Where else? As I pondered all the possibilities the answer floats into my mind. It doesn’t matter where, so long as it’s somewhere else. No, not the selfish “get away from me! Locals only!” crap, but “I hope they’re headed somewhere new.” Somewhere else. The Bay Area has so many good roads, California with tens-of-thousands of miles of ‘em, and the Western States with untold new adventures, why would anyone settle for the same thing day in, and day out?

I thought about posting a challenge of sorts, to see who could post a picture from thisĀ  upcoming summer from the farthest geographical location s/he rode to. Then I realized I don’t have a big trip planned a would surely lose to one of those hardcore types in the Sport-Touring and Adventure Riding sub-forums. Nobody wants to post a challenge if there’s no chance of winning it ourselves, do we?

Over a deli sandwich on this wonderous spring day, sitting under the umbrella in the sprouting garden, I opened the latest issue of City Bike to one of the few articles I hadn’t read and it was all spelled out for me- my thoughts written by someone far moreĀ  capable of putting meaningful words to use, saying pretty much what I was thinking.

He said “Get on your bike and go away. Go far enough so that your bike is the only familiar thing is sight.”

I would have said it slightly differently, but it means the same thing. I would have said “Go somewhere else.”

As in, “take a chance and go somewhere you haven’t been, might need a map, and certainly don’t know anyone.”

Mr. Hershon’s article says it way better than I can, and you should read it. But until you find a copy (it’s not available at CityBike.com yet) think about that excitement you had when you first started riding. The newness of the experience. The freedom and independence you felt. You can still have all that. All you have to do is “go somewhere else.”

Or as Mr. Hershon put it:
“Get on your bike and go away.”