To address the emails the multitude of emails, texts, and comments…
I, Brian Swichkow, do solely swear to “be careful” and “not die” while riding Piper (aka ‘my Ducati’). I will wear appropriate safety equipment (helmet, jacket, pants, boots, gloves, etc.) at all times. I promise to ride sober and within my limits at all times while obeying (most of) the rules of the road.
My parents, having been extremely vocal about their concerns the majority of my life, were unusually silent and I suspect they knew I’d respond with “I know, you’ve told me.” They’re likely (slightly) comforted knowing I have an army of people echoing their concerns.
Riding into the cafe today, I had an unexpectedly powerful realization.
I left the house super early to ensure there’d be less traffic to navigate and took a detour down Venice Blvd. (long straightaway with a lot of lights) to focus on clutching into first gear without stalling. I wanted to get comfortable with operating the bike.
King M. saw me struggle with this while leaving lunch yesterday 🙂
At three points on this two mile journey, people tried to challenge me to a race. Apparently having a bright red, insanely loud, motorcycle communicates that message. Who knew?
Having let the speedsters enjoy their throttle alone (and not stalling at any of the lights), I arrived with an unusual sense calm. It didn’t take me long to understand why.
I was no longer reliant on someone else to get me where I was going.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit every day to avoid wasting their bandwidth on the activity. While the financial costs of using Uber as my sole means of transport weren’t massively expensive by comparison, the mental costs were substantial.
I had to wait for someone to pick me up, my driver (or the other people in my pool) always wanted to talk, and the payments were continuous (ever ride vs. a monthly payment). Now riding twice daily at a minimum, the mental bandwidth that this consumed was beyond substantial — it was draining. Facing burnout, I needed to regain control.
While the purchase of a motorcycle has been a long time coming, the charge brought by the freedoms Piper affords were unexpectedly powerful. Lack of confinement creates ultimate freedom. You don’t need a motorcycle for this, it’s a state of mind.
If you’ve ever taken the MSF course you’ll know that listening to music while riding is a terrible idea. In fact, as they state often and with great emphasis, “safe riding is as much a skill of the eyes and mind as it is of the hands and feet.” Lose your ears, lose your life.
The roar of the engine and wind hitting my chest fosters a state of freedom in my mind. The same state can be reached with surfing at the beach, running through the woods, or meditating… anywhere. Your mental bandwidth is precious, preserve.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and do an audit. What action, experience, person, etc. is consistently taxing your bandwidth? Have you worked to plug that hole?