my earliest adventures with wheels were probably on a baby stroller i was strapped into or the pram i was pushed around the neighborhood on. maybe even the toy cars i wheeled around with my hands while crawling on all fours. however the real sense of adventure only kicks in when i had the agency to propel myself forward without any one's help. from tricycles to bicycles i quickly discovered what many call freedom. i could go anywhere and everywhere, the world was mine to explore!
'the world' might be stretching the imagination but i certainly did push the edge of my boundaries by cycling further away from my neighborhood than was permitted. the sense of independence that comes with spiriting away on a pair of wheels is magical for a newly minted human. and in hindsight i imagine this exact feeling is what we chase as grownups with these magic machines called motorcycles.
but why play in the mud?
as a playful human began with a closeness to the earth. as an urban child i didn't get to play in the mud as much as an animal in the wild or a farmer's child. but thanks to my mother being a green thumb, there were always pots and plants aplenty. and every odd weekend we'd be getting our hands dirty repotting plants.
i vividly remember eating earthworms just to freak the other kids out. my attention seeking behavior aside there was a sense of groundedness that came from playing in the mud, being connected to the soul... oops i mean soil. or was it the soul indeed?
whatever it was, that connection was slowly lost as my contact with the raw earth. wearing shoes became a socially mandated necessity and dipping one's hands in the mud was frowned upon. suddenly getting dirty was a negative thing. huh? go figure, society is crazy
this sanitized society we've come to called the civilized world soon removed all my contact with soil as i played on cement, walked on tarmac, and sat on plastic. unknowingly my soul craved for the lost connection but the world kept me busy with enough distractions.
not a commuter
in a city of gargantuan population and traumatizing traffic, it makes more sense to utilize public transport than ride or drive your own set of wheels around town. so thru my entire adult life i dismissed owning a vehicle of any sort.
the concrete jungle is an exciting space to inhabit for an enterprising young adult growing into his own, exploring connections with others and excitedly contributing to the chaos of the city. the wheels of civilization spun rapidly around me and carried me along at breakneck speed.
but the call of the wild is hard to ignore for those that dare to listen. and eventually i found myself choosing to dictate my own speed and direction. from the heady heights of the city lights, i began meandering back to terra firma, not gradually with short holidays but with aggressive escapes to the holy Himalayas for months on end.
during one such exploration, i felt the need for my own mode of personal transport across the land. enter the motorcycle!
my own pair of wheels
and in a land such as India, with radically different terrain every few hundred kilometers it was a wise decision to get an adventure ready variant so i got myself a dual sport motorcycle.
the allure of the open highway, chasing the elusive horizon, and the mesmerizing image of miles disappearing under my nose is magical no doubt but i was cut out for more chaotic experiences. and all it took was a deviation off the straight and narrow.
the first few times i found myself off-road it was entirely by error! i was silly enough to grab my motorcycle from the dealer and ride out alone on a 2500km journey with no experience or expertise. so i'd often ride off the shoulder at sharp corners and find myself upside down in the bushes. isn't this fun, i thought? as exciting as it is to stay on the road, holding that line right and tight it was equally tantalizing to go off-road! you'll note i often interchange tantalizing and terrifying without much care cuz that's how life is. what scares us also excites us in equal measure.
and thus i started seeking more time off the road, catering to that primal urge to play in the mud. yup, all those childhood memories of getting down and dirty with mud everywhere were rekindled and i felt like i'd rediscovered my fountain of youth! i was now dancing with the flighty freedom to explore unknown lands while drawn by that powerful gravity of the earth calling me to play!
this is my journey with motorcycles and mud, wanna ride with me?