Life Lessons from motorcycles is a series exploring the lessons we learn through riding.
Here we examine the 7 ways our bikes speak to us about balance.
Motorcycle: If we can’t balance our bike, we’re going to fall over. Sooner rather than later. It’s the first lesson in the CSC (Canada Safety Council) basic rider course.
Lesson: Maintaining a healthy balance between body, mind and spirit is essential to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Disproportionate focus on one area of our life at the expense of another is hazardous to our health.
If we don’t respond to physical signs and our intuition, we increase our potential for developing an illness or having an accident.
Sometimes, we just need to put our foot down! Click to tweet quote.
Motorcycle: Wheels that are out of balance present a safety risk, cause uneven and accelerated tire wear. Frequent riding through rough conditions such as construction, washboard roads can cause wheels to become unbalanced.
Lesson: We all go through rough spots and encounter bumps on the road of life. During these times, it’s even more important to make sure we’re looking after ourselves. Outcomes range from excessive fatigue to physical, mental and emotional illness.
Motorcycle: Keeping your eyes on where you want to go is key to staying balanced, especially at slow speeds. Allowing distractions to take your eyes away from your path will cause you to lose your focus. This is risky for many reasons, including maintaining stability. .
Lesson: Staying focused on our goals, maintaining priorities and not caving in to out-of-scope distractions helps keep us in balance.
Motorcycle: At no time is this challenge more evident than when packing for a trip and trying to methodically cram all our gear into two saddlebags. A lopsided load makes the bike harder to handle, affects performance and requires more energy from the rider. Being creative and keeping the weight, and center of gravity, as low and close to bike and rider as possible makes the weight easier to manage.
Lesson: Taking on additional responsibilities, whether we choose them or the Universe delivers them to us, can create stress, anxiety, fatigue and illness. Learning to recognize the signs, drawing on alternative resources and jettisoning that which isn’t necessary can alleviate the pressure we feel.
Motorcycle: Proficient use of controls is essential for maintaining balance, especially at slow speeds. Sudden application of brakes, coming to an uncontrolled stop or using the front brakes on slow speed turns will give us a crash course.
Lesson: Knowing our strengths and using them wisely keeps us upright. Understanding and reminding ourselves that we control our own power builds confidence and allows us to grow. Remaining vigilant to disruptive thoughts and behaviours and the effect of external influences helps us maintain control of our life.
Dealing with Change
Motorcycle: The weather changes so we go into our luggage and remove or add to the gear we’re wearing. We pick up something along the way or agree to carry something for someone else. It’s easy to inadvertently change the load distribution, especially if we’re rushed.
Lesson: We’ve heard it often enough: Change is the only constant. The frequency of nature of the change, although potentially disruptive, isn’t the main concern. How we respond to it is and determines whether or not we remain balanced.
Stop, Assess and Adjust load
Motorcycle: Wheel vibration or difficulty in handling the bike are indicators that we may be out of balance. Sometimes we need to stop right where we are, assess the situation and take corrective action before proceeding. Otherwise, we place ourselves in peril.
Lesson: There are times we need to stop what we’re doing and evaluate the situation. We may need to make difficult choices on people and activities that stay in our life and those that go.
When we’re out of balance on our motorcycle the feedback is immediate and the consequences potentially devastating. The effects of being out of balance in our personal life can be harder to recognize and take longer to surface, but can hinder us just as much. Let’s take a lesson from our bikes and check in periodically to make sure we’re managing all that’s asked of us, including mindfully caring for our Self.