Being grounded means to “give (something abstract) a firm theoretical or practical basis,” (Oxford Dictionary). Under normal riding conditions, having your motorcycle tires lose contact with the ground is an indication your ride is about to come to a grinding halt.
7 Tips for Staying Grounded
- Skills. Enjoyment and safety are inextricable. A good grounding in technical skills and operating within your skill level sets the stage for the most pleasurable experience. Learning from a qualified instructor is the best way to get started. As your confidence grows, you increase your proficiency through advanced and skill specific courses.If you’re going to learn any new skill, especially if it involves your safety, take the time to research and become educated. It shortens the learning curve and gets you going into something you enjoy.
- Health. A healthy motorcycle is one that’s in peak working order. Wondering if your bike is going to leave you stranded somewhere or damage itself or you, is distracting and detracts from your enjoyment.Keeping healthy in body, mind and spirit provides you with maximum energy to move through life. If you’re not at a healthy starting point, you don’t have the same focus and drive to direct at other interests.
- Current Reality. There are activities when you can get by with being oblivious to your surroundings. Motorcycling is not one of them. You need inputs from your self, your motorcycle, road conditions, weather, visibility and surrounding traffic.Observe anyone walking down the sidewalk, intent on a conversation with their friend, oblivious to everything else going on around them. People miss inputs all the time; sometimes with unfortunate outcomes ranging from poor decisions to accidents.
- Control. This involves literally staying connected with the ground. As a general rule, you need to keep both tires in contact with the ground at all times. Skilled, controlled moto-cross, off-road and trials riders have moments of exception. But for the most part, as my friend Max Burns advises, “A sliding motorcycle is only a problem when it’s on its side. Up to that point, you always have the option of control.”Adventure and challenges abound as you travel through life. As wonderful or difficult as it gets, choosing to be in control (to the extent that anyone can be in control) maintains perspective, momentum and focus.
- Feedback. You sharpen your skills through third-party feedback – be it an instructor, another rider, your motorcycle, road conditions or your own sense of awareness. Having the skills is a start; being receptive means being able to respond appropriately.Friends, colleagues and teachers are all sources of constructive feedback.Being open and receptive helps you grow personally and professionally. Conversely, even well-intentioned advice can be ill-advised. Your intuition has an excellent filter for detecting good advice from bad. In any case, remain grateful that others care enough to comment.
- Balance. There are times when it feels like life is passing by so quickly, you lose your grounding. These are the times when you need to stop, put your foot down to maintain balance and recharge your batteries before you proceed. Especially when you’re learning to ride – you need to rest more frequently.Everyone goes through rough spots and encounters bumps on the road of life. During these times, it’s even more important to make sure you’re looking after yourself. Outcomes of losing balance range from excessive fatigue to physical, mental and emotional illness.
- Foundation. Being grounded is really the foundation on which all other riding experiences evolve. Acquiring the technical, physical and mental skills, combined with a healthy attitude, bode well for many years of amazing riding experiences!Keeping body, mind and spirit grounded and balanced, is essential to your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.During times of change, which is constant, it’s particularly important to make sure you’re looking after yourself. Like motorcycling, when you take on too much, you have to stop and lessen your load to stay balanced. Tweet quote.
Some habits are easier to establish than others. Staying grounded, while simple in theory, is more challenging when it comes to integrating into your daily life. Perhaps the most important habit is taking the time to reflect on your present reality and determine where adjustments need to be made.