Mindspace, Or The Dangers Of Wind Therapy

scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
710
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
A good friend of mine is an avid runner. When someone asked him how long does he run for, he shrugs and replies, 'about 2 hours'. That's followed by the obligatory, 'how many miles is that?' With another shrug he answered, 'it doesn't matter. I run for mindspace.'

His answer got me thinking that a lot of riders do the same. Riding has been called wind therapy. A way to get away, to be just by yourself and disconnect from the world. I've done it tons of times, an even my wife, who just enjoys riding 2up with me, demands rides for the same reason.

But, is there a down, if not dangerous side, to this? The past few weeks I've caught myself woolgathering as I ride -- deep in thought on what's going on in my life that I was almost unaware of riding. That's not good. I was told that the most dangerous years for riding are the 1st, and the 5th. The 1st because you're new, but the 5th because a rider has grown complacent. I'm on my 7th, and I'm realizing I'm falling into such a groove. I'm hoping by posting this thread I'll openly remind myself of such a dilemma.

Anyone experience similar things?

- Wuf
 
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R-Rated

Have Fun!
Aug 4, 2016
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First the funny, then the serious. Your comment about complacency reminds me of a riding pal and me at a baseball game horsing around. He yelled at the center fielder that the player was getting complacent and we knew conplacency when we see it, we just don't say much about it because we get used to it.

It cracked me up.

Now the serious, complacency is dangerous when operating any machinery. The challenge of riding to clear the mind is to stay engaged enough to be aware of your surroundings.

Here is one thing I do. Ride for two hours with no destination in mind, just a general direction. When you get to an intersection and have to stop, look at a clock. If the last digit is even turn right, odd turn left. When the 2 hours is up, let the GPS find your fastest route home.

Plus you can something to it like take photos of closed businesses and wonder why they closed.

Good luck with it! We try to achieve nirvana while riding but the real world still will try to throw us off.
 

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
348
231
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26
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
Yes complacency could be very dangerous. Here lately I've found myself drifting off into space during my commute and sometimes I'll completely tune out. I'm not sure if the heat is making me feel more fatigued, or if it's just complacency. More than likely a mixture of both. My real wake up call happened a few days ago when a cager crossed three lanes of traffic to take an exit and almost took me out. I was off and la-la land and almost didn't see it in time. Normally I'm on my toes in heavy traffic like that. But like I said, combined heat fatigue and complacency makes for a bad situation. Definitely need to keep your eyes and mind in the game. Most of my "deep thinking" comes from finding a nice shady spot with no one around to sit next to my bike and think & pray.
 
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scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
710
490
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
I think I zone out more when no one is on the road with me, creating a sense of isolation with no potential danger from anything around. Oddly, enough motovloging keeps me on my toes because I tend to talk about my surrounding, or what's happening as I'm riding.

- Wuf
 

EDcase

-=RC8=-
Jan 26, 2016
615
428
63
SouthEast UK
I ride a
KTM RC8 Putytat
I ride for the sheer excitement. (weekend fun only for me, no commuting)
I do appreciate my surroundings when I'm stuck going slow and can't overtake for safety reasons but that doesn't last long.

I'm most happy when I'm concentrating on the (empty) twisty road ahead. (I hate straight roads)

It is a kind of therapy or escapism because in those moments there is pure concentration on the road, the bike and no wandering thoughts of anything else.

Maybe you just have to ride a bit faster ;)
 
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F4celess

Cold
Dec 20, 2015
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Yamaha Fazer
This might not be too relevant, but I think part of the reason we space out on the road is the same as for why we feel that time passes more quickly as we age. We get used to the information we process.
When you are young, every experience is a new one and your mind has to spend a lot of time chewing on it, over time you experience the same things over and over, your mind gets used to most of the impressions and starts to effortlessly deal with it and move on, in other words, as you age, you experience less. Fewer things to think of makes it easy to just go numb and let time pass. In the end you have no noteworthy recent memories to think of and time seemingly accelerate when you look back.
Now apply this to driving on the road, commuting on the same stretch over and over surely lets your mind focus a little less on the actual road, leaving some room for mindwandering while also being reasonably cautious. I get this a lot when driving. My Moto license is too fresh to get that so I dunno how I do when riding, but I know it will appear sooner or later.

Riding to me is the same as flying, something that takes effort and clears the mind, for now. I think it's okay when I begin to process ideas while riding when that time comes.
 

scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
710
490
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
Great point. My wife just observed how fast our summer is going by, but I felt the opposite. Looking back I realize how I'm doing many new and different things this year -- motovlogging, and going to new and different places. I've made 4 short films (and trying to get them into festival), and doing more writing. There's a lot my mind is processing, while my wife prefers to keep a solid routine of things.
That may account for our different perceptions.

- Wolf
 

WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
249
173
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29
South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
I feel maybe what you should do, is go for a ride to the middle of nowhere. Then pull over and just take it in. Even if you stop on the literal side of the road.

I'm generally not in deep thought, as its happened too many times that I'm somewhere else while riding and something happens that snaps me out of it.

I think you also might need to make a conscious effort to not get super lost in your thoughts.

Years ago, I was thinking about an upcoming exam while riding. The road curved left, I went straight over an island into oncoming traffic. I was lucky that oncoming traffic stopped in time. It was a hard lesson learned.
 

F4celess

Cold
Dec 20, 2015
552
359
63
27
I ride a
Yamaha Fazer
Considering my previous post, I'd say it is more or less safe to space out a little IF you are driving/riding on a road you know well and have driven many times. When you are exploring all hands should be on deck for spotting roadly hazards and new driving patterns.
 

Lurch

Administrator
May 5, 2014
5,534
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2016 Street Triple R and a 1999 Honda NT650V Deauville
Probably worse that, you'll get overly complacent as you think you know the road and forget that people might emerge from normally quiet turnings
 

scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
710
490
63
Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
It's a good reminder that riding is active (2-Wheel) and driving is passive (4-Wheel). The Mndspace thing isn't the normal, but more the every so often. The worst that's happened to me is I've missed a turn, but I hope to let it stop there.

- Wuf
 

WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
249
173
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South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
Probably worse that, you'll get overly complacent as you think you know the road and forget that people might emerge from normally quiet turnings
Especially true if you ride through a residential area.

Remember that if you assume the roads are quiet and you can cut corners, someone else thinks the same.
 

SighBored

@thesighbored
Jan 18, 2015
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2012 Kawasaki ZX-6R
Hmm. When I ride, I'm focused on the ride itself, my mind doesn't space out on other things. For some, this is what we want - not to think about anything else but just focused on the ride, this is our way of getting a disconnect from the hustle of everyday life. I must say having your mind wonder while you are riding can be dangerous, cause no matter how trivial you might feel you are pondering about something, it's definitely taking up processing power of your brain, that will definitely lead to some lack of focus/alertness, which might get you into an accident or crash.
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
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I ride a
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most accidents happen within 2 miles of your home/work address so complacency is an issue. I just ride for fun really, so tend to concentrate on that rather than real life bollox
 
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