St. Louis, MO
Posted - 02/02/2011 : 10:02 AM
In the BRC Update Ray Ochs trotted about the country giving in the beginning, one of the Powerpoint slides informed us, "The key to becoming more effective is not simply to find a specific methodology or technique, but to...Grasp what actually happens during learning." The impression M$F gives is that it does understand what really happens during learning - hence the BRC's vastly different approach over the RSS.
But, it seems to me, that is jumping the gun - ignoring something we believe is obvious and universally understood but upon examination turns out I don't think it is. Do we "grasp what actually happens during" riding itself? Have we ever thought about the experience of riding and can we remember what it felt like to learn to ride ourselves?
That's what I challenge each of you to do today - to think about the ride and what it is in itself. I am very conscious of the old saying, "If I have to explain..." and yet, I think it is key that we try, at least, to describe to ourselves what it is to ride. Not what it means but what it feels like, what is happening while we ride.
I will do what I ask you to do. Of course, this is my experience, but I believe, has universal aspects to it.
The act of riding is of a piece. It *is*. Just *is*. The feel of acceleration and deceleration in my body that other old biker adage, "the freedom of the wind." The feel of the bike responding to the road and to my actions. How active my mind is the constant decision making process, the choices and executing them. The automatic adjustments in balance, the feel of the lean, the awareness of the tires and road and bike beneath me. The automatic unconscious operation of shift/clutch and brakes. I think it and it is so. I am not even aware that I think it and it is so. I respond to the environment and the bike responds to me. I am the bike and the bike is me. I am one with the environment. I move in it not through it. To get on a bike, to start to move the world changes I am part of it as I rarely experience otherwise. I am aware. AWARE on so many levels, integrated, whole. PRESENT in the moment. I am the ride, the ride is me...If I have to explain...
But let me try another way: When I think of the act of riding I think of three basic components (in no particular order): speed/acceleration-deceleration, balance and control. While these are separate, they are always in conjunction with each other, which is to say that one without the others loses some relevance. I.e., Balance is part of control but not identical to it and Speed is related to control and balance and no one part means much without the other two.
Action affects sensation roll on the throttle or apply the brakes or shift weight and it creates a physical effect and that physical effect relays information to the brain and affects our actions. It's of a piece.
Of course, this is not how we experienced riding when we began. It was still all there, still all related on that deep, essential level, but we didn't experience the unity of it not without a great many miles and hours of riding. But just because, in the beginning, we're aware of one element - control - or speed - or balance over another, just because we pay more attention to what should we do and how to do it doesn't mean that the essential unity isn't there.
Why am I talking about what riding actually is? Because it makes a huge difference in how someone learns to ride. Something the non-riders, or bad-riders, or hardly-ever-riders at M$F and so called, self-styled expert instructors fail to realize.