In another thread, the discussion shifted to the differences between riding styles. Specifically, another rider asked "How can you ride a thousand miles a day and actually enjoy or experience the places you are passing through?"
I thought that was a great question, and worthy of further discussion.
So let's see if we can get others to chime in and answer the question "What does riding mean too you?"
For some riders, the whole idea of a ride is to go and see things, using the bike as their method of transportation. Their journey is incidental to their sightseeing. That's fine, for them, but it's not me.
My ideal is simply to ride. To move through space and time on two wheels.
The destination is inconsequential. It's all about being in motion, and being in control of your own destiny while everything else just melts away behind you.
is the purpose; the destination is almost irrelevant.
Their focus is "When are we gonna get there?" My focus is "Where can I go next?"
That's as simple as I can put it.
And it opens up a million possibilities, when you look at a map and realize that anything, anywhere is within reach. I can be in any state or province within a day's ride or two. That expands your world in real and visceral ways.
I once rode from Reno to Atlanta to test two competing claims about "The world's best hamburger." Of course, the hamburger was merely an excuse. It could've been in Birmingham, or DC, or Toronto, or Coeur d'Alene. It doesn't matter. What does matter is the width and breadth and diversity of the states and provinces that I rode through and experienced.
I can tell you the difference between a steady Oregon drizzle and a sudden Florida summer shower. The difference between the oven heat of Death Valley at noon and the sauna that is the southeast on a fall morning. I know the difference in smell of an Adirondack spruce, a Sierra Nevada sequoia, and a Humboldt redwood. I can compare architecture and cityscape and traffic density between N.Y., Chicago, Montreal, Boston, Dallas, Cleveland, Portland, and L.A. All the while being in motion and in control of my immediate destiny.
And all of that ignores the myriad of places I've ridden across Europe and Asia. That's a whole different chapter, or perhaps a book in itself.
Now, I'm not against a local day or weekend ride, to see some particularly interesting attraction. Or to just run out and grab a meal and catch up with friends. I even use my bike for grocery runs and all manner of local errands (You pretty much have to when you haven't owned a car for 20+ years). But that's merely utility, as opposed to Riding.
But once you expand your horizons, then you quickly find that anyplace, anywhere, any time is fair game. The possibilities are endless, and they extend well beyond your local county or state. Just pick a destination, any destination, and go.
That's what riding means to me.