When I was a kid my parents bought me a stingray style bicycle that we called a muscle bike. With a can of cheap green spray paint, a leopard patterned banana seat, and high handlebars, I went to work updating. Attaching handlebar streamers to the hand grips and playing cards with clothe-pins to the frame, the streamers flapped and playing cards blade slapped the spokes as the wheel moved. In my imagination, my muscle bike sound a bit like a motor.
After graduation from the university, I toured through India with a music group. Before going there, my mentor had given me the name and address of a good friend from the time he lived in Long Island, NY, and asked if I’d stop by in New Delhi to say hello if I had a chance.
One night in Delhi, I borrowed a Royal Enfield Motorcycle and drove to where she lived. I didn’t have a motorcycle license and hadn’t ridden a motorcycle. It’s dangerous to ride without training, and crazy to ride a motorcycle in India, but at 22 I felt invincible; I mounted the bike and took off through the streets of New Delhi dodging animals and people.
I found where she lived, knocked on the door, and told her why I was there. She invited me in for tea and we talked.
After that day, I didn’t ride a motorcycle again until I was 46 years old; but from that night in India until the time I bought my first Harley Davidson motorcycle, I have cherished that memory and the thrilling experience of riding the bike dodging goats, cows, and people.… read more...
With appreciation for your summary of YOGA & LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers (Starting Oct. 9th)
” . . . to improve the health and wellbeing of motorcyclists.” Yep, that’s it!
If ANY OF YOU have interest in Yoga for Bikers, a program at Superstition Harley Davidson now in its third year, here is a reminder of October’s yoga and bike events:
Wednesday October 9, 4:30 pm in the Eagle’s Nest
Wednesday October 23, 4:30 pm in the Eagle’s Nest
Sunday October 27, 10:30 am starting in the West Parking lot at SHD
Each year there are slight changes. This year, we’ll focus on a breath-centric class and slow movements in ease.
The “STRETCH RIDE” will take place the LAST Sunday of every month, starting at 10:30. We’ll ride a short distance to a green or desert space and there spend 15-20 minutes in breath awareness and quiet. Then we use the bikes for a few “stretch poses.” Motorcycles are perfect for this, they are stable props but also transfer us from place to place. The “stretches” are portable too.
What you do in Yoga for Bikers:
This beginner level class is offered to riders to stretch the areas where we feel tightness: hips, shoulders, back, and neck.
The purpose is to keep riders in the saddle longer by working gently toward flexibility and balance. This means longer at a time, but more importantly, longer for life.
The side benefit of all yoga is learning to be at ease in the midst of stress.… read more...
I took part in the world’s largest charitable motorcycle event for owners of classic and vintage styled bikes on Sunday September 29th, 2019. This event, called the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, brings together over 113,000 well dressed riders on sweet, small bikes raising 5 million dollars in 700+ cities for men’s health across 110+ countries.
The goal for the once a year DGR is to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research – and men’s mental health – on behalf of charity partner the Movember Foundation. Next year, I’ll see if anyone wants to join me for this worthy cause and fun ride through Phoenix. A few photos tell the story of this event, which started at Four Till Four Coffee in Scottsdale with 218 registered bikes. It ended at Sazerac in downtown Phoenix.
REASONS to ride, or to donate:
It feels good to contribute to a good cause.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, taking 307,000 every year.
75 percent of all suicides are men too, taking one every minute (510,000) each year, most of them in the 20-39 age range.
Why don’t you get your CAFE RACER out of the barn and join me and over 200 others next year as Distinguished Gentlemen and Gentlewomen ride for a cause! AND . . . if you don’t have a cafe racer or vintage bike . . . rent a scooter 🙂
Every day, evaluate your riding. It’s a habit I picked up from my days as a MSF rider/coach in Hawaii. I’d tell students one way to improve is to ask themselves how they did on the road when they were home and the bike was parked. And then I started doing that in a deliberate way.
When I looked honestly at my riding, I noticed that I made mistakes. Mostly, they were mistakes of assumption or judgment. I’d assume too often that the person in the right-turn lane really was going to make a right turn. Sometimes auto drivers change their minds at the last minute (can you believe it) and veer into another lane. If you are in that lane, riding alongside them, you might be hit. I’ve assumed too many times and there is my point.
It’s not hard to evaluate our riding, and if you need an idea, imagine you have a 16 year old son or daughter taking up riding and one day they ask you for riding tips.
Do you have some to share … and I mean fresh tips? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your assumptions and actions. Believe me, I’m not a perfect rider, but I’m working at getting better by ongoing evaluation.
Skill development is important, but even more important is judgment on the road. We may think we have great riding skills that allow us to get out of dangerous situations, but the rider with great judgment skills is better prepared for the road because their judgment will not let them get into a situation where they have to rely on great riding skills for escape.… read more...
Slow Down and Breathe
Yogis have been attempting to articulate the importance of pranayama for centuries, and the effort is still relevant because when a person starts yoga it doesn’t take long for them to realize its a breath centric practice which changes everything.
The practice of pranayama is an important observance by itself, but is often done in haste, as if a couple minutes at the beginning of class is sufficient warm-up for the real work of asana.
Patanjali wrote, by the right control of breath, we overcome ignorance. Breath work is a hallmark of the yogi’s intelligence, and control of breath is intimately linked to the yogi’s heightened awareness of biological and cosmic forces.
Approaches to Pranayama
It’s important to concentrate on breath or prana as a distinct activity with its own benefits and techniques as well as a guiding anchor for asana. Some yoga practices start with pranayama before asana while others pay attention to activating and sustaining ujaii breath throughout asana and pause occasionally to work on pranayama.
Another option is to end practice with a breathing set. But to fully activate the vital life force, central to building the foundation for yoga and life, attention to breath throughout must be paid.
Pranayama isn’t something to rush through in order to get to asana. One 80 year old man I know got the right idea after his first-ever yoga class at YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers. His replacement knees made it difficult for him to bend, and his large body ached, but he did the pranayama exercises – practicing inhale and exhale – while observing others do asana.… read more...