Seriously unlike a new motorcycle, life is not under warranty. I need to be reminded of that from time to time and to learn, over and over, how to live with uncertainty. Riding brings it home.

Riding a motorcycle has a number of virtues that are sensible and common - you save on gas, you can park almost anywhere with no trouble, they're relatively inexpensive compared to a car, even the insurance can be less than a car, they are less expensive to maintain and repair. Nice sane virtues, eh?

Let's just skip the downside and get to the real reasons for riding. It's dangerous and makes you feel alive. A lot of sports are dangerous and that's a part of the thrill. Actually feeling your heart beat and the adrenaline rush is kind of addictive. Most parts of our lives are safe, sane, cautious and/or plain flat out boring. It's hard to feel alive in a cocoon.

But even running an errand can bring you back to life - if you ride. A car is just another cage (car fanatics will disagree, but something with 4 or more wheels just doesn't do the trick) and while they're great for carrying a ton of groceries and all the kids, they're mostly like sofas on wheels. You know, get in your cage, roll up all the windows, turn on the air or heat, jack up the 24 speaker cd system and float away. Get totally insulated from the world around you.

On a bike you are embedded in the world. You know you're on a machine - and you are on it not wrapped up inside it. You are embedded in the machine, you're the bike's intelligence and your whole body is involved in making it all work. This is very different than driving a car (racers excepted, of course). Sure you can ride a motorcycle and be absent which does cause a lot of mishaps, but usually the ride demands that you pay attention, that you stay in the present, in the now of you, bike and road.