Sunday, March 29, 2009

All In

... borrowing a phrase from America's favorite inactivity, I am "all in" with my FJR. I have committed 100% to it as my primary mode of transportation. For the first time in ten years of riding, the motorcycle is not a second vehicle -- it is the only vehicle. This has caused a significant shift in my own riding psychology.

Poker players take great risks when they go all in. But the potential rewards are equally great. So it is with motorcycling. Every time I put on the gear, shift into first, and roll back on the throttle, I am making a calculated risk against the pot of sheer exuberance that it returns. But also like those gamblers, the risk is not one made lightly or in ignorance. The player scrutinizes his opponents reading the potentially hidden potholes, oil slicks, and oncoming cars in their visage. He takes in the knowns -- the flop, turn, and river of corner radius, velocity, braking, lean angle, and weather conditions. All of these factors are carefully weighed; the potential returns are computed. And then the player commits.

Every decision on every ride is a balance of risk versus reward. And sometimes folding is the better part of valor. Deciding to wait out a rainstorm instead of riding through it. Choosing to pull over and rest instead of pushing on. Holding back in the lane at 65 instead of splitting lanes to gain that small advantage. Only a significant accumulation of seat time can grant that insight. You have to pay to play.

"I'm all in."

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