Three Reasons Why Motorcycles Are So Vital To My Sanity

A day without motorcycles is a miserable one.

A day without riding is surely horrible, but so is a day without writing about motorcycles, reading about them, or wrenching on them.

All forms are pure passion and obsession, two elements that combine to create the high amounts of energy I have for everyday life—but sometimes life throws a proverbial wrench into your magnesium wheels, and most of the two-wheel elements in life come to a smoky stoppie.

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Ron Lieback Ultimate MotorcyclingThis is what happened in July after my wife’s double mastectomy, and continued through October following yet additional surgeries to prevent any sign of the horrible six-letter word that starts with a C. We have one additional surgery set for December, and then it’s on to 2018.

I spoke enough about the surgeries in my last few columns. It’s time to move on, and plan for next year. I’m reserving serious time for serious riding. Race, adventure, nakeds, cruisers, my son’s TT-R50—you name it, I’ll be piloting it with endless grins.

Here are three reasons why motorcycles are so vital to my sanity.

Speed

I was likely still in diapers when my love of speed began. Maybe it was the cool cartoons we had back then that actually showed cars or motorcycles at speed, such as Transformers and M.A.S.K. My son Enzo loves Mickey and the Roadster Racers, but Mickey and his effeminate crew’s “speed” is much more electric scooter vs. MotoGP prototype.

I am obsessed with speed, and admit I still embrace it on the b-roads as well as the race track. Motorcycles deliver speed better than any other vehicle, and I feel more in control than I ever have in a car—and much safer.

Throughout my 20s it was superbike this, sportbike that. Then I experienced triple digits on a beat-up V-Strom with knobbies, as wells as some shaky cruisers. When you know how to control speed on bikes not built for speed, a new energy evolves. An energy I love.

Challenge

Riding has its challenges, whether it’s total 360-degree awareness needed for Manhattan traffic, picking through sharp rocks on a single track, perfecting braking points on the race track, or correctly loading tires at speed in slippery conditions.

Each one requires a unique skillset. That challenges the mind, keeping things sharp and developing. My ambition is to continually develop better skills across all disciplines, well, except motocross. I’ll leave that to Enzo.

Health

Motorcycles are dangerous—we all know that. I attribute 99 percent of my accidents to rider error, and this is why I’m constantly training to develop more skills. You can never be sharp enough. Once you think you are, well, good luck with that. Riding is a non-stop learning environment. For ultimate success and a lifetime of riding, a healthy body and mind are needed.

I had a few years in my early 20s where I was a broke newspaper reporter playing music in hopes of getting signed as an artist. My influences were Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, and mostly now-dead musicians. A lifestyle came along with this, which resulted in messy relationships and ultimately a nervous breakdown at 27.

Motorcycles got me back on track to a healthy lifestyle. I feel better at 38 than at 25, and I blame it on a moto lifestyle.

Motorcycles have been a part of everyday life for the past decade, and not once did I get bored with them. There are so many styles of riding that it may take me another two lifetimes to get bored.

I seriously don’t know what a day would be like without partaking in some sort of activity that is centered around them. I’m either writing about them, beating them up in the woods or on a racetrack, or wrenching on them.

These last few months have been hell, but motorcycles surely saved me from another breakdown.

Story from the October issue of our digital magazine; check it out for free at the Ultimate Motorcycling digital app.