Community Commentary Lieback’s Lounge: Discussing the “Why” of Motorcycling

Lieback’s Lounge: Discussing the “Why” of Motorcycling

I hear it often from various family members and friends: “You know they are dangerous and can kill you.”

Of course. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous, as are hundreds of other things like obesity, skiing, and cycling in downtown Manhattan, to name a few.

For me, the benefits of motorcycling far outweigh the dangers. A decade or so ago, I would make thin arguments, such as “Did you ever really ride after a frustrating day to understand the benefits?” The outcome of such disputes always had me rubbing my temples.

Around this time, I had discovered Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Others to Take Action. Sinek says that once you understand “why” you do something, the “what” you do becomes much more powerful and helps inspire others.

In business, I’ve learned that always starting with “why” helps inspire others to understand my point of view over rabbit-hole debates. And the same process works when people begin their thoughts on motorcycles that are overrun by fear.

I’ve learned that when talking with others that are genuinely passionate about riding, every conversation naturally starts with each rider’s whys. And there are many.

For most, it’s the adrenaline or “freedom” of the wind rushing around their bodies. For others, it’s the looking like Steve McQueen element, and for some, the “potato” noise.

For my first few rides while in the single digits and early teens, the adrenaline from speed topped my whys. This continued until I learned how to safely control speed, both on the street and tracks. Speed remained, and safety increased, providing more enjoyment to everyday riding.

This fed my addiction to long trips around America during my late 20s and early 30s, which subsequently fueled my love of travel and writing in new locations every day, whether that writing was for work or pleasure.

These were Kerouacian journeys, and I completed them as sort of a fast from the real world to gain some spiritual insight. The trips eventually led to my love of business, and provided the relaxed mind to build some mental muscle and start my businesses.

My “why” of motorcycling grows with me yearly. It is always prompting me to throttle out of a plateau in life and take on the next challenge. Each of the previous whys remain—the speed, the long-distance traveling, the writing in new locations, and the clear-headed thoughts after a ride to plan new business adventures. I simply build upon them yearly.

Lieback's lounge riding motorcycles

Throughout 2020 and the pandemic lifestyle woes, I had developed another why for motorcycling—productivity hacking. This may sound counterproductive, but to be truly productive in anything, from work to family life, it’s wise to get away from everything to refresh the mind. And I’m not talking about the average 9-to-5er’s two-week vacation. I mean getting away a few times daily for shorter periods, at least one night a week, and one entire day every weekend.

This is where motorcycles trump all. When it’s not snowing here in the Northeast, I take daily lunch rides to refresh my thoughts. These are best done at speed because you’re forced to focus only on the ride at hand and nothing else. One slip up, and you can die. Plain and simple.

I also get away every Wednesday evening. During non-winter months, Wednesday typically begins with some ADV riding with a collapsible fishing pole and tablet (though I rarely fish because I just want to ride!). That is followed by a night of fiction writing, playing guitar, or wrapping up chapters in my non-fiction books.

And one day every weekend is a must to truly reset the mind for producing more quality work in less time. This is when the phone stays far away, and I spend the day doing things that are drastically different from my everyday tasks of the working life. What can make this day more fulfilled than a 300-mile motorcycle tour with good friends or family?

Motorcycles are the ultimate tool for productivity hacking. A few of my other favorites include fasting from social media, grounding for clarity, Bulletproof Coffee (yes, nothing beats a cup of coffee blended unsalted, grass-fed butter, and MCT 8 coconut oil most mornings), ice-cold showers, and 42 supplements daily for clarity, and at least 30 minutes of jumping on a mini trampoline in my office every day.

And now, even at 41, many family and friends think my lifestyle is somewhat odd because I don’t follow the same daily practices as they do, such as eating breakfast or working while sitting (I have used a stand-up desk since 2017, and don’t have an office chair).

These routines and disciplines in life allow me to run businesses and write daily with zero stress and full productivity. I’d get into my thoughts on these things, most regarded as biohacking, but that’s for another subject.

Just as I refused to listen to anyone with the “don’t ride or you’ll die” criticisms, I also went against everyone’s criticism during my very untraditional college years; I studied literature (“What are you going to do with that degree?”).

When studying literature, you’re exposed to characters’ problems and how they worked through things. This primes you for the real world, especially when it comes to taking chances or going against the proverbial grain and doing things like making a career out of words and riding motorcycles (or combining the two).

Literature also exposes you to endless engaging quotes. One that surfaces is attributed to Goethe (scholars have debated the originality of this quote, but regardless, it works for this column’s purpose):

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

From those in their teens to 70s, I know many people that dream about taking chances like riding motorcycles or going against “society’s rules” but never do it. For them, I’d like to frame the above quote on their bathroom mirrors, so they see it daily and begin living. And I’d also stencil an outline of a motorcycle around that quote.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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