Hedonia – positive sensation, pleasurable feeling; a basic, sensual sort of happiness.
BikeHedonia is a reference to that feeling you get when you ride and everything is simplified into pure, focussed sensation: adrenalin, alertness, physicality. All the things you think, and know, and think you know, go away, and in that moment everything is simple and right in the world.
This is why I ride. Well-meaning people tell me of the merits of mindfulness and suggest I pursue it with the help of some downward dog in a yoga studio, or perhaps a dark room and an audio recording. But my perky mental demons are not so easily soothed. They are easily lost, however – with a bit of speed, say, or in a big sky over red desert dirt.
When unhappy, it’s easy to think that you are a complicated person and that the reason that you’re unhappy is because your requirements are very complex and nuanced and unmet. Perhaps this is true for some, but I have begun to realise that I am a very simple person.
Riding pares me back; I am a better, more insightful, more useful person after a few days on the road. The inner abstractions begin to subside and I become more perceptive, more responsive to the world around me. I become less defensive and more flexible, more generous. Fear becomes a survival tool and friend; I look people in the eye.
Heading for unknown horizons reduces the obsession to know and control everything, and riding strips away the bullshit of imagined pasts and conflated futures.
This is why I’ll travel by motorcycle. This is also why I’ll aim for the other side of the world, because the worst bit every motorbike trip is an end date that’s close enough to imagine. It means that whenever you look to the future, in your mind’s eye you just see a version of the past. That’s also why I’ll be riding away from home, not towards it.
This also sounds fairly narcissistic, but on the other hand, I’m not doing anyone any good being a jaded and sad commercial lawyer. My hypothesis is that having and pursuing a joyful obsession will make me a better, more perceptive, more useful human being.
Hedonia to eudemonia.
I guess we’ll find out.