as a biker, unlike a lot of bikers I know, I have no problem with pillions. they're fun, a good pillion doesn't quite change the riding experience (as long as the bike is powerful enough, which mine is), and if you're riding to a vacation, your pillion hopefully enriches that part of the experience too.
but there's something about riding alone.
maybe it's a symptom of what's wrong with my life. if i'm not surrounded by people, i'm busy interacting with people. it takes a major effort to go offline for a few hours, and i get restless quickly.
but not when i'm riding.
i rode to goa yesterday. alone. I did it against all odds and challenges, because I really needed it. it's been over a year since I did a ride to goa without a pillion, and it's been a year and a half since I did one without company. just me and my bike.
and i was reminded so completely of what I've missed.
to begin with, I rode 7 hours, 425 km, without a break. my previous record was 5 hours, 300 km. but it wasn't about setting records (although, I must admit, the potential bragging rights did push me a bit). i ignored hunger and the urge to pee for 4 hours, before I stopped. and even after that first break, i had my eyes set on besting my previous timing of 10 and a half hours to enter goa (which i did, albeit by just 15 minutes). but it was actually about mind over matter.
when you have company, it's different. i can't push my pillion or co-rider. he or she won't push me. we stay in our collective comfort zone, even if it's not in our individual comfort zone. and as I say, nothing was ever achieved by being comfortable.
and then, there's this thing about being alone on a deserted highway at night. ironically, i had watched nh10 on wednesday, literally a few hours before I set off, but that didn't change the experience at all. there's something about seeing just blackness in my rearview, just trees and the tarmac in my headlight. deciding which curve I'm gonna brake for and which I'm gonna bounce through. singing at the top of my voice, talking aloud to myself. praying, not to reach safely, but to be as self-driven though my life as I am through each bend of each ghat.
i'm happy I did this ride. i'm lucky to have people who let me, even though they weren't quite willing to begin with. and i'm happy to have rediscovered my solitude.
the stage is set for bigger and better things. I wonder what's next.