In many ways, I am a creature of habit.
I have the same thing every day for breakfast — which I eat at lunchtime — sometimes for months or even years on end. I listen to the same playlists repeatedly; I don’t vary my gym program; I’ve been wearing the same shade of lipstick since 2005. (I was horrified when the colour — Girl About Town by Mac — was discontinued a couple of months ago.)
So it’s not surprising that I should tend to ride my motorcycle on the same loops in the same direction most days. It’s easy to get lazy, fall into a familiar pattern and not have to think too much or make too many decisions.
I don’t get bored with these routines; they help anchor me in the midst of all the chaos, change and challenges we collectively face in the world right now.
BUT. There’s a lot to be said for switching things up. The other day, my friend and riding coach James and I did just that. Instead of doing one of my Calabogie loops clockwise (the black arrows in the pic above), we went the other way around (the pink arrows) and took a four-lane highway at the start
- I avoid highways because my bike is small, I don’t like speed and I feel uncomfortable in traffic, so we rode thirty kilometres on the busy Ontario 417. I didn’t like it, but it gave me a chance to test TheFox’s and my limits (we got up to 130 kph) AND we got to more interesting roads faster and thus had more time to enjoy them than we otherwise would have.
- Riding known roads from the opposite direction is like riding totally new roads! It was fun and challenging while, paradoxically, also being familiar.
- Reversing a route takes no more planning or decision-making than doing it as one has always done it. It’s an efficient way of creating a ‘new’ experience.
- We stopped at spots I usually ride by. That meant discovering new-to-me destinations I will now add to my list of cool places to go.
- Changing perspectives produces different landscapes and vistas and allowed me to notice things I could not have seen before because they would have been at my back instead of facing me.
These five observations may seem terribly obvious. But in my experience it’s in naming things that we notice them. The Relive vid is here:
© 2023 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.