5390808

Motorcycling

Blog Post created by 5390808 Employee on Nov 1, 2016

   I bought a motorcycle this year, and began motorcycling again after having not ridden for approximately 35 years.  My wife was originally opposed to my choice, but has since lightened up -- perhaps not completely relishing the idea, though. 

   I learned long ago that motorcycling, or really anything we do, has with it, inherent risks.  I have made attempts to reduce the risks by attending a returning riders' safety course here in Ohio.  I always wear a helmet and protective clothing when I'm riding.  I understand the difficulties with trying to make myself visible to other drivers at all times, and I ride my motorcycle as if it were invisible when I am in traffic. In brief, I'm really careful.

   Now, it may just be my age, I'm 59, but I really feel more "in tune" with my surroundings, the road, the machine, the rushing air, and all that, than I recall experiencing in my younger days.  I assign this feeling to enhanced proprioception.  Well, really, what did you expect?  I am, after all, a speech pathologist.  I tend to assign everything that occurs, and is sensed, a portion of the brain where that cognitive element resides. Motorcycles and proprioception, especially enhanced proprioception, are intimately joined from the human experiential standpoint. 

   Allow me to posit this:

   When I sit, stand, walk, run, jump, etc., my brain provides orienting information that allows me to sense where I am in space, and react accordingly.  I know which direction I'm moving, and I know approximate velocities.  When I mount my motorcycle, and even before I release the clutch to move forward, I'm predicting proprioceptive actions for continued movement -- hopefully productive, safe movement.  The motor cortex in my brain has been enhanced by experience to include the performance of my motorcycle.  Hence, my motorcycle becomes an extension of my body, and quite literally.  With more experience, and the corresponding positive reinforcement I receive in the form of sheer riding pleasure, this action of riding my motorcycle becomes more personal to me.  My motor cortex begins to include very specific actions of brake pressure, shifting maneuvers, leaning, and acceleration -- and more.  Acceleration becomes more exhilarating, as does the sensation of the motorcycle, with me as an attachment, holding the road while leaning through turns

   This same facet of enhanced proprioception occurs when I operate any interactive machinery, but it is just more fun when riding my motorcycle. My intentions are to continue exploring the plasticity of my motor cortex -- within the boundaries of safety, I suppose.

Outcomes