Psychology Behind Motorcycles: What Motorbike Riding Has Thought Me

in psychology •  8 months ago


Do you know someone who rides a motorbike? If you do, you’ve probably noticed how obsessed these people might be with their rides. They would use every single minute available to ride their bikes and would not stop talking about them if you let them. While there are a lot of people, who are not riders and still admire this hobby/sport, there are others who do not understand this passion and some which hate it. No matter which kind you are, with this article I would like to discuss my thoughts on riding a motorbike and hopefully we could discuss your opinion on the topic in the comment section.

I’ve been riding motorbikes for three years and I’ve recently changed my 2006 Honda Hornet for 2006 Kawasaki ZX6R. A lot of people asked me why would I change a perfect cruiser/city bike for a more aggressive supersport bike like ZX6R, which is considered to be the fastest in its class.

The truth is that when it comes to motorbikes, there are no rational answers to any questions regarding why you should buy one, no matter what type it is. Of course, on the surface a biker could always say something like “Well you know, this bike is already too slow. I need to change it.” Or “It doesn’t feel comfortable anymore, I want to try something else” etc.
In my attempt to find some reasonable causes to justify motorbikes I switched my focus to what riding a motorcycle could teach any person who decides to try it.

Unlike most riders I know, my affection for motorbikes did not occur in my early childhood. Instead, the idea of me riding a two-wheeled metal engine, heated over 80 * C on top of which lies a reservoir full with 16 litres of highly flammable liquid, emerged in my late teenage years, right after I finished my high school education. I can clearly remember the summer when me and a friend of mine decided to take a motorcycle riding course. I just started working in a small shop my family owned and living with my parents back then provided an easy opportunity to collect money in short periods of time. My friend already bought himself a bike, which he was able to ride, but had no licence. I remember keeping it in my garage, hidden from his parents and taking it out when it was dark.

Always, always respect your machine

This was the first lesson motorbikes have taught me, on my first day at the course, before I could even start the engine. When I started the course, my friend has almost completed it and was already confident with the training bike, not being afraid to take it on his own, without the trainer observing him. So, probably in his attempt to impress me, he took the training bike and rode on his own at full speed from one corner of the training polygon to the other. All I heard next was him screaming and the sound of the bike crashing. As we turned around, (me and the trainer) we saw the bike smashed into a car, which seem to have appeared out of nowhere. Immediately I sprinted towards his location, while the trainer jumped into his car and drove to him.

As we arrived, my friend was lying on the concrete with his femur bone broken on two pieces (just a quick note: The femur bone is the strongest bone in the human body). The driver of the car was a 60-70 year old man, who had no idea what just happened. I didn’t pay much attention to him, as I was busy trying to figure out what is going on with my friend, who’s face was twisted in pain. In fact he was in so much pain that, when the ambulance arrived they had to give him two full injections of sedative medicine after which he could at least talk back to us, instead of screaming. I got on the ambulance with him all the way to the hospital where the doctors gave me few instructions where to take him and I had to be with him in all the terror he went through. After this accident I’ve decided to quit the course and never ride a motorbike.

Of course, I didn’t really quit, after few years I got my license and my first motorbike, but the lesson I’ve learned is not forgotten until today.

Being responsible on the road equals being alive today

Most people consider riding a motorbike as dangerous and irresponsible act. While it is true that there are a lot of guys who abuse the freedom their bikes provide to them, overall motorcycles are not dangerous by themselves. Quite on the contrary riding a motorcycle is really intolerant regarding ignorance, stupidity and irresponsibleness. Being irresponsible on the road will often result at the very least to injuring yourself or others and sometimes even death.
Every time you get on a bike you are given a choice: be responsible or suffer the consequences. Here I would like to add that, if you ride a bike which is giving you comfort and a false sense of security, you would probably end up in more risky situations, rather than if you are afraid of your machine, using this as a limitation to your irresponsible behaviour on the road.

Riding a motorbike is one of the easiest ways to make friends

Probably most of you have noticed that when two or more bikers encounter each other on the road, they greet each other, usually with their free left hand or by nodding their head. And while there is a whole history and philosophy behind the types of greetings riders exchange, the point of this paragraph is another.

It would not be exaggerated to say that every rider, no matter his style or bike considers another as his brother or at least his friend. In my experience I have often met random guys which I greet on the street and decide to ride with, sometimes at full speed, risking our lives just for the thrill. Sounds insane right? But in reality, such moments provide closure between the riders. Knowing that you share the same faith with the other biker(s) gives you the feeling that you’ve met someone like you, who is probably at the very least obsessed with the same thing as you are. Rarely on the road would you see a biker in trouble to be passed by another without stopping to help him. This is a fact.
Based on this mixture of emotions and feelings, a lot of different groups, clubs and entire motorbike riding organizations emerge where every rider could find his or her place.

Riding a motorbike makes you feel connected to the world around you

“It’s the closest thing to flying.” The feeling a person experience while riding a motorbike is really hard to articulate and even harder to explain to a person who doesn’t ride. Most of you have heard that riding a motorcycle gives you freedom. Feeling free is a subjective point of view and have intentionally avoided this term, as in my opinion when it comes to bikes, it’s probably the most overused analogy, which means nothing to people who are not riders.
But if I have to explain it, for me the sense of freedom comes due to the realization that I am fully exposed to the outside world, one mistake could cost me at the very least an unpleasant injury, but at the same time I feel every bump on the road, as if the bike is an extension of my limbs and feeling that I have enough power beneath my right arm to travel through time and space.

Riding on this edge and realizing that your actions at this time could cost everything you hold dear, becomes, ironically, a sense of true freedom.


Langley J.D. ; Begg D. J.; Reeder A.I. (1994) Motorcycle crashes resulting in death and hospitalisation. II: Traffic crashes Accident Analysis & Prevention, ISSN: 0001-4575, Vol: 26, Issue: 2, Page: 165-171

Lin M. R, Kraus JF. (2009) A review of risk factors and patterns of motorcycle injuries.

The Psychology of Becoming One with your Motorcycle

Motorcycle Hand Greetings

Femur Bone Anatomy

Picture sources:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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really cool article!

I would like to quote Pirsing, who wrote the book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" - actually I would recommend buying it.

You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.

Here, you can read it, nevertheless - soo fascinating:

It's one of the best books I've read so far on psychology. Chances are, you know it?

I had a motorcycle myself in my mid-twenties, it was a Suzuki GN 400x with a manual kick-starter. I was NOT falling in love with cycling, though and always found it too dangerous for me. I lacked confidence on the streets and so I gave it up after a while. But I deeply understand the fascination about riding the streets and befriending with the engine. I have four brothers and mind you, they all had their love affairs with their cylinders. :)

Hello @dysfunctional

I agreed with you on all of your arguments in support of riding motorcycle. But I however observed one thing....

Being irresponsible on the road will often result at the very least to injuring yourself or others and sometimes even death.

This is the most telling of every points you made here. There is this friend of mine who was involved in an accident just because he wanted to please his new girlfriend, he wanted her to see him as the best rider. This a similar thing over which your friend had accident as told in this article.

I wonder the benefits of engaging in such pompous tactics. People do it and only a few gets away with it.

Ride safely


@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem communities


Hello @eurogee and thanks for stopping by.

friend of mine who was involved in an accident just because he wanted to please his new girlfriend, he wanted her to see him as the best rider.

Sadly such cases are not rare occurrence in our community.

Risk and danger have always been admired as they are related to virtues such as courage.

However, sometimes there is a really thin line between courage and stupidity.

All the best to you !!

This is new

Obsession you say, I never saw that coming.. I love riding and I just realized am obsessed about it 🙈

This is cool information @dysfunctional


Hehe :) The best obsession :))

I've been on bikes for 30 odd years now, and for me, it's the best way to feel free and alive..
(even though I've been very close to death quite a few times, as we all have...)

My 90 cc honda I have now, counts as well!


So glad to hear that! Do you agree or disagree with some of the points I've made in this article? I would love to hear "a veteran's" opinion :)


I agree with all of your points, mate. A well written post.

People not on bikes don't get the 'mates on two wheels' with complete strangers though... It's weird, you don't get it it with open top cars..

(If you ever call me 'veteran' again, however, I'll unfollow you.)


Ha, I meant that in a good sense :))

I don't ride bikes but I have a friend who does and he sure love to speak about not only his bikes, but the conventions about motorbikes he visits with his father (who also love bikes).

When it comes to my family, one of my uncles use to ride a motorbike when he was younger but after he suffered an accident he stopped, and my whole family got scared of bikes.

But motorbikes clearly allow for a special bonding between the people who ride.

I have often met random guys which I greet on the street and decide to ride with, sometimes at full speed, risking our lives just for the thrill

That's nice, it is like if people who ride bikes instantly feel a connection with the fellow rider.


Thank you for sharing your personal experience @dedicatedguy!

Indeed the sense of connection with other fellow bikers is definitely an interesting phenomenon!

My husband loves motobikes and enjoyed reading this post very much @dysfunctional :)


What a pleasant surprise! Did he used to ride one?


Yes! He used to do enduro and had a race bike.


So sweet! Tell him, I say "Hi" :)
Wonder what made him quit riding..?


We moved to Portugal less than a year ago @dysfunctional !!
But, my hushand is actually looking into buying his new bike. That is all he talks about 😂


Hahaha, so it is a matter of time then :)
Just be safe, both of you!

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Thank you very much, guys! I'm glad that you have noticed this article!