Sunday, 7 March 2010

Motorcycling therapy

   Exercise is something you'll often see put forward as helping deal with gender dysphoria. The idea goes that the endorphins released by a good workout give your brain something to keep it occupied so it stops bothering you with girl thoughts for a while. Having started to give this a try with a daily morning workout I can vouch for there being something in this, post-workout I'm on a high and can better focus on my tasks in hand.
    I'd like to advance another self-administered therapy for those suffering from GD. Motorcycling. Stace beat me to it earlier today with a first ride of the season post, but one of the phrases she used said it all: "riding is just a fantastic rush".  If you're looking for an easy way to fill your brain up with endorphins, trigger a fight-or-flight response by taking a motorcycle close to the edge of its performance envelope. I've always experienced a high from motorcycling, a joy to be alive, and without realising I was self-medicating my gender issues I've used a rideout as a way to clear my mind when the weather allows for the best part of two decades now.
    This morning held one such rideout, I blew away the cobwebs with my trusty Honda. This was my first bike and I like it so much I've held on to it through all life has thrown at me. It's old enough for middle aged men to approach it with tears in their eyes recounting how they had one when it was new, it's far too small for me, under powered and its brakes and handling belong to an age with far more facial hair. I'm so attached to it because its combination of a mere 39 geriatric Japanese horses and skinny tyres mean that unlike more recent machines a rider of my meagre ability can touch the edge of what it can do without attracting the attention of PC Plod. Riding that bike as fast as it will go along a twisty rural back road in the English Home Counties is for me as perfect an experience as can be achieved through motorcycling.
    I took it out into the countryside and headed roughly east towards the hills. There are loads of tiny roads that way featuring corners and gradients aplenty. Perfect country for a Honda SOHC four. My front wheel may have stayed firmly on the ground and the knee of my armoured trousers may have remained unabraded by the road, but my brain was taking in all those lovely endorphins and I returned home on one of those highs during which the world is viewed in more vivid colour than ever.
   Now, having established motorcycling as a therapy for GD, all I have to do is convince my doctor that the NHS needs to pay for my tyres.


  1. I remember those bikes! I loved riding them. They sound lovely, too.

    I was thinking of getting something like a 400-Four for some fun in the summer and fall. (I need to money, first. Sob, sob.)

    Time... To... Go... For... A... Ride... (Damn it. I've got some work to take care of, first. darned earning a living "stuff".)

  2. If the temptation takes you, do it! Remember though, Soichiro made his cam chain tensioners from chocolate.

    I'd sound a note of caution though. From time to time I get acquaintances borrowing it because they had one back in the day and want to reclaim the magic. I'm not complaining, after all that means I get to play with whatever their toy is. Usually they come back with a big grin, but also disappointed, what seemed really quick in 1977 isn't any more. I get a lot of fun from it because I ride it on little twisty roads, on long straight fast ones I much prefer the other occupant of my stable.

    In January I had to commute on the Honda for a day or two. A busy dual carriageway on it was no fun at all.

  3. I'd like to point out that I did preface that phrase with something important :)

    I do know what you mean about being able to wring it's neck though. I was working it out on Saturday that if I ring the R6's neck to the best of my abilities I'll lose my license before I hit second in town, it is a waste of power - but the bike is also soooo pretty... (sorry - a little shallow there ;P )

  4. Don't worry, I can fully understand the allure of a pretty bike. Pity those who can't.