Off the Rag

Why I Ride: Motorcycles Keep Me Sane

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We all have our personal reasons for why we ride motorcycles. Mine is that I would literally go crazy without it.

Last week was one of those rough weeks where it felt like nothing was going my way, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with everything and everyone around me. When the weekend finally came around, I knew I needed to get on my bike and head up into the mountains for a few hours to clear my head. According to an old biker cliché, you’ll never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist’s office. While I don’t know if that’s universally true, for me personally, riding is the only kind of therapy that is one hundred percent effective.

It’s easy to get caught up in romantic ideas of the biker lifestyle as the ultimate freedom quest: the open road and wind in your hair and sticking it to the man, all that good stuff. But for me, above all, the real freedom that motorcycles offer is the crucial aspect of letting go of everything negative for a few moments. (And in the steaming pile of horseshit that is 2017, we’re all dealing with a lot of negative stuff.)

A big part of being a safe rider is the ability to anticipate and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Whether that situation is a car about to make a sudden lane change in front of you or a curve that’s tighter than it looks, riding requires you to always be completely present in the moment. You can’t dwell on personal problems when you’re riding because it takes focus away from the road, and that’s how accidents happen.

But riding safely doesn’t mean avoiding risks altogether, and there is a certain level of romance to that too. To me, there is nothing in the world that beats riding fast through tight turns on empty mountain roads with my music turned up and nothing on my mind except the thrill of speed and the unadulterated joy of the ride.

If I don’t ride for a few weeks, or even a few days, I gradually start to lose my mind. I eventually become high strung and easily annoyed, and I’m probably not the nicest person to be around. It’s one of those things that are impossible to explain to people who don’t ride motorcycles. But it’s also an easy thing to fix. Just give me a Harley and a scenic road and I will be the nicest person you’ve ever met.

(Photos by Jesse Bowen)

Sanna likes motorcycles, kittens, and punk rock. You’re most likely to find her riding twisties in the mountains or camping in the desert with her moto squad. She has a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, a H-D Shovelhead chopper, a 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan, and a Honda CRF230F.


  1. ?????? so much truth and all the yes’s on the world.