Whenever I meet someone who knows I’m a bike lover, they often ask me why I ride alone and some wonder about the genesis of the term Lupo Solo – Lone Wolf. To be honest, I hadn’t given it enough thought, probably the urge to go solo was more due to a taunt of a fellow rider. I once confronted this gent for not keeping to the time suggested by him. He then said I’m better off solo. So there I was, going solo. Sure there’s no one to click my picture, or someone to look over my bike when I take a quick break, these are but minor irritants.
With this COVID enforced introspection time got me thinking deeper, why indeed? Managed to collect my thoughts, grouped them to the top 8 reasons below. I’m sure there would be more, or some here you don’t agree with, or cons to going solo that are not listed. Those I would request you to leave in the comments section.
- I am the boss: The destination is mine, the route is mine, the pace is mine, the time is mine and so the motorcycle is mine as well. No obligations to reach the end of a predetermined route. If I feel like spending a day laying beside a river, I do it, without answering to anyone.
Need I say more? Guess I will anyway.
- I go where I want: When I ride alone there’s only one person I have to cater to while designing the route. I don’t have to bother about anyone else’s comfort with the distance, the destination, the route or the amenities enroute. The only thing that matters is what I want to do and my bucket-list.
- I go when you want: Waiting to go is very annoying. I hate it when I’m all prepped up and am forced to wait until others turn up. It’s even worse if I have to meet people enroute, part of me knows they’ll be late and other part of me doesn’t want to be the one who’s late. Solo riding lets me head out whenever I want. Be it midnight to beat the heat and traffic or early morning to clock more miles or lazy start for a small sprint.
- I can stop as many times as I want: I can stop when I want and take that amazing shot, or just stretch my legs or adjust my gear on answer nature’s call or listen to the nature calling. As many times I want to. Without worrying about holding people up. And the corollary holds too, I don’t need to stop for others, I don’t have to stop at a petrol bunk each time someone hits a red, trust me, it happens exactly after a couple of kms from the previous fuel break.
- Ride Like I Want to: I can satiate that urge to twist my right wrist, whenever I want, without worrying about leaving anybody behind. Lean into that curve to my heart’s content. Scraping a peg or two. Or on the other hand, I can also take it as easy as I want, taking in the scenery, the smells, the sounds, no one will be waiting up.
- Interacting with New People: How often do you interact with new people without an official or personal motive? To me, if social obligations are the only way I end up meeting new people, then I see myself as a complete loser. On a solo motorcycle tour, I am not obligated to hang out with my buddies, there aren’t any. While I don’t enthusiastically make friends with strangers, I do occasionally meet people from different cultural and regional backgrounds. The new perspectives that I get from their stories and experiences are priceless. There have been innumerable times when localites have been lifesavers, be it warning about road conditions, or a local delicacy or information on a place that’s not mapped, well the possibilities are endless for an inquisitive mind.
- Practicing Self-Dependence: It is a different feeling to be totally on one’s own. Solo is the only to make my decisions be my mistakes or my wins. I am responsible for managing my resources and keeping a check of things while traveling. Having no one but me to blame for my problems in the middle of nowhere is an unexplainable situation. Sure, blame games are a source of immediate solace. However, when solo, one does not end up wasting time on blaming instead one looks out for solutions. Also, I’m thrown into a corner to make a decision in an instant. Riding alone makes me feel independent in the most effective and efficient way. That has changed me, immensely.
- Spending Time with myself: We keep hearing of me-time, the latest buzz word. But how often do you really get to spend time with yourself? It is quite a rare occasion. There will always be people and their opinions. And so will the responsibilities to fulfill, one has work to be taken care of, duties to be discharged. I see travelling alone as an opportunity to understand myself better. I end up having a lot of time to think about myself, about life and about things which means to me. This is perhaps my single biggest reason why I travel solo.
- AppreciatIng Nature: Most of us today live in concrete jungles, the only nature we perhaps end up seeing is during the occasional visit to the zoo. Our connection with mother earth and nature is slowly getting lost. To me riding solo is a way to calibrate myself with nature, an opportunity to appreciate nature better. The sights, smells and sounds are like reset buttons in my life.
- Challenging myself: From the moment one thinks of a solo trip, it is a challenge. Convincing people, prepping myself, my bike, deciding what to take, what not to. From day one to the last day of the ride, I’m on my own. Everything that happens (or doesn’t) is completely my doing. This reminds me of the quote – Danger is real, but fear is a choice. Being aware of the dangers and pushing the limits to lose my fear – nothing better than going solo to become more confident and comfortable.
- Become more Observant: When I travel in a group I barely pay attention to planning and exploring alternatives, I end up being just a luggage that my bike carries. I also too caught up in the struggle to keep up or in the wait for others. Or in the best case, I’m cocooned in my comfort zone, don’t feel any need to look at things around me. But when I’m alone I see things very differently, I start observing every small thing or people around me. Always looking for alternatives, pondering how things could go differently. Basically I start sensing rather than just seeing.
- Learn to take setbacks in my stride: Things almost always don’t go as planned. I’ve had flats in the middle of nowhere, my bike got stuck in nallah, I skidded and dropped my bike, lost my way, got stuck in bad weather. Well, there are a lot of things I didn’t plan for or anticipate. Sure, it has set me back. But one is bereft of options, that’s when one learns to take it in their stride, looking for alternatives, a plan B of sorts. A sort of hard to forget lesson I’ve learnt when going solo.
Please do leave your comments, and please do keep coming back for more…
About the author:
A biker | A blogger | An adventure junky | Animal lover
Tries to fit all of the above whilst working as a brand marketing professional. His blog is a product of contemplations, reflections and an unquenchable thirst for self-deprecating humour. It is the world as seen through the eyeballs of a salt-and-pepper *sixteen year-old* fighting off #MidLifeCrisis. No doubt perspectives will be different when seen by others and those are equally welcome in the comments section.
- This is written with a sole intention of laughing at and with the author, no offence meant to anyone else.
- No bikes or animals or bystanders were harmed while writing this.