Some lessons can be learned multiple ways. Like, “Enjoy the ride.” As riders, we know we turn to our motorcycles to escape the mundane and search for the unfamiliar. But, an ADV trip last spring introduced me to the parallels between throwing one leg over a freedom machine and chewing an eighth of a paste of dried psilocybin mushrooms. 

The crew and I spent the months preparing, and when the day finally came, we all felt the adrenaline rush. In the moment! On the move! 

motorcycle on the move

But before long, trepidation began to set in. Psychedelically speaking, “bad trips” don’t exist, only difficult ones. My sandcastle in the sky began to crumble. No one talks about solo helmet time. Alone in the group. A cloud shifts across the sky and blocks the sun. In that split second, the doubts creep in. Did I take (on) too much? Are my tires the right pressure? Fuck, my back is sore. 

One pull on the throttle, it all melts away

The cloud rolls, and the sunshine brings warmth to my already burnt face. The scenery is spectacular. One pull on the throttle, it all melts away. The dream realized! 

The days ripped by. Apparently I wasn’t the only uneasy rider. One by one, my comrades succumbed to their demons until only one KTM remained in the isolated backcountry. Paranoia is too heavy for a plastic tail fender. Fuck them. They joined the enemy (the asphalt).

My mind told me to take it slow, but the throatiness of the 690 sang to me. She knew the desolate backcountry allowed for neck-breaking speeds. 

Twisting my right hand further and further back, I stormed down the logging roads into oblivion. Rushing by, the backdrop became a surreal blurred pattern. The line between bike trip and mind trip was no longer obvious. Alone. How did I get here? How hard-headed am I? This 690 is perfection! The ditch flying by could swallow me whole. No one knows where I am. Do I know where I am? I feel invincible! What is that ticking from the engine? 


I was peaking. The euphoria and crippling fear were dancing in my brain. I was losing my mind. 

When I finally came to a stop at the black tar in front of me, my awareness of reality returned like a pan to the face. A drug trip can reveal to you the secrets of the universe. But inevitably the next day you are left asking yourself: What were they again? What the hell just happened? 

The only way to remember is to do it all over again.

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Traction eRag does not condone the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of literary metaphor.