A Reflection of Self

Story by Emily Roberts// Photos by Dean Foster
February 20 2024

Do you ever catch a glimpse of your motorcycle and see yourself embodied by the machine? I do, and I’m happy that we still have an emotional connection to the bikes that we ride — we thrive when we ride the bikes we love, which better our soul. Many of us don’t buy bikes based purely on performance, fuel consumption, or price point. We also heavily factor in the emotional benefit and enrichment they add to our lives. In my opinion, long gone are the days when we felt like that about cars.

When you look at classic cars, you can see personality formed from a piece of metal, as if part of the soul of the creator resonates within the machine. The efforts put into styling, the clean lines, and bright colours bring to life an inanimate object. Sure, these days the performance, durability and weight of vehicles have greatly improved. But in doing so they seem to have lost a big part of what made them so desirable: the ability to see the reflection of the self within them.

People drove cars that accentuated their personality, it became an extension of them. The lines that would draw your eye from front to back, the silhouettes, and the exaggerated angled or rounded features. Today I feel that most cars are sold based on affordability, durability, and eco-friendliness, and while these are average cars and all are quite acceptable criteria to follow when buying a vehicle, they just don’t excite the soul.

I feel that along with performance, motorcycles are still bought mainly to assist you in embodying your best self. You buy a motorcycle not out of necessity, not because it’s the best in its class, not because you know it’ll last for years. Sure, these are factors that we consider, but it’s not actually why you spend your precious paycheque on a two-wheeled machine. You buy a bike because it makes your soul scream. You can envision a more exciting version of yourself while riding it. A motorcycle gives you the expectation of better times, freedom, and the ability to step into a different culture and community that you may have been deprived of in the past.

That, I suppose, is the differentiating factor these days between two and four wheels. Cars and trucks have become such necessities within our society that the loss of love for a machine is almost inevitable. Instead of designing with creativity, most are designed for the masses; a machine to make life more efficient. Motorcycles, on the other hand, are designed to enrich life and create euphoria while controlling a machine.

In the beginning, when they were built by adding a small engine to a bicycle, motorcycles were created by the desire for efficiency and the want for another form of transport. And while in most cases motorcycles are still less expensive than a car, the culture of motorcycling has made a full shift into luxury. Motorcycles seem to have been born from curiosity about the unknown: sure, there was a bicycle, but how could we find a way to make them faster, more exciting, and desirable?

Cars had passion behind their creation, too. Once society had the general concept of what a car should be, creativity began. Experimenting with the embodiment of a soul within the car. So, what shifted? Many of today’s cars focus on family travel with the ability to pack everything in for the journey. I’m not sure of the answer, but I don’t think we will see this type of utilitarianism within motorcycling, at least not in my lifetime.

Luckily, motorcyclists are motorcyclists — it’s as simple as that. Whether you work in motorcycle design, or just like to ride motorcycles, we share the passion for the machine; not the passion to make money off a machine. The great thing about motorcycles is that this individuality is still thought about in synchronicity with performance, economy, and versatility.

When you walk past your motorcycle next time, take a minute to appreciate the uniqueness that your machine offers, and how it might match what you see in yourself. And, if one day you look at your machine and you don’t see yourself anymore, maybe it’s time to start looking for something else. Throughout life, we change and grow. Your motorcycle may at one point embody a piece of yourself that is no longer, and that’s okay. That’s the great thing about motorcycles: you will no doubt be able to find another two-wheeled machine that enhances a better reflection of you.


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