No Fear

There is a benefit to fear and a benefit to no fear. The best thing is to get both benefits.

The benefit of fear

It is the job of fear to remember bad things, so we don't repeat past mistakes. Without fear, we would not learn from failure. Fear reduces arrogance, carelessness, inattention, pride and all sorts of stupidity, so we really need it.

Fear is a good servant but a bad master

Yet like anything, fear is a good servant but a bad master. When fear is the master you panic, you react rather than act. When fear is the servant, you "just do it". What makes fear your servant is attention. When you focus everything on your riding, fear falls into the background.

The benefit of no fear

Don't Panic

Drunks and babies often survive accidents, because they get one thing right - they don't panic . In an accident they go with the flow. It is sort of a faith thing. For a child, faith is necessary, for the drunk, it is induced, and for both it is from ignorance. They don't know what is happening, and so are not afraid. Yet ignorant faith is still faith, so it works for them.

There is no bad situation negative reactions cannot make worse

The faith advantage is that you don't make bad situations worse. There is no bad situation that negative reactions cannot make worse. For example, when you fall, just relax and crumple. Parachutists are trained to do this. The worst thing to do is to panic, tense up and overreact. When older people fall, it is often their reaction, rather than the fall itself, that twists an ankle or breaks a bone. Riding a motorcycle needs this no fear virtue.

Fear and no fear

Having both fear and no fear is like crossing a frozen river. You cross bravely, but tread carefully, lest the ice break. It is like being a soldier in a war - you proceed cautiously, but accept that a bullet might have your name on it.

Opportunity and risk are in life - you cant have one without the other

Good airplane pilots also mix confidence and caution. Opportunity and risk are part of life, so you cant have one without the other. If, like a one-eyed man, you see only opportunity, then risk will find you (in an accident). If you see only risk, then opportunity will abandon you. Success requires you ride with two eyes!

Put fear in its place

Fear is both good and bad. Fear before you ride is good. It makes you wear a helmet, boots and jacket for protection. It makes you buy this book, and learn to ride safely.

Before you ride, fear is your friend, but when you ride, it is the enemy

Yet when you get on a bike, it's a liability! Fear causes tunnel vision when you should look all about. To prepare you need fear, but to act you must abandon it. Riders need some fear, but not when they ride . Before you ride, fear is your friend, but when you ride, it is the enemy. To ride a bike you must put fear in its place, in the background.

Some thoughts

Some thoughts to reduce fear are:

  • Others have ridden, and so can I.
  • The laws of physics are on my side (a wonderful thought).
  • Fortune favors the brave (it does).
  • I am prepared - so lets do it!