When motorcycling or any adventurous hobby beckons you to overcome fear and limiting beliefs
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
As a kid, I grew up in a modest traditional Navajo home far from the city and mainly with livestock and no electricity. A lot of times we would stay at sheep camp with grandparents all summer long and my cousin Alex would stay with us. I was always glad when he stayed as he had several motorcycles that I got to ride in my childhood. I remember loving the feeling of flying along a dirt road and exploring new areas we never would have at such a young age. The beauty of it was our family seemed to love that we enjoyed being out there at sheep camp and would get us gas from town and our favorite snacks.
In high school I was fortunate to get my first job at 15 years of age. With my earnings, I purchased a used enduro which was my main ride for several years. I rode that everywhere and learned much about motorcycle maintenance. It was truly a fun time - going down any dirt road. Sharing the bike with friends. Always working on it as it was a well used bike that I bought for about $500.
From there my focus had to be on college and starting a family. At that age with a strict budget, the only hobby I could spend time and money on was running. With a young family I also spent our extra income on a dependable truck. Aside from college, job, family, and running, I also spent my free time helping my aging grandparents. The years flew by, more responsibilities, growing family with 3 kids, new hobbies like golf and coaching baseball, growing expenses, my desire to ride faded away. Like anything, the longer one spends time away from something, it becomes a challenge to even think about getting back into something that is fairly expensive.
When one thinks about getting back into something, the fears and opinions of others can influence one’s decision to make the first step. Many people let fear control them. If you look at the world, there are many that overcome that fear and just take the step. They are airplane pilots, race car drivers, adventure motorcyclists, kayakers, sailers, bull riders, horse racers, divers, pursuits in many areas. For many years, I let the anxious outlook of others control my decisions. It gets to a weird stage where on one hand people tell you motorcycling is dangerous without careful study of the causes of the danger. They don't understand enough about why accidents happen: Is it a bike that is too fast? Is it that the person was not physically fit, strong, with trained reflexes? Is it not building up to prepare for certain situations? Is it just being careless? Is it distracted drivers?. The other negative influence is that of being judged. This is a form of self sabotage. The cause is a type of internal oppression that infects Native American families and communities. When someone achieves a good level of income and success, they can afford the finer things such as a boat, a larger home, travel, a fine horse, a good truck, a European made motorcycle, even golfing and other hobbies associated with financial success. This purchase is sometimes viewed negatively by our own families and community. In my case, I was concerned about how my own extended family would judge my decisions. It causes many of our people to hold back from high achievement and for some to self sabotage their success. This is a challenge among greater society. To move forward we must overcome these negative attitudes and perceptions. I have worked hard to overcome these internalized limitations and to overcome self sabotaging behaviors.
Fortunately, I have gained confidence from overcoming many fears over the years. One of the fears I had to overcome was flying by airplane on long flights of over 5 hours. I used to get anxiety and think about all the things that could go wrong after about 2 hours in the air. To overcome this, I focused more on the outcome. I would focus on the joy of getting to New York City, to Canada, to Europe. The feelings, camaraderie of friends, the sights and new experiences I would feel.
The fear I had to overcome was once again riding a motorcycle. After many years, I knew very little of how things have changed in motorcycling. Fortunately, I had friends that rode and would offer encouragement. The decision to jump back into this wonderful hobby was when my daughter who was a freshmen in college asked for help to purchase a motorcycle. This reopened the door and interest. I not only had to buy her a bike but also teach her. So I purchased 2 enduro bikes (a type of bike that you can ride both on dirt trails and pavement) from a buddy who deals in used motorcycles.I would practice with her and teach her the nuances of riding and safety. Of course, I ended up crashing a lot more than her. Good thing my bike was a KLR 650 which was just great for getting back into riding, large enough to instill confidence, and sturdy enough to withstand lots of crashes. It was pure joy to share this hobby with my daughter.
Building on this confidence, I then upgraded to a large adventure bike. It just so happened that my friend was selling a barely used Triumph Tiger XCA 1200 which I didn't know was considered one of the best bikes in the world. Boy it had everything one can imagine from cruise control, different ride modes to heated seats and grips. It also weight over 500 pounds. My interest, confidence, and knowledge of biking kept growing. The bike was so fancy that I ended up being too careful and wanted something that could handle an occasional wipeout on the trails. I sold the bike to a European bike dealer in a straight trade for a BMW F850GS premium. Like the Triumph, it had all the bells and whistles, but is lighter and more agile. The bike is also an incredible handler on the twisty highways and freeways. I started taking longer trips and would haul to different locations for rides to once again explore new places.
My mom always tells me that I get my passion for motorcycles, golf and business from my Lithuanian Grandpa Al. He ran a motorcycle shop, built custom motorcycles, and was a champion hill climber into his 70s. He had a big positive influence on me as he would take the time to drive all the way out from Oregan and come to the Navajo reservation and to my great grandmother’s remote home to spend a day with me. Now that I am older, I totally appreciate the effort - such a long trip in a completely different culture where most, including me, all spoke in mainly Navajo. I loved his presence, confidence, humor, and love. My mom would tell me of how her and my dad would go along with him on his golf outings and of his affluent life. So maybe she is right, these hobbies become part of your DNA and blood. My son now shares in my golf passion. Of course I haven't tried to influence him on motorcycling but know that we can share some amazing trips.
I have met many who also share the motorcycle passion. Many have several bikes. I met a gentlemen that shared with me that he has had over 40 motorcycles over the years. I have a good friend that now has 4 motorcycles along with a racecar. When among these folks I feel like a kid with much to learn still.
So if you have read this far, I encourage you to overcome the limiting beliefs that hold you back and that you pursue any passion at any age you may be. I now meeting many serious riders who are in their 70s and some in their 80s. So age is no limit. The costs of a good bike also ranges from $4000 to $12000 for used. So cost should be a small obstacle. I also encourage you to overcome fear. Prepare, learn, think about the positive and grow in your hobby.
Ahxehee! (Thank you in Navajo)