Recently, almost everyone has been nagging me to learn how to drive. People keep telling me things like 'It's good to know how to drive...' (Yes it is), 'It'll be a lot of fun!' (Maybe so), 'It's much safer' (It is)... I've lost count. But I'm not going to learn how to drive. Not just yet. Primarily because I'm having too much fun on my bike.
Driving cars maybe fun, but it can never be as thrilling as a bike can be. And the reason is one of those I mentioned above. It's not as safe. Riding a bike is a lot riskier than driving a car is. Even if you don't count the state of our roads and the behaviour of our motorists, I still think it takes a phenomenal amount of skill and guts to have the same amount of fun on a bike that you can have in a 'safe' car. Cars have a ton of safety features in them - ABS, Airbags, Seat Belts etc. On a bike, all you have for protection are a helmet (don't consider yourself worthy of a bike if you do not use a helmet) and less often gloves, elbow/knee guards and suchlike. In spite of all the protection you wear, you're still going to take a beating if you have a fall. In a car, there's little risk of hurting yourself if you muck something up.
On a bike, therefore, you have to be completely in control of the vehicle, and yet let the vehicle control you. Know the vehicle's limits, but it must know yours too. When you try something spectacular on a bike, you put your faith completely into the bike and your skill - there's no steel cage, no seatbelt to protect you. Which is why when you succeed in doing something exhilarating on a bike, the high that you get can be rivalled by little else. It is the union of man and machine that gives you such a rush- each dependent on the other for safety. I've done it a couple of times- pushed the bike a little further than I thought it could've gone. Both times, on razor thin margins, the bike held on. Once, I've returned the favour, using skill to overcome the bike's slip. It's a symbiotic system - man and machine.
Another thing that irks me about cars is that you have to get pretty high up to get a car that is fun. A road ripping bike can be yours for a fraction of that money. As far as I know, the swift is the only 'fun' car a reasonable sum of money can buy. The next stop comes at nearly double the cost - the Mitsubishi Lancer. That, is my dream car... Maybe then I'll want to drive... Even if I'm 40 by the time I can afford one!
Till that day comes, I might learn how to drive, but I'm going to be on my bike more than I'll ever be in a car.