Veterans With Motorcycles Don’t Need Therapists

It’s strangely peaceful doing seventy down the highway with my handlebars inches from the veteran rider next to me. The wind feels good on my face, the road smooth, and the sun is shining. We’re riding to bury a Vietnam Veteran, a man who was shot twice in the jungle and divorced twice. He told me over a glass of whiskey that the bullets were nothing compared to the divorces. I told him I’d been divorced before too, and he said “good, I wouldn’t trust a soldier whose never been divorced.”

My motorcycle serves as my freedom, my best friend, and my therapy. Veterans love our motorcycles, the rush of riding, and the comradeship within the motorcycle community. We feel strongly about our motorcycles, we take care of them arguably better than we take care of ourselves. It’s similar to the Rifleman’s creed in the Marine Corps and from the movie Full Metal Jacket.

-My motorcycle is my best friend. It is my life; I must master it as I master my life.

-Without me, my motorcycle is useless. Without my motorcycle, I am useless.

Maybe I’m not entirely useless without my motorcycle, but I’m a hell of a lot happier on it than off it.  Riding provides an incredible feeling that’s difficult to compare to anything else. You are zeroed in on the road ahead of you and nothing besides yourself, the bike and the road exist. Your worries fade away and all your senses come alive when you’re riding. It’s an adrenaline rush to lean your body from side to side and to feel the connection with the machine. You shift gears subconsciously and you feel out the road and flow of traffic around you.

Bikers understand why dogs stick their heads of the window. If you have a passenger, their life is in your hands, it’s the ultimate responsibility. You ride on another plane of thought. It’s hard to block out the negativity that’s everywhere in the world but riding totally clears your head. Because if you’re thinking about the news, your date Friday night, or how you’re going to pay the bills you might end up in a ditch with your bike on top of you. I’ve felt lost at times in my life. I’ve been lost before on my motorcycle, but I’ve never felt lost. Riding is peace.

Mar_TheRipper a USMC Vet and Entrepreneur

The motorcycle community and the veteran community have a lot in common. It’s about trust and respect. A lot of veterans find a familiar home in the motorcycle community after service. The military and the biker world both have their own language, complete with acronyms and slang. There are hand signals when you’re riding, just like a military patrol. There are rules to follow, and an unspoken code of respect and conduct between riders.

People riding wave to one another on the road. We know that’s our friend even if we don’t know them personally. I’ve partied at Hells Angels clubhouses, rode for charity, and supported military causes. I’ve gotten to know a lot of great veterans and shared in some incredible moments. Being a biker and being in the military are both ways of life.  

Veterans have long had a love affair with motorcycles. We love the rush of riding and civilian life is short on the adrenaline the military provided. Go get on two wheels because “wind therapy” is better than traditional therapy. Dan Aykroid said, “You don’t need a therapist if you own a motorcycle.” Civilian life can be boring for veterans, we need the thrill of speed and danger. Riding is a drug, but it isn’t going to ruin your life. If you don’t know how to ride, it’s time to learn. Then ride fast, ride with your friends, and join one of the best communities in America.

When your bike is broken, you fix it….and when you’re broken, your bike fixes you.

Featured picture is Mar_TheRipper.

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