Reconciling the dangers of motorcycling is a reality all riders have to grapple with. Here’s this thing we love that seems to bring wholeness, that feeds our imagination, that makes us happy, yet there’s this dark side that brings suffering and death. It’s like the beloved family dog, who without provocation, one day snaps and bites your child. Can you love the dog again? Is the just thing to do to put the dog down?
In this Red Bull documentary about Dakar winner Toby Price, we come face to face with the tragedies and triumphs of motorcycling. Price overcomes near-devastating injuries and then he’s shaken to the core when friend and off-road legend Kurt Caselli dies in an accident during competition.
The documentary doesn’t linger on the question of how to reconcile the motorcycle’s life-giving, life-taking nature. But I can’t help but see the question woven through the narrative. As Price glides over dunes and floats above rugged terrain, his wheels more in the air than on the ground, it conveys that motorcycling is a grace-filled act. Our bodies have a tenuous hold on this world. Perhaps it’s only grace that keeps us here anyway.
The motorcycle destroys and takes lives, yet it can bring near incalculable joy. For riders, like Price, who’ve experienced tragedy at the hands of the thing they love the most, reconciling the duality is a journey as brutal and strengthening for the soul as racing the Dakar is for the body and mind.
How have you come to grips with this aspect of motorcycling? Comment below.