The Silence Amidst the Roar

When I talk to people about riding two up, and particularly about our long weekend getaways, a question that often comes up is, “Do you have an intercom in your helmets so that you can talk on those long rides?” To which my answer is inevitably, “No. Absolutely not.” Which often gets an odd look. “You mean, you ride all that way together without being able to talk to each other?” So let me try to explain.

First off, on a practical, logistical level, the Concours is a sport touring bike. It’s not a big, noisy cruiser, and it certainly doesn’t have that extra distinctive assault on the ears that Harleys have. (Which is explained succinctly here if you’re interested. Also, that may be the most politely I’ve ever described the sound of a Harley).  So when we’re tooling around on country roads, we can absolutely have brief conversations if both our visors are up and the road’s empty enough for F to turn a bit and talk over his shoulder to me.

When we get out on the highway, clearly those conversations aren’t possible — but that’s okay. It’s actually kind of nice to have a bit of solitude inside your helmet, to be together with someone but also alone with your own thoughts. Since I’ve got the easy job as the passenger, I enjoy that time to relax and soak in the scenery, to find that place of silence amidst the roar of the engine and the wind. Sometimes I talk to myself. Sometimes I sing. (You can really belt it out inside a helmet at 70 mph.) Sometimes F sings, and I know by the way his helmet bobs about a bit when he does.

And besides, we do talk to each other, the entire time we’re riding. It’s the pat of my hands on his waist that means that I’m ready to go once I’ve gotten on behind him. It’s the tap on his shoulder to indicate we need to turn, or leaning forward to point to an exit sign when I’m navigating. It’s a point from him when there’s something he wants me to see, and a squeeze from my knees that says, “Yes, I see, thank you for sharing.” It’s the bike itself joining the conversation, and hearing what it says via pitch and vibration, like listening to a leading partner when dancing. It’s F putting his visor down before a stretch of curves or hills, a silent “Oh, this is about to get really fun.” It’s his left hand leaving the handlebars to clasp my shin, his arm snugged about my knee that says… well. I don’t think I can even translate that one into words, and even if I could, I think it would be words that are ours alone.



via Daily Prompt: Silence

5 thoughts on “The Silence Amidst the Roar

  1. My wife and I absolutely relate to this! Communication is rarely just verbal. While riding, we do the same gestures to signal intent (and affection) and I could also tell if she’s falling asleep on long rides with her helmet nodding against mine. So we’ve moved on to bluetooth intercom headsets, but we only use it because we want to share remarks on what we’re seeing on the road, or if a scenery evokes a short story. And since you mentioned singing (which we’ve done before separately especially on boring stretches of straight highways), now we can do a joint Karaoke listening to the same tunes! (We can listen to each our own playlist). Fortunately the need to conserve battery let’s us to go back to experiencing solitude once in a while, just like in the good old days. Great writing about the moto”culture”, especially the two-up experience. Am sure if others with similar passions discover your blog, they’d be nodding their heads while they read. Look forward to more of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading and for the kind feedback on my writing — it means a lot coming from a serious rider like yourself! Isn’t the internet an amazing place, allowing people who live on opposite sides of the planet to connect over shared interests? Your blog and your adventures are absolutely fascinating, and I look forward to reading more and getting to know you and your group through your writing. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have nailed it. I could really relate to that, and all the small gestures that say so much. I am always surprised by the number of riders who hate taking pillions as it destroys their riding experience. What they are missing is the joy of sharing their passion with someone else. Thank you.


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