Got word that a friend of mine is riding from Florida to Moonshine, IL for the Annual Moonshine Lunch Run. After eating at Moonshine he is headed back to Florida. Most are probably unfamiliar with Moonshine, IL. It is literally in the middle of nowhere and if you are not sure where it is then it is very difficult to find. It has a whopping population of 2 registered residents and a single building. In this building you can get the best burger of your life.
But Moonshine and the fact that you can get the best burger is not what I’m going to talk about—beyond what has already been mentioned.
Why would anyone ride over a thousand miles to eat a burger? Are there no burgers in Florida? Well, that’s not the point and if you fail to see the point, then much of what follows will be beyond your comprehension. It is not the destination, it’s the ride.
Writers have exhausted the thesaurus trying to find the right combinations of words to adequately describe why long distance riders do what they do. To be a long distance rider you must:
Enjoy solitude – Even when you ride in a group you ride solo.
Tolerate pain – Riding long distances, regardless of how comfortable you think your seat is, is painful.
Turn a blind eye to inclement weather – Any long distance ride will ultimately come in contact with intense heat, cold weather rain, hail, dust storms and/or high winds. Often times your ride will include many (if not all) of these climatic conditions in a single day. Ride through it and come out the other side.
Look danger in the eye – Riding is inherently dangerous. The longer you ride the higher the potential for an unwanted encounter. Live with this fact and do not let it dissuade you. You can hide in fear if you like, but by doing so you rob yourself of accomplishment.
Be not disturbed by the wrong turn – A wrong turn is nothing more than an opportunity to see something you would have otherwise missed.
Expect the unexpected – Every ride, whether short or long, often has unexpected events that may alter your plan, your day or your life. If you are not comfortable with the unexpected then long distance riding is not for you.
Enjoy the little things – I have yet to be on a ride when something did not happen that made me smile. Often it is a little thing—the look of a small child from the back seat of a car, the unexpected encounter with an old friend, the sunrise or the sunset… any of these can brighten your day and enhance the ride. The little things make it all worth it.
These and other attributes are required to be a long distance rider. If you are fearful of the unexpected, bow to intimidation, back away from discomfort then you will never understand the long distance rider. And we don’t expect you to. Words cannot define what we do and we have long since stopped trying to define what we do—we just do it.
To my fellow long distance riders. Enjoy the road, ride safe, and if you happen to pass through Moonshine on a Saturday morning, stop in and get the best burger of your life.