OK everyone, I'm very interested in hearing what brought each of us into this community called Miles-by-Motorcycle. I don't really mean who introduced you to the site, more along the lines of what the appeal to the site and concept is. I'm interested in the what/why more than the who. As this is my thread I'll go ahead and go first.
For me Miles-by-Motorcycle is a concept and an ideal; fully taking advantage of what the motorcycling community can and should be. Motorcycling is at once both entirely individual and remarkably social with both aspects being a significant draw for me personally. This is how I feel about motorcycling:
I love being able to put on my helmet and hit the road with minimal distraction. Motorcycles, when ridden well, demand pretty full attention from us at all times. Uniquely in the motoring world, motorcycles require the use of both hands and both feet to operate separate controls concurrently. This becomes so second nature to us that we don't really appreciate the complexity of it all. Being able to spend time focused on the operation of the bike, the road ahead, and the constant calculations of tying together entries, apexes, and exits into a smooth flow is magic. Everything else drifts back, creating an opportunity for great inner calm and reflection.
I also like to ride well and push myself to be better. Like everything else in life, there is always more to be learned piloting a motorcycle and there can be great dividends to be had approaching it always as a student. Only you are in control of your bike, it makes sense to want to always be in total control of the machine. Motorcyclists are more properly called "pilots" and not "riders". We ride things that we are not in control of, we pilot things that we are in control of. I always seek to be in a position where I am telling the bike what to do: ride within the limits limits of man and machine, don't exceed the friction circle, set the bike up properly, and learn how to do these things the right way.
As much fun as it is to go out and ride alone, it can be as fun and more so to ride with others. This is true in small groups, like going out with one or two other riders of the same skill level where the focus can be on the riding. Larger groups are also fun, where the true social aspects of motorcycling are brought out with camaraderie and a shared experience being as much or more important than the actual riding. And, of course, there is everything in between, from quick trips to Starbucks to friends going to watch some races for the day. The riding community is simply fun.
So, where does Miles-by-Motorcycle fit into this for me?
In the individual aspects of motorcycling I am always trying to improve my riding, my approach, bike maintenance, etc. Being involved in a community that includes many like minded people facilitates all of this. Part of the focus of M-by-M is rider education and the support of continuous learning. There is always help at hand whether it is for ideas on better corner entry or how to get a sticking oil filter off. Socially, Miles-by-Motorcycle offers a community of like minded folks who really get that motorcycling should be fun and inclusive. There are opportunities to ride and hang out with a broad spectrum of fellow enthusiasts at all levels of experience and commitment. There are also opportunities for those of us with more experience to share our knowledge with new motorcyclists, and for us to learn from those with even more experience - both on road and track. The members of M-by-M are not entirely defined by motorcycling, but their approach to motorcycling speaks a lot about who they are in the broader sense and I like them.