We can read social media posts, online accounts, manuals, books, and anthologies all about motorcycles.
We can buy all the proper and fancy gear and gadgetry.
We can hang out with bikers; learn the culture; adopt the lingo; rally the biker spirit within.
We can become a MC enthusiast, going so far as to adorn our daily 4-tire vehicle with a bumper sticker that reads: “My other car is a motorcycle,” so everyone is sure to know.
We can even have a bike and trick it out with bells and whistles and state-of-the-art this and eye-catching that.
But none of this can teach us how to ride.
To learn, we have to get on the bike and cruise around.
We have to get comfortable wielding it to and fro; experience the subtleties; navigate turns and winding roads; practice how to stop at red lights without lurching around like a bucking bronco.
We can only know what it is to breathe in the fragrant tangle of pine trees or a freshly cultivated field of hay while going 70-mph on a bike by doing it. There is no other proper substitute aside from bearing direct witness.
And then to gain skill, we have to keep riding.
We have to keep lacing up our boots, firing up the engine, ratcheting on our helmet, and taking to the road.