When I get behind the wheel of my car I’m in my favourite place on Earth. Not many people understand the passion of driving, but for a happy few who understand this other dimension our vehicle is much more than a means of transportation, it is a living, breathing emotional animal that communicates with you if you listen with your heart and mind. Each vehicle has its personality and character, its likes and dislikes.
I’ve been driving for 34 years and in that time have owned only 11 vehicles, each vehicle behaved very differently. For 15 years my trade was a M.E.T fitter (Mechanical, Electrical & Trim) So I stripped vehicles down to their bare shells and then rebuilt them. So I get up close and personal with vehicles. My appreciation for the automobile runs very deep, I do not just see a mechanical object, but a living breathing work of art. Living, because it needs fuel just as we need food, it needs taking care of just as we do, if you abuse your vehicle it will break down just as if you abuse a relationship it can break down. If you look after your vehicle it will look after you, just as if you look after your physical body while you are young it looks after you while you are old.
As I turn my key I am blessed with the sweet roar of my engine coming to life, I listen to her idle for a minute or two until she settles down and idles at 600 rpm. I never drive off straight away, I picture my drive, the route to where I am going, I thank the universe for my car and ask the driving Gods for safe passage to my destination. There are on average 1,780 road traffic deaths each year, that’s 149 every month, and 37 every week, today in the UK 5 people will die behind the wheel of their vehicle, and I will not be one of them. I treat the roads with respect, I know the limitations of my vehicle, no one will have to slam their foot on the brakes because of me, I am within the speed limits, my radio is off because I am listening to my engine, I listen to the sound of the rubber on the road, the sound of my suspension, the sound of my brake callipers closing the sound of the pads gripping the disc. I know every sound my vehicle makes, today I could hear my offside rear wheel bearing groaning as I took the roundabout, which will need to be changed soon.
I don’t expect people to understand the relationship between man and machine, but now and again I cross the path of another driver, nothing needs to be said, we see the condition of each other’s vehicle and we both know we have found another Son of the Driving Gods. Recently I have been made aware there are many daughters of the Driving Gods, equally skilled, who appreciate their machines as much as any man. To all the Daughters of the Driving Gods, I send my love & respect.
Also, Think Bikes, Stay Alive!