What Motorcycles Taught Me About Being a Coward

Throughout the last two decades, there are so many things that motorcycles have taught me about being a coward. There is a lesson in every ride. But it can take time for the meaning to make itself known.

Sometimes that lesson is directly related to the act of riding. And others, it transcends the machine.

What Exactly is a Coward, Anyway?

Merriam Webster’s good book defines it as such:

cow·​ard | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)rd  \
Definition of coward
(Entry 1 of 2)one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity

chickencravencurdastardfunkpoltroon*, recreantsissy

Fuzzygalore's KTM 690 Enduro on a trail

Whew, timidity? I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like I have that in spades.

I’ve quivered, wrestled with indecision, and flat out refused to do some things because I was chicken. Many times, I’ve applied the brakes when the correct answer was more gas. And, I’ve found myself sitting at the edge of a water crossing while the rest of the pack has ridden away.

In the end, when I’ve backed away from challenges, I gained nothing.

When you don’t keep up your momentum and lean deeply through life’s curves, the thrill just isn’t there.

The big moments, big achievements, life’s hard-fought triumphs? Honey, those aren’t found in the arms of your comfort zone.

Lean in. Deeply.

Start with Being Brave Enough to Try

Fuzzygalore's KTM 690 Enduro on a trail

In my experiences where mushing my fears in the face were required, what I imagined the outcome to be was far worse than reality.

What if I don’t make it up the rocky hill on my bike? What if I fall? What if I submarine my bike in that puddle?

I don’t know. What if?

What if you try to ride up that hill and none of those mistakes happen?

What if you discover you’re a badass?

And hell, you might fail on the first try. You might crash trying to get your bike over an obstacle.

So what?

Each “fail” is a win.

Stop to consider that each time you don’t make it, you gain experience. You learn ways not to do something. Plus, you earn the knowledge that screwing something up isn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be.

Convincing yourself that you can’t ride over a log or through a water crossing and not even bothering to give it a shot? That’s a guaranteed failure.

For a mere split second all you have to do is be brave enough to try.

Feeling Cowardly Isn’t a Fixed State of Being


Tired of being a wallflower?

Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Now… come closer…


Yeah, you can! The people riding around the world or doing track days, they aren’t made up of anything special. They’re just people. Not magic people. Regular people who had the courage to go after something they wanted.

Your motorcycle loves you. Use it as a key to unlock the potential within yourself.

Start slow. Start small. Just start.

My Motorcycle, My Teacher

Fuzzygalore and her KTM 690 Enduro near a stream

So what have motorcycles taught me about being a coward?

It’s taught me that when I feel cowardly, it’s up to me to ride through it. The fear isn’t a fixed state of being. Being brave enough to lean harder, go faster, ride further for just a split second can make all the difference.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

George Addair

* It’s a shame that poltroon is negative. It would be much more fun if it was someone who wore a chicken suit full time.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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4 Responses

  1. Ted Kettler says:

    “Paltroon” is too fun of word for it’s definition.

    “Imagine yourself 20 feet in front of where you are now. Imagine that’s where you want to be. Where you are now is the result of your own self applied limitations. Be where you want to be, be 20 feet in front of yourself”. – A Dude

  2. Mike says:

    Nothing is ever as bad as we imagine-nothing. As for facing our fears it seems so insane to keep running but as Auden said, We would rather die in our dread than cross the mountain of the moment. Yes, I’m a poltroon.

  3. Mike says:

    Bravery isn’t the absence of fear. It’s being scared as hell – but doing it anyway.

  4. Shybiker says:

    Yup. So true. Motorcycling made me braver in other areas of life, too; something I didn’t expect but am grateful for. Its lessons permeate our entire self.

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