Michael Clark has by far the coolest job in the world. He took the phrase, “you have a swimming pool in your back yard!” to a whole new level. But instead of a swimming pool, his backyard is New Zealand- some of the most beautiful riding someone could ever experience. If you lived in New Zealand and wanted a Royal Enfield, Mike is the guy who gets for you. Mike has been working with Royal Enfield’s for over 8 years and has some pretty awesome ideas for the Royal Enfield brand and riding motorcycles in general.
“These bikes are so versatile. You can zip around town, you can commute, or you can even strap a bag on and go around the world. They can run on anything, they can run off the smell of an oily rag!” He has a pretty far out lifestyle. After picking up a 2014 Royal Enfield military from us, there is no end destination in sight, as long as it is through Mexico. “This motorcycle allows you to go places you would never ordinary go, it allows you a freedom to explore places other people have never even seen or heard about. When you go to a place with a preconceived notion of what the people or place will be like, it’s always different, it’s always exciting and new” (Clark).
Over the course of a week with Michael I heard him politely correct a number of people on their preconceived notions about what they have “heard” from someone else. The best example I can use is when my girlfriend told us how afraid she was of sharks and why that’s the reason she doesn’t get in the ocean. I’ll never forget what Michael said next, “you know that more people die each year due to a vending machine falling down on them than shark attacks”, I was shocked! Every time Michael told people his plans of traveling through Mexico on his Royal Enfield, they would look at him like he was crazy. “There’s a culture of fear in the world. People are made to fear a lot of things, they are told to fear a lot of things. I don’t want to live in fear of anything”. How many of our daily decisions are based on a fear of something. Whether it’s fear of getting lost, rejection, running out of money, or even worse, losing something valuable.
“The freedom you get from riding a motorcycle, grounds you. The things that stress you out melt away while riding a motorcycle, it’s very liberating! You have a lot of time to think while you ride. This is what I am doing right now, I am forced to be here right now”, says Michael. “A lot of times the places you ride are new and inspirational. You start to realize, ‘wow this is the world’. You learn a lot of things from riding around the world. Especially on a Royal Enfield, these are the kind of bikes that people want to talk to you about, they are very approachable bikes”.
After talking and hanging with Michael for a few days I started to sense a type of simplistic lifestyle that he lived by. If it couldn’t fit on his Enfield, then he wasn’t taking it. “Life gets more and more complicated, the more you collect the more it gets complicated. Motorcycles are almost like horses; it’s the way of traveling, the old way of traveling. I wish more people would experience the freedom of riding a motorcycle. It’s not just something to get you from a to b, it opens up a whole new world. If you are riding a motorcycle, you are forced to break everything down to necessities. When you realize at the end of the trip that half the things you brought you didn’t even use, next time I will pack for the trip it gets simpler”.
Michal’s concept of simplistic traveling could even be metaphor for the physical or even emotional baggage we carry on a daily basis. “The things you own, end up owning you (one of his favorite quotes). We live in a consumer society, all you need is yourself. It’s very liberating to empty your baggage”. Michael then brought up a president who has some great ways of looking at life; Jose Mujica, president of Uruguay. “oh man, you gotta look into this dude!”, he then quoted him “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live” (President Jose Mujica).
Michael then goes on to say, “at the end we are all really lost, nobody knows where we are going. Some people find that exciting and some people find that freighting”. My good friend Michael finds it exciting. “I’m a person trying to figure it out”. And I know you are probably guessing, what’s his one word to describe the Royal Enfield motorcycle experience? “My one word is essence. Royal Enfield’s bring back the core essence of motorcycling”. It was a pleasure getting to know Michael over the last week, he’s currently on the road traveling through Mexico with over 3,000 miles on his bike already. I wish you the best during your travels amigo!
I have to end it with one last quote from my good friend Michael; “The biggest risk of all- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later”.