Dan Tandy, Co-Owner of O’Toole’s Harley Davidson, Wurtsboro, New York on his custom-built Harley RoadKing
Reaching a meditative state of mind isn’t always achieved on the yoga mat or in the ashram. For many people, Nirvana is achieved on two wheels with the wind in your face and something hard between your legs! I recently interviewed Dan Tandy, co-owner of O’Toole’s Harley Davidson in Wurtsboro, NY. I asked him to explain to me how his many years of riding helps him to relax, clear his mind, and how riding transcends him into a ‘Zen-like’ state of mind. Dan is unusual. During the week, he is a trader and a Governor of The New York Stock Exchange. On weekends, he switches gears and, like Clark Kent, changes from his mild-mannered suit into his jeans and leather jacket and is a very well-known personality in the Harley Davidson community. Here’s what Dan had to say on the subject of Zen and the art of motorcycle riding:
“I believe when most people (in or out of the riding lifestyle) think of going for motorcycle rides , they picture large groups of bikers riding together for the day, wild weekend events, or fund-raising rides to attract attention for a charitable cause. Well that’s not me. I have been a rider on and off for most of my life and for the most part, it’s an individual experience. I have been riding Harley Davidsons exclusively since 1994. The feeling of exhilaration, thrills of speed and cornering are phenomenal. However, what always brings me back, and what consistently puts me in the saddle is the peace of mind and relaxation that I get when riding. I wish I could explain it better, but I often say that whether I go out for a half hour or a day trip, it feels like a mini vacation. I don’t listen to music or ride with a windshield. I like to feel the wind (and yes sometimes bugs) in my face. You see, hear, and smell things on a motorcycle that you just don’t experience any other way. Everything becomes so real…from exhaust to flowers to sea air. I don’t really know what Zen is, but I suspect it has something to do with going down the road on a Harley; feeling the power of the machine, the sunshine on your back and seeing a blue sky. The stress leaves the body, the head clears as you focus on the task at hand – which is simply to ride and enjoy. I come back refreshed and ready for whatever life brings until I can ride again.”
Simply said. As a Zen master once said to me, “when you walk you walk, when you eat, you eat. This is Zazen.” I guess my Zen master never sat on a Harley or he would have said “when you ride, you ride!” I have practiced Zen but I also own a Harley FatBoy, so I relate to what Dan Tandy is speaking about. Nirvana…it’s not always achieved on the mat or in the ashram. What’s your favorite method of achieving that Zen-like state of mind? Write in and share your story today! All comments welcome! Namaste!