I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while so I thought I’d just put it up here to get it out of my system…
Now firstly this is based on absolutely zero facts – there’s no science or data involved – it’s just one of those things that I’ve been fantasising about recently while riding my bike.
It was inspired by something that a friend of mine, general awesome car person Alex Roy, wrote about last year at some point.
He’s fond of discussing what impact true autonomous vehicles will have on not just the car industry, but also on the people who actively enjoy driving for driving’s sake.
He hypothesised that as cars move towards full autonomy, so it will be harder to get your kicks from driving enjoyment – you’d become more or less a passenger in your own vehicle with little actual input into controlling it physically.
Off the back of this, he supposed that people would take to the backroads of America (he’s American), where dedicated facilities would be open to the public wanting to actually pilot their cars around marked out routes – like a casual racing circuit.
He also said that the uptake of motorcycle riding would increase exponentially.
As I’ve been riding around the backroads of Wales recently, this part of his idea has really taken ahold in me…
The freedom offered by a motorbike is already far greater than that which you can get from driving a car. You’re less constrained by traffic jams for example, and can move much more freely at your own pace.
But imagine how much more enticing all that a motorcycle has to offer is going to seem once people start to be driven by their cars.
In the context of no control, of being herded by autonomous vehicles into, around and out of major cites, the human spirit is going to crave a sense of freedom ever more than it has done before.
As we get shunted around in tin cans at the mercy of our computer controlled societies, so our feelings of being trapped will increase.
The ideal way to escape those constraints will be by climbing onboard a motorbike, where you the rider will forever be in control of every action and movement. Imagine how much greater that feeling of freedom will be when it’s lined up alongside your autonomous Tesla-controlled car!
But where to ride your new-found freedom giver?
Mountain biking has been given a boon in recent years with the advent of dedicated bike parks – Bike Park Wales is Britain’s best example of this.
As a mountain biker it has everything you could want, all in one place. You don’t have to think about anything, you just turn up with your bike to your pre-booked everything and go ride. It’s like tinned joy.
So imagine that but on a grander scale for motorcycles, in the back country of Wales. You’d arrive for your weekend and just go riding along miles of back roads with no worries about your computer controlled mid-week life. You’d just be out there, living.
Right now there are plans in motion to build a race circuit in Ebbw Vale – the Circuit of Wales – one grand enough to host MotoGP races and many other forms of motorsport. That would be the ideal base for our imagined motorcycle park, an outdoor playground for anyone with two-wheels, an engine and a will to forget about the world for a day or two.
There are already plans afoot to develop Circuit of Wales as a base for motorcycle clubs and ride-ins, which as many of us like a meet-up spot pre- or post-ride, sounds like a great thing for not just Welsh bikers but nationwide.
In the future this could see Wales as an escape destination, reinvigorating not only the local area but with a positive knock-on for the whole country (I’ve always maintained Wales to be the UK’s California – just with worse weather).
Obviously right now we don’t need a dedicated motorcycle park, we can just go out there and ride, but think about how great it would be to have that as an option in the future, set against the backdrop of an overly computer-controlled future-scape…