The simile of Motorcycles and Community Based Research

In an attempt to keep my blog momentum going from my recent motorcycle adventure I asked myself what is it that I love so much about riding a motorcycle, and what does it have to do with my other all consuming passion Community Based Research?


On the surface you may think “what are you talking about? Riding a bike and doing research have nothing in common!”


Well after 14,000 kms to ponder this very question here is my simile for you.


Motorcycles are like Community Based Research because….


1)   it will always takes you longer to get anywhere than you initially plan.

2)   the people you trek with or meet along the way will be the foundation of a successful (and memorable) journey.

3)   The journey is just as important as the destination.

4)   Practice doesn’t make perfect – the world will always have new variables to throw in the mix.

5)   The map you create before leaving may be altered along the way – flexibility is key


Perhaps now that I have written these down they will stop running through my head every time I participate in either riding or researching!


I hope you have enjoyed reading my ponderings as much as I did thinking and writing about them.



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1 Comment

  1. Sometimes we can find ideas from the most unlikely sources – though travel is always a good inspiration for seeing things in a new light! Would love to hear any other stories or thoughts from your journey. Another idea would be a “don’t leave home without” kit for those about to embark on a community-based research voyage, whether it be a literal toolbox (sticky notes and sharpies!) or a collection of resources, skills, and mindsets.

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“There are many words to describe Natalie Brown – passionate, energetic, skilled, good-natured, committed, accountable – but when I think of my experience working with Natalie as we developed the Center for Community Research, Learning and Action at Wilfrid Laurier University, one word stands out: integrity. Natalie is of “sound construction”. She approaches community practice with honesty, solid principles, and a genuineness that is unmatched. She works hard, cares deeply about the work and she values relationships above all else. I could always count on her to get things done right and with care. I certainly wish there were two of Natalie so I could leave one in Kitchener-Waterloo and bring one to work with me at my new home at the University of Miami. She’s a fantastic community researcher and action partner and I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to replace her.”
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