Do you want to know why we ride a motorcycle?
It’s for the FREEDOM that we ride!
And that is reason #1!
Our self-image is at a high level…
Unless you are one of us, you probably don’t get what all the fuss is about!
I will let you in on the secret of “What are 5 reasons to ride a motorcycle?”
Motorcycle Riders Look Sexy!
For a lot of people, this could be reason #2!
This is everyone’s fatal attraction to motorcycling. There is no denying the sex appeal – it’s right there!
There’s that brotherhood language too, with a carefree and dangerous attitude. A bad boy!
I heard that women look sexy on motorcycles too. That wouldn’t be my main objective…
But it wouldn’t hurt my feelings either!
Riders have to be strong. Our motorcycle weighs 740 lbs! And we ride two up…
With packing and gear, it is about 930 lbs the driver has to maneuver… There are no training wheels on these machines.
If you didn’t have muscles when you started riding, it won’t be long before you’re sporting that tight black leather shirt!
What Would Entice Me To Ride A Motorcycle?
It’s small and easy to park. This could be good reason #3 to ride!
But that’s offset by not having much space for packing.
On the plus side, there is the aspect of fuel economy.
But that’s offset by not being sheltered from the weather.
I would ride a motorcycle to a grocery store if I lived alone in a motel room.
All my possessions would have to fit in the saddle bags.
But since life is about freedom, fewer possessions IS a great way to go!
WHERE would you go if you COULD go?.. First, we have to get ready!
Buying My First “Leather”.
THE GEAR is #4!
In the late 1960s, a nice girl on a motorcycle did not wear black leather. I bought a navy blue leather jacket.
Try to find navy blue leather for sale anywhere today! Ha!
Fast forward to the 2012s – yes I was still in this, more so than ever!
I owned not one, but two jackets, scarves, gloves, pants, and chaps… all in black leather! This was my rebellious side!
I was given a heated vest for my birthday, in July!
Be practical… there’s winter riding and summer riding and you need to be prepared.
You Need Chaps!
Did I say there was a sexy side to motorcycle riding?.. It’s the chaps.
Sunglasses should fit nicely with your helmet.
Not too dark … we’re not rock stars! We’re bikers!
I wear a face shield (yes, I am a princess) and fingerless gloves!
GORT SAYS: DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK THE PART
Motorcycling is great fun! #5!
The SPORT is a great reason to ride … as I will prove to you:
When you go on a charity rally and as they get ready for takeoff, and all the bikes start up at once – sometimes 1 or 2 thousand – and that sound takes over and settles in your chest and you are part of that group and you have a lump in your throat as you try to smile at the people around you and you just want to cry! … It makes me so proud!
There is great camaraderie and bikers are like-minded people.
We have the same interests, like caravaners or bird watchers. We all exchange adventure stories, ogle each other’s ride and make friends easily.
If you like to drive and travel, the fuel economy is great, it’s easy to park and you’ll always be planning another adventure.
Life-of-a-Biker In A Nutshell!
What’s Your Etiquette?
You need to plan your stops, even if it’s raining.
When you stop somewhere, get off the road as far as possible.
If you are attending to your own business, there is always a vehicle out there where the driver will not notice you.
The sign of a motorcyclist in distress is to place his DOT helmet on the ground, a few feet behind the motorcycle… But watch out for that driver who doesn’t see you…
He’ll drive over your helmet!
You need a lookout; someone to shout and gesture, wildly, at that approaching van holding six kids…make it turn away… So that you all live for today!
How Big Is This Vehicle?
Ok, so back to the issue of space.
If you’re riding alone, take what you want and need. So be it.
BUT if you are riding two up, what you take and how much is a joint decision.
Take as few toiletries as you need, and don’t ever pack a hairdryer.
It goes against that free-spirited image we have!
We like a change of clothes for three or four days.
Make bundles … roll one T-shirt with underwear and one pair of socks…
Pack a lightweight jacket and a long sleeve t-shirt or two.
I’ll pack one pair of sandals so that if we stop somewhere to walk around I can take off these horrible, hot boots I have to wear!
They have their great protection with easy access side, and they have their horrible, hot side.
Speaking Of Princess!
Just one more thing, cupcake, before you set off into the wild blue.
Don’t think for one minute that you are going to ride in shorts and sandals… You are not!
If your bike goes down at any speed, you will leave a strip on the road… you will never show your skin again.
Wear the proper gear, even if it’s heavy, hot, and unattractive... You’ll thank me later.
How Wet Was It?
There is a weather issue to consider. If you are the type of girl who cannot stand to have your hair mussed, this is not for you… You will be caught in the rain – often!
You will live with helmet hair.
Remember I asked, “Where would you go if you could go”?
We went on a 988-mile ride to Thunder Bay Ontario with another couple.
And it rained for at least 5 days out of 10!
There were three motorcycles: the other couple each had their own and I was a passenger.
We did not have a touring bike back then… I thought this would be the end of me!
I was convinced that all my bones had been dislocated.
Since we had an original seat, we had to stop every 90 minutes, so I could get circulation back into my legs… Not to mention my poor derriere!.. Oy!
And it rained!
When the first drops started to fall, we stopped in a town, on the side street, away from traffic. We were only two hours from home! Why didn’t we just turn back?
Because we were loving every minute of it!!
Grab Your Rain Suits, Everyone!
We dug out our rain gear so we could suit up and continue the ride! (Lucky us).
I did not have my super-duper boots back then – getting the right gear was still a work in progress.
The rain pants would not fit over my old boots and since everyone else was ready to go, I stuffed the rain pants back into the saddlebag.
I had the rain jacket on at least; how bad could it be?.. I would be fine.
Later on, as we drove through that biting rain, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?”
It had been pouring, hard, for an hour.
I was drenched, and the seat ran with water… This is how bad it could be.
We decided to pull into a rest stop.
Do you remember: “You need to plan your stops, even in the rain”?
It rained down so hard that we took a wrong turn, and ran into a dead–end barricade in the parking lot.
When we tried to turn around, a transport truck coming in behind us blocked our exit.
And as we waited for that huge rig to chug into a parking space, we sat… In the HARD, pelting rain… for an HOUR!
Ok, it was about fifteen minutes, but you understand. We had to suck it up… we couldn’t move from where we were… there was no getting around this guy.
When we went inside the building, the employees looked up in shock!
They had that “Oh, no! Go away!” look on their faces.
We weren’t going anywhere… We were here to drip and dry off. We parked ourselves in a corner, next to the bathroom.
Standing in puddles we used paper towels to soak up this morass! We cleaned up as best we could.
After their initial shock, the staff at this outpost were amazing! They told us not to worry too much as they would mop up the area later.
THEN, they gave us dry towels to wipe our bikes; the rain had abated for a while.
We said our goodbyes and squished and slid back to our chariots.
The boots would dry in time.
When we look back on this trip, we especially remember this event … It’s only funny when you look back!
Really? Was It That Bad?
Our tempers flared a little bit: “Why didn’t he just wait until we got out of there before he drove in?”
Well, it was raining for him too. He was sitting up so high, maybe he didn’t see that we were stuck at a dead end. I think he felt bad about it but this was a big truck and it was raining hard...
Yes, but he was DRY!
(Read the whole story here, about this momentous trip!)
What Is So Special About The Timing?
Fast forward, to 2020. We have a touring bike now which is miles ahead of how I started this adventure.
The saddle is as comfortable as an easy chair and there is more space for packing.
It’s easy to nod off!
We have invested in touring luggage that is mounted behind my seat.
My husband is the best motorcycle rider I know.
He is also the oldest, and that experience shows.
When you are good at motorcycle riding, you are good at all kinds of driving.
You are alert and more responsive, and far more aware as a bike rider.
That is because you have to think for yourself at an intersection, and you have to
think for the other drivers facing you, too.
You have to anticipate their actions; remember, they have not noticed you yet!
I am not a fan of starting to ride when you retire.
Your senses have to be heightened to ride, and when you retire and ride,
you can’t be laid back.
If you want to ride, later on, start now.
Get into a good class of riders.
By that, I mean that they use and understand
They are not grandstanding… they will teach you sensible caution.
Ride with this group for a year or two.
Whenever you can, have your passenger with you.
Two on the bike means that two people drive the bike.
It’s a joint effort.
Also, you could start with a three-wheeler.
Anonymous: “Motorcycles are not in themselves dangerous. But… They are extremely unforgiving of inattention, laidback incompetence or stupidity”.
If you are any of these things while riding, you are the one who will pay, not anyone else.
Is There Any Good News About This?
Just because people are the way they are, typically young riders are more reckless than older drivers.
Reckless, but he does not suffer as much damage;
nor is that damage as severe as it is for a senior rider.
We’re older, so let’s deal with it just as we deal with everything else in life:
- Stay smart – remain educated and learn all the laws of the road.
Take a course and be road-savvy
- Only wear DOT-approved helmets (Department Of Transport)
- Wear chest protection – this is typically where seniors suffer greater damage
- Wear all the correct gear and you can look like Gort up there!
Is This Good For My Mental Health?
“Riding a motorcycle brings a sense of calm and ease to your mind and body, which could be achieved otherwise only through meditation”. (Quora)
There is such joy on a ride. Just being in the weather with wind surging around you is a great elixir.
You get an adrenaline rush and you feel great!
You have cleared your head. It’s an emotional release, like yoga and exercise.
Among married couples, a common conclusion is that there is no need for marriage counseling.
As commented on Quora: Many riders refer to their bike as their therapist, as motorcycles make you feel energized and refreshed after each ride.
Go on a ride together as a couple for a weekend and feel the stress leave you before you exit the driveway!
What About That Lazy Passenger?
I mentioned that I am the passenger and as such, there’s an onus on us.
You need to know all the road signals for every move the driver executes.
Right turn, left turn, slow down, single file, and “road kill” so no one rides through it!
I know it would be funny if someone did drive through that roadkill. (shouldn’t laugh!)
There’s a practical issue here: it’s dangerous!
If you are unaware you could lose control and be in an accident… slippery when wet!
At the very least you could suffer major damage to your motorcycle.
Now, how WILL you get home?
Your job is to make your motorcycle and the two of you, as visible as possible.
For a look in detail at that ride, click here…
And you thought you would just take a little nap?
No, you won’t, Princess.
You will be too busy enjoying the ride!