Motorcycle Drive By – Your First Bike
Many of you have been thinking about buying a bike for years, but have also hesitated for years. Riding a motorcycle IS dangerous. Riding a motorcycle is a very cool way to express some style while you go about your every day business. Kind of like driving a Prius sends a message that you are a liberal, environmentally conscious and kind person, riding a bike has always sent a strong message that you are risk taker, you resist authority and conventional thinking, and of course, you enjoy speed! Riding a bike can also send a message that you are broke, especially if you are riding it in the rain, but that’s beside the point. Riding a bike is still very cool, any way you slice it.
We will assume you have taken a safety course, have a license and all that other stuff. When you first start riding your bike, there is a 99% chance you are going to lay it down, unintentionally or intentionally. Since this is your first time riding, do NOT borrow your old man’s Harley. Somewhere around 400 to 500 cc is a good size engine for learning. By the way ‘cc’ is cubic centimeters and is basically the size of the engine, the more cc’s, the larger and more powerful the bike. A 500 cc motorcycle has enough power to blow the doors off most cars, and skin you up pretty good if you get into a wreck. Here is the important part, resist the temptation to start with a powerful engine, and stay away from crotch rockets. You want a stable bike that is easy to handle. Think The Fonz from Happy Days. Hone your skills first, then when you are ready to upgrade you will have a much better understanding of your needs.
Consider your needs when choosing your first bike. Will you be riding in traffic ? Will you be riding off-road ? If you are primarily going to riding on weekends you might be more tolerant of a bike that is not as comfortable, but looks really cool. If you are going to be riding long distances then you want something comfortable. Its always good to talk to a trusted friend who can guide you through this process.
Once you have chosen your bike, there are some golden rules that the DMV will not tell you:
- Always pay close attention to your tires. Blowouts are a real bitch. In a car, you just wobble over to the side of the road, on a bike you slide to the shoulder and often bleed.
- While riding do NOT brake in the center of a lane, this is often where oil and gravel collect and can make for a challenging experience.
- Never ride over, or turn on a manhole cover, they can be slick, especially on hot days.
- Don’t ever buy a motorcycle with a radio, that’s a car with a kickstand.
- Buy a cool jacket AND helmet … other than the obvious style points, they may save your life.
- Before you buy your bike, watch The Great Escape, Easy Rider and The World’s Fastest Indian – the three best motorcycle movies.
Be safe and enjoy riding. Its true what they say – chicks dig it … and so will you.