I bought my motorcycle in late February, and began riding in March. Since then I’ve managed to put over 3000 miles on it and am having a ball. I have yet to get a speeding ticket or dump the bike, but I’m realizing that its time to take less chances and slow down a bit.
These are a few things I’ve learned:
A lot of people ride with shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt. Yes, its been very hot and its very tempting, but I try to wear my jacket with protection, long pants, gloves and a helmet every time. (I’ve been wearing sneakers lately but am buying shoes that are a compromise called Kickers, made by Shift)
People have asked me if I am hot in all that gear. So far I haven’t smacked anyone or even screamed at them, but even a fall out of a coffee shop with beachwear could be a bloody mess so fuck em.
I’ve had several close calls with people pulling out in front of me so now I do a few things I didn’t do before. I look both ways at lights and wait a second rather than try to beat the turning cars. I try to slow down approaching blind curves just in case. And when I do play Evel Knievel and go 80 or 90 miles per hour, I pick the roads carefully.
I was watching a young couple practice in a park the other day and suddenly the girl fell. Turns out they had just come from The Motorcycle Safety course and wanted to get in some practice. She was riding a very old, very large Honda and got overconfident. She was just shaken up but I hope they paid more attention on the second day.
Really its a matter of riding within your ability and recognizing the risk. If you are crazy enough to speed past 3 Harley’s doing 80……uh, never mind that. Yes, its dangerous. Unlike a car you are not belted in, have no big shatterproof windshield, and are riding on 2 very small tires. A sudden stop for a dog in the road or an asshole cutting across lanes at even 55 mph can be fatal.
But do I let the threat of permanent disfigurement, paralysis, broken bones, or brain injury stop me from enjoying a fantastic sport? NO! There are many things in life that are dangerous and most can be made safer with training and awareness.