Great info for great riding
What's The Most Important Thing
Some time ago, a friend who was "thinking about" buying his first motorcycle asked me: "What's the most important thing I should know about motorcycle riding?"
You Should Know About Motorcycle Riding?
I thought it was a pretty good question…and this is the answer I gave him: "If you ride a motorcycle, eventually you're going to have an accident."
I went on to explain he might drop his bike in a parking lot when going only five miles per hour or when traveling much faster on the open road; that he might cause the mishap himself or it would be the fault of another vehicle; or some other factor -- maybe gravel on the road -- would bring him down.
I wanted to make it clear, if he was going to ride, he'd be putting himself in danger.
Perhaps I wasn't being the best ambassador for our sport.
I suppose I could have described such things as the freedom he'd enjoy when riding or the thrill of leaning into the turns when cruising along twisty roads.
But if he'd really
wanted to ride motorcycles, I believe he'd already have had some sense of what he'd like about the experience. He wouldn't have needed my encouragement.
This fellow never did buy a motorcycle.
Why did you start riding?
I don't believe any of my friends who ride motorcycles thought very hard about whether or not they'd buy a bike in the first place.
They simply decided to buy one then did it.
I think most riders are bitten by the motorcycle bug early on. Many take their first ride on a friend's dirt bike then get their own to zip along back roads and trails.
Some are introduced to the thrill of riding as a passenger on a road bike and afterward want to try it on their own.
My dad told me about his Henderson
For me, the kernel of desire to ride motorcycles was planted in my mind when I was about 10 yeas old.
That's when my
father first told me about the four-cylinder Henderson he rode when he was a young sailor in the Navy during the 1930s. Henderson built one of the largest and fastest motorcycles back then.
Here's a photo of a nicely restored Henderson similar to the my father's machine...
After hearing about Dad's Henderson, I started to take more than a passing notice of the black and white Harleys parked in front of the police station in our town.
Kick start drama
When walking to and from school, if I was lucky, I got to see one of the motorcycle patrol officers climb aboard his motorcycle, kick start the engine to life then roar off.
I'd never even ridden on a motorcycle -- let alone drive one -- until I got my driver's license. But I'd known for many years that's what I'd do.
Since then, motorcycles have gotten infinitely more reliable and better handling. Riding gear gives us great comfort, protection and versatility -- and improvements are constant.
But the volume of traffic we must contend with increases every year. With so many more vehicles -- and distracted drivers -- on the road, motorcycle riding is more dangerous than ever.
Faced with these conditions, we must remain
extra defensive and extra vigilant whenever we ride.
I purposely don't encourage anyone to take up motorcycle riding. If someone asks me about it, I'm happy to carry on.
And if another prospective rider asked me what I think is the most important thing they should know about motorcycle riding, I'd use the same answer I gave the first time.
What would you say?
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Blatant self promotion...Books by Brian Salisbury
Please join me on my trips to popular destinations and rides down roads less traveled...
I recently launched a three-book series containing motorcycle travel and adventure stories and observations drawn from my jaunts throughout the United States and Canada.
for a complete description of these books along with the road tales they contain...
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