Should I Ride a Motorcycle?
I have always had a love of Motorcycles. All throughout my life I wanted to get a 2 wheeled vehicle with a motor, the more power the better but then everyone told me the same thing(s) all aspiring motorcyclists hear. 'You will die, motorcycles are dangerous, motorcycle riders are just future organ donors, you will end up being scraped off the freeway with a shovel, I have a friend who's cousins uncle lost his leg on a motorcycle' On and on the tales of a fiery death get worse with each person sharing their expertise on the subject.
Each time I wanted to take that step forward to my dream sure enough someone came around and smashed it for me. I'd tuck away my motorcycle license book and proceed to live 'safe'. It wasn't really living to tell you the truth it was quite boring.
One year the urge to ride came back again, I had a desktop wallpaper of a motorcycle, a 65 year old service tech came to our office to do some equipment repair in our server room. He saw the picture and smiled and said. 'Is that your bike?' I laughed and said 'I wish'. Then I told him what I just told you .. 'I've always wanted to ride but...'.
He laughed and said 'Yeah me too, I was like that and one year I decided to ride and never looked back.'
I asked him how long he had been riding and he told me '2 years'. And I asked him, 'so.. what do you think ?'
He said 'I wish I hadn't wasted my entire life not riding'
He then told me 'Go take the MSF class, there are schools that can help you ride, wear your safety gear and be smart about it and you'll be alright'.
That sealed the deal for me and I started to do some research. Some things that opened my eyes were stats like these which you can easily find with a few google searches.
* 22% of riders in fatal crashes in 2011 did not have valid motorcycle license
* In Texas 37% of 441 riders killed in 2011 had a 0.8g or higher Blood Alcohol Level
* In 2011 of the 4000 plus riders killed in the U.S. 40% were not wearing a helmet
It became clear to me that the chance of survival greatly increases with simple things like.
* Rider Education
* Do not Drink and Ride
* Wear a Helmet (and as much safety gear as possible)
Within 2 weeks of talking to the old guy I had done some research and was signed up for my MSF course. My plan was to pursue rider education taking in as much lessons and learning as I could. I would do more than just get a motorcycle I would pursue it as a skill and do all I could to become a better motorcycle rider.
The picture at the top is of my son on his 2nd weekend riding a dirt bike. As he putts around the kiddie trails on his 70cc dirt bike I can only wish I had started younger and got the chance to learn and practice something that I love to do so much.
The only regret I have in choosing to ride a motorcycle is waiting too long to pursue my dream and have fun doing it. I wish I had more time on the motorcycle and am already dreaming of warmer days to come and our next outing at Circuit of The Americas with Ridesmart in March. Rider Education has saved me from many close calls on the street. The ability to practice at higher speeds on a race track makes legal street speeds easier to handle. Practicing movements and techniques speeds up your awareness and thinking so that when you are on the street your muscle memory allows you to do things under control. You no longer panic in situations but find yourself calmly dealing with obstacles like they were not there.
I may have started riding at an older age, and my son will probably grow up to be a way better motorcycle rider than me. I do plan on giving him hell and making him earn his bragging rights when his day comes to ride with me on the track! Until then dad will keep on practicing.