Sharing the joys and thrills of being on a motorbike
Most of us know what we know and, to a certain extent, expect that what’s obvious to us is obvious to others. There are exceptions of course – if you work in banking or international espionage you’ll know what we mean – but motorcyclists are as guilty of keeping open secrets as anyone else. We’ve decided to let you in on a few of our favourites…
1) Riding a Motorcycle is a little bit like flying
Not the mass transit kind of flying, where we spend 40 minutes getting through the security gate and being treated like a criminal for attempting to bring toothpaste on holiday. This is the being able to lift yourself above the daily grind and soar like a bird type of flying. The sensation is one of almost complete freedom. Remember that little wizard movie where the kids were learning to ride their broomsticks? Exactly the same emotional experience as riding a GSX R-1000.
2) Despite what some people would like you to believe, Motorcycling IS dangerous
There is no point in beating about the bush: Riding a motorcycle involves a certain amount of risk and danger that our car driving compatriots rarely have to take into account. This isn’t anything close to a reasonable excuse to avoid two wheels. Indeed, it’s a call to action all of its own. In a time when western society is being subjected to all sorts of rules and regulations, cars are fitted with warning chimes which persist in gonging until we fasten our seatbelts, and some of us need to take a safety course before going to work, a bit of danger is not only to be appreciated, it’s beautiful. And that’s just one of the reasons why riding a motorcycle is so good.
3) The vast majority of motorcyclists are law abiding citizens
That’s in spite of all the leather and chrome, loud pipes and speeding. After a huge brawl involving several motorcycle clubs at a Californian 4th of July celebration way back in 1947, the American Motorcycle Association was left to explain that 99% of us were perfectly well-behaved and contributed meaningfully to society. The other 1% were, we were told, nothing but outlaws. A new kind of club was formed, termed ‘one percenters’ and some of the clubs such as the Hell’s Angels and Banditos have impressively powerful global networks. The movie, ‘The Wild One’, cemented the impression that we were all no good. Then again, paying your taxes, raising a family, going to work and raising money for charity were never going to make as good a story as the rape, pillage and burn narrative would. Just remember, regardless of what you see on TV, the next time a noisy motorcyclist passes you, he or she is 99 times more likely to be a short order cook than a meth cook.
4) Motorcyclists are better at driving cars than the average car driver will ever be
The two wheeled amongst us need to give a lot of attention to a whole range of factors that try to undo us on a daily basis – the changing road surface, fellow road users and MP3-listening jay walkers to name just a few. A survey by Carole Nash, a large motorcycle insurance brokerage in the UK, found that the road awareness skills that allow riders to do what they do are transferred to their approach to driving cars. Quite simply, all that care and consideration for ourselves and others when riding a bike makes for a vastly safer car driver as those learned habits manifest themselves on four wheels as well as two. See that guy driving the Audi while talking on his cell phone? He’s not a motorcyclist…
5) Riding a bike is like being a star
In his rather excellent collection of travel stories, UK writer Dan Walsh describes driving a car somewhere new as being rather like watching a brilliant movie for the first time. Everything is new. Some elements are fun, some terrifying. There’s a big world out there and a lot to be seen. He elaborates, telling us that riding a bike somewhere new for the first time is like starring in the movie. Every motorcyclist is the centre of what he or she is riding through. There is no finer way to travel across this wonderful planet of ours. Motorcyclists are players, not spectators…
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