Motorcycling comes with it many stereotypes. Hoodlums and white trash riding their noisy bikes dangerously through the city and highways, polluting and disrupting the community. I get it. But you should know there is a whole culture of riders who hate those stereotypical bikers, probably more than any car driver does. Because it is those bikers that make motorcycling unsafe for everyone and make the legal system regarding motorcycling accidents unjust.
Riding is a Social Good
However, when approached with the right mindset, motorcycling benefits everyone. Riding is a social good (see third article under “2013 Catalog Sidebars”). The gas mileage achieved is much better for the environment than a car, as I discussed in my post on getting 80 mpg. Even bikes with “bad” mileage get in the 30-40 range. I really encourage you to read the full article about why motorcycling is a social good and what needs to be done to get more people riding. Andy Goldfine is a genius.
Interested in getting involved? Curious as to why I am passionate about promoting something I can’t even legally do (two summers – that’s my goal; I would like to get my permit next summer and have my license in two years)? Once you become part of the community (and it is an amazing community – do you wave at every car you pass, the way motorcyclists wave to each other on the road?), you will understand. Now, this can’t just be a whim. It’s not “oh, I feel like riding a motorcycle today.” This should be approached the same way getting your driver’s license was:
- Buy full gear (full-face helmet, jacket, gloves, boots with ankle support, always wear at least jeans for pants)
- Get your permit
- Take a safety course
- Get your license (many safety courses waive the road test for your license – if you complete the course, that counts as the test)
- Always ride safely
- Take more safety courses
- Have a good time!
When you are prepared to do all of the above, that is when you are prepared to get a good bike that can actually provide you with the mileage you want (some motorcycles are only in the 30-40 mpg range). Do research thoroughly, as you would with a car. Learn how to properly care for (including winterizing) your motorcycle.
But I do encourage you do look into motorcycles. I really do. It may seem like a lot. It may seem scary (although, for me, a lot of the scary things, like a lack of supportive legislation, just make me angry). But motorcycling really is a social good that will help the environment, save you money, and provide you with an enjoyable pastime and a great community of other riders. For more tips on getting started, the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) is a great resource.
Do you ride a motorcycle? If not, have you ever considered learning how? What keeps you from doing so? I would love to hear from you!