10 Reasons to Put the Brakes on Learning to Ride a Motorcycle
Think carefully before you sign up for a rider training course. Motorcycle riding is not for everyone.
Everyone has an adventure gene that fuels a dream or passion. It may be buried, tucked away or dormant, but everyone has something that sparks his or her spirit. You know what it is when you discover it.
Riding carries risks. Anyone thinking of getting into the sport needs to accept that. There’s too much at stake for someone who doesn’t want to be in the saddle to be there. Inevitably, they don’t enjoy it and will jeopardize their own safety and that of others when they do ride. Having said that, it’s always a possibility that a person will learn to ride for one of the reasons below and find they LOVE it. Those people experience a radical transformation.
I’ve heard all of these reasons from students and others, about why someone should learn to ride. If they’re why you have enrolled and they go against your inner guide, think carefully before proceeding.
- As a passenger, you’ll know what to do if anything happens to the rider during your trip. There are so many reasons this is ridiculous but I’ve heard it time and again.
- Someone else (parent/spouse/child/friend) wants you to ride. If you don’t want to ride, don’t. You’re putting yourself, and others, in jeopardy.
- You look cool/hot on a big bike. That’s very nice (and true in many cases) but there’s more to it than that. Riding a bike that’s beyond your skill level is inviting disaster.
- All your friends/family are doing it. Let them. Do what interests you. This is however one of the ways that a number of women have found a new sport they can enjoy with their whole family.
- It will impress your friends and co-workers. What impresses people is someone who’s confident and self-assured, doing what they know is right for them.
- You have a brand new motorcycle sitting in the garage waiting for you. This is related to previous points. You may have received a motorcycle as a gift or it was the result of an impulse buy and now you feel you have to follow through. If you’re feeling like it’s not time to learn to ride, it’s better to take the hit and send the bike back than to take a hit on the pavement.
- Your partner lost his/her license and now wants you to ride him/her around. I actually heard this from a couple in the course.
- So you can say “Been there. Done that!” Motorcycling is something to be taken seriously. There’s too much at stake not to. Sure it’s lots of fun, but it also requires skill, discipline and focus—and practice to develop your skills. If you’re not prepared to do that, then take the course, pass the test and stay off the road. I’ve seen students do just that. All they want to prove is that they can do it, and they’re happy to never ride again.
And two more reasons why riding may not be for you….yet.
- Cost. The major considerations are the purchase price of your bike, maintenance, insurance and good quality gear.
- Inadequate time and other resources. You don’t have time to ride or a place to keep your bike. Proficient riding requires regular practice to keep your skills sharp. Motorcycles require good care for longevity and performance, which always relates back to safety. Over and above enjoying the ride, it boils down to safety.
Getting into riding, or any adventure activity before you’re ready, can diminish the experience for you. Wait until you can genuinely embrace it. Only then will you experience the joy, exhilaration and confidence that comes from fueling the desire that is authentically yours.
But Liz—-most of the 10 reasons not to learn to ride are rational, or at least logical. Riding a motorcycle is rarely a rational decision. Emotion and desire will outweigh logic almost every time. This came up to me last year, just after I purchased a new Goldwing with an extended warranty. I’m 65. The extended warranty will expire when I’m 72 and the Goldwing is almost certain to have years of life after that. Was it a rational act? Not likely. You are correct, of course. Riding is serious business.
Hi Jay – Love it! It’s the right bike for you for now. Why would you NOT get it? How do we know we’re going to outlast the bike’s warranty?
Everyone has their own reasons for riding, or for choosing the bike they do. My point was that it needs to be right for you. There’s too much at stake to base it on the wrong reasons.
Wishing you many, many miles of wonderful memories! Safe travels.