RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Motorcycle riding makes you a different person. Alright, maybe not on every aspect. You won’t get taller, you won’t spontaneously get curly hair and you’re hair won’t turn blonde. But still, you notice a change. Doors open, you develop different habits and you worry about different things. Or you start to worry much less.
That magical license to ride a motorcycle is more than just a license. It gives more colour to your world, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. When you’ve been in the saddle for quite some time, you start to forget these things. It becomes normal. Let us do you the honor of reminding you of your life before motorcycles. We take you on a tour through 10 things you didn’t know or do before you started to ride a motorcycle.
As soon as you’ve got that license to ride a motorcycle in the pocket, you become a free bird. You can go where ever you want to. Where your car can’t go, your motorcycle will. You might have driven the same route over and over again. You used the car to get to work as quickly as you could and drove straight home when you were done. Or maybe you’ve travelled the same route by train. Then flexibility is a lost cause. Motorcycling makes commuting and traveling a whole different story. You discover new routes with beautiful twisty roads and end up in the most beautiful villages.
You park your motorcycle on a square or terras, you hop off and take your gloves off. With your helmet still on your head, you hear some mumbling. You’re searching for the source and see an older man (or woman!) standing next to you. “I’m sorry, what’s that?” you say politely and a bit too loud.
You take off your helment and smile. “How many CC is that?” repeats the friendly pensioner. Your grin gets a bit bigger. As motorcycle riders, we all meet these lovely people sometime. The old dogs who enjoyed the same hobby when they were younger. And still do, secretly. The innocent question opens up a conversation in which they can share their adventures on their bikes when they were younger. Are these conversations convenient? Not always. But still, we can’t help but enjoy them to the fullest.
Did you ever drive your car or ride a scooter for fun? To chase mile after mile without a destination or without a certain purpose? Maybe only if you are a fanatic car lover or a die hard driver of a convertible. But most of us didn’t. It all changes when you start to ride a motorcycle. You start to chase roads and miles for fun. Suddenly, a detour is fun. Every ride is a new adventure. Did you spent all day behind the wheel for work? Even then the miles on a motorcycle are big fun after work.
Driving a car is less fun. For most, at least. Maybe four wheels still give you goosebumps. We fully get that. But during the standard trips you suddenly notice the limitations of a car. When going by car, you can’t cruise through a traffic jam like you can on a motorcycle. You’ve got less oversight too.
And many fellow road users aren’t that quick with decision making. Where you’ve long decided where you will stand in front of the traffic light after the next roundabout, the motorist in front of you still doubts in which gear he or she will tackle that roundabout. He or she probably doesn’t ride a bike. You sigh three times and count ‘till ten. Your advantage? Motorcycle riding teaches you to look ahead and to be prepared when mother hen crosses the road, drivers will hit the brakes and the one in front of you still got her of his eyes on the phone.
Previously, you spent your spare time at the bar, in the shopping mall or at your friends having a beer. But suddenly, your spare time is spent differently. You hop onto that motorcycle. That cold beer or that new pair of pants will come later. First, we ride. As soon as the roads are dry or the sun shows up, we put that horsepower to work. We start the bikes and the adventure begins. There aren’t enough hours in a day, certainly not when you start to ride a motorcycle.
An empty road. No other road users in sight. The temptation is real and not unfamiliar to many of us. Especially when your motorcycle has a lot of trampling ponies inside that engine. Let’s twist that throttle. When you’ve just got your motorcycle license, that temptation seems to haunt you. And we give in, quite often. For some, that never changes. And we get that..
But for many other riders, that temptation loses its charm. Whether you drive your car or ride your bike, a boundary is easily crossed and an innocent traffic offense is quickly made. But you start to look at that license in a different way. You notice you relax a bit as a motorcycle rider. The one a bit more than the other. The joy of riding your bike means a lot to you. Due to that, your license does too.
The risk of losing your license weighs heavier that the joy of giving in to the temptation. Do we never twist that throttle again? No.. We still do. ‘Cause that thrill of giving in to that temptation is addictive somehow. But we think it through a bit more, about when and where we do it.
A piece of tarmac, a few white lines and a guardrail here and there. It isn’t that exciting at all when you drive your car. As long as you stay between those lines, you’re good. But as soon as you start to ride a motorcycle, your perspective changes. Those white lines are less innocent as they appear. Manhole covers are pure evil and road marks are treacherous as soon as rain starts to fall.
Besides this misery of which you had no knowledge before you started to ride a motorcycle, there are also a few good things which should be mentioned. The road seems much wider when you ride your bike. And there’s no need anymore to ride in the middle of the road. In fact, we stimulate you to use the full road. You want to be seen, after all.
A judgement is quickly made. We’ve probably all experienced that in one way or another. But when you start to ride a bike, a judgement seem to be made even quicker. Especially non-motorcyclists can form one in no-time.
Because motorcyclists are ‘looking for danger’. Strangers see you as some sort of rebel of mark you as an outlaw or adrenaline junky. One is bothered by it, the other doesn’t lose sleep over it. No matter what; don’t stress. What ever people say, you are adopted in the warm, happy family of motorcyclists. And we love you.
Your piggy bank can’t get any fatter. After hours of searching on the web and countless cups of coffee in cute motorshops later, there she stands. You step into the shop with your piggy bank in hand and you throw it willingly onto the counter. A bit later, she stands in your garage (or perhaps even in your living room).
After meeting other riders and riding many miles on your new love you realize there are lots of beautiful accessories that would make your beloved bike even prettier. Or nicer to ride. When you’ve spent your last savings on those accessories, you stumble upon a nice motorcycle helmet that would look great on you. And didn’t you just clean out that closet where you could store it safely? That’s how you find out.. That wallet is never big enough and there is never enough money in the bank.
You are part of the motorcycle community as soon as you get that license. And as a motorcycle rider, you greet each other. Two fingers, pointed outwards in a slightly nonchalant way. A humble yet friendly raised finger or a wave full of enthusiasm. No matter how you do it, the ‘biker wave’ is a thing.
Riding your motorcycle through winter time? Then this greeting gives a heart-warming feeling. Like “Hey, fellow idiot. You’re a hero for doing this too”. Are you a true fair weather rider? (no shame at all!). Then you better prepare yourself for a sore arm from waving to other riders.
Your motorcycle. That magical machine. It almost becomes part of the family. Maybe not for everyone, but many riders know what we’re talking about. That love for your bike. When you start taking lessons to ride a motorcycle, you start to look around. You probably automatically got some sort of preference for a specific motorcycle or model.
After weeks or months of searching, you find her. It’s love at first sights. You make a test ride and get off that bike with smile from ear to ear. You take her home. The more miles you ride, the closer the love between you and your bike gets. And over time, that moment arrives. That moment, when you are ready for a new adventure and you have to make a choice. Does your old love stay? Or does she go and make way for a younger, newer or completely different love? We all hit that crossroad at some point.
Your life before you started to ride looks different. Not completely, but just enough to make a difference. You develop new skills that make you a better road user in general. The impatience you might develop when driving a car is no big deal. There’s no blame in that.
There are so many other things you will discover when you start riding that motorcycle. A whole new world opens up, which most of us never expected on forehand. And you meet so many new, wonderful people. Those 10 things you didn’t know or do before you started to ride make motorcycling a magical and heart-warming thing.