We see you motoring by, thinking you're Valentino Rossi, or maybe Peter Fonda in Easy Rider.
But listen up. The way you ride makes you look like an idiot. In other words, experienced riders can tell in an instant if you're competent and in control of your machine...or if you're a newbie and/or an amateur.
So, unless you ARE an idiot, you'll want to check out our tips on what to avoid.
Top Ways Your Riding Makes You Look Like an Idiot
Pretending the street is the track
Ask any pro racer what they ride on the street, and quite often you'll get a response like "I don't ride on the street, that's too dangerous."
Why? because tracks are designed for safety. There's a runoff area on every corner, riders are all highly skilled and moving in the same direction, and there's an etiquette the riders have to follow.
Also, there aren't curbs, fire hydrants, or lamp posts (what the Isle of Man TT riders affectionately call "furniture") or distracted drivers on cell phones.
Riding like a racer on the street just puts you and others in unnecessary danger (and makes you look like an idiot). Instead, sign up for a track day.
Using only your rear brake
This one is aimed more at the cruiser crowd, but might apply to newer sport riders too. Specifically, when you come in for service and your rear brake pads are worn out and your fronts are fresh as a daisy, your mechanic will think you're an idiot. Why? Because most of your braking power comes from the front...and if you're not in the habit of using both brakes during regular riding, you won't use them when you have to make a panic stop.
For our California riders out there, you have the unique privilege of "filtering" between the cars when traffic is backed up (like literally much of the rest of the world can). But just because you can still move forward doesn't mean you should do so at 65 miles per hour.
Back in the late 1990s, the StarBoyz first published videos of them riding mile long wheelies on interstates whilst sitting on the gas tank with their legs draped over the bars. Since then, countless idiots have attempted to achieve similar internet glory of their own.
Unfortunately, these have led to (at best) embarrassing moments and at worst some pretty idiotic outcomes.
Riding in flip flops
Flip flops are for boats, not motorcycles. So are board shorts and t-shirts. While it may be tempting to feel the breeze on your knees, it's best to dress for the crash, not the ride. Long ago, there was a pretty provocative ad campaign where the surface of the road looked like a cheese grater.
Unless you're an idiot, you get the idea.
Riding sans helmet
"Let those who ride decide." No matter where you stand on that issue, we can safely say that if you don't decide to ride in a helmet, you're an idiot, We'd even go so far as to say the same about half and 3/4 helmets...since the famous Hurt Report showed pretty convincingly that many head impacts happen at the side of your face.
You Being an Idiot Makes Us All Look Like Idiots
The key takeaway here is that we need to stick together. When you do something stupid on a bike, non-riders make the assumption that all motorcyclists behave that way. And that makes it more difficult to get bike-friendly laws passed, and cities to provide motorcycle infrastructure like bike-only parking spots.
So do us all a favour and stop riding like an idiot.