Every spring, you get that itch.
You know the one. It's the itch that makes you peek at motorcycle magazines when you should be buried in a spreadsheet. It's the itch that inspires you to take the long way home from work so you can kick a couple tires at the local bike shop.
But tire kicking is as far as you're gonna get because motorcycle riding isn't for you. You know it's true.
In fact, you've probably listed all the reasons why owning a motorcycle is a bad idea. We're guessing they go something like this...
You Enjoy Wasting Money on Gas
It's fun for you to spend extra at the pump so you can drive around in a 4,000 lb. box hauling mostly air. It's even better when gas prices spike in the summer and a tank of fuel costs half a day's pay.
Being Outdoors Bums You Out
When the sun is shining and the warm breeze is blowing, you prefer to be cooped up inside of a rolling greenhouse listening to a morning DJ crack dumb jokes. Why be outside when you can be breathing stale, recirculated air?
You Prefer to Remain Anonymous
We get it, you like to blend in and not be noticed by the hottie in the convertible. Who needs admiring glances anyway?
Going Slow is More Fun
You derive entertainment from piloting something that accelerates, turns, and stops in a fashion more akin to a tugboat. Your boat on wheels is even more fun on a twisty backroad.
Dreams Are Meant to Die
Sure, you've dreamt of owning a motorcycle since you were a kid. But if your dream actually comes true, what would you have left to dream about after that? It's better to keep your fantasies as fantasies, even if they are completely, 100% attainable. Experiencing joy is overrated, anyway.
You Don't Like Making Friends
Staying at home alone binge-watching TV shows about zombies is way better than hooking up with like-minded, fun-loving people. You know, the type of people who want to cruise to a cool BBQ place miles from home, or participate in the Toys for Tots ride, or do a poker run for charity, or motor out to the flat track races. Coming together over a shared interest isn't a good use of time, right?
You're More Comfortable in Khakis and a Button Down Shirt
You really don't think you can pull off a leather jacket, jeans, and a pair of ass-kicking boots. You'll stick with your loafers and teal polo.
You Prefer Your Passenger Doesn't Touch You When You're Driving
When you pick up your date, you want that person sitting next to you, with a good five to ten inches of separation. Having your date slide up from behind and grab onto your hips would be no fun at all.
Rock Star Parking is Only for Rock Stars
You don't deserve to roll up to your favourite restaurant and glide into a spot right out front. You'd rather circle the block four or five times until a sufficiently large spot for your minivan opens up.
You Don't Want to Be Happy
You pattern your life after the "Nihilists" in the movie The Big Lebowski. In other words, you believe in nothing...let alone believe in getting what you want or attaining happiness. Life is about suffering, and suffering means cramming yourself into a subcompact. It certainly doesn't mean ripping through town on a moving sculpture made of gleaming chrome, or carving a canyon road on what is essentially a miniature Formula 1 engine with two wheels attached. That would just be no fun at all!
So keep kicking those tires. A motorcycle definitely isn't for you...or is it?
Truth be told, if you've got the motorcycle itch, it's not going away anytime soon. And honestly, if you pull the trigger on a bike, we're pretty sure you're not going to regret it.
The important thing is to do it right. So what does that mean?
Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course
Visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and learn about the course schedule near you. It's a great way to "try before you buy" because they supply the bikes, as well as the training. On the off chance you're not into motorcycling, all you're out is a few bucks and a weekend. If you discover you totally love it (which we suspect you will), you can venture out into the streets equipped with valuable training, experience, and knowledge. You'll also leave the class with almost all the prerequisites needed to obtain your motorcycle license, fast-tracking the process when you get to the DMV.
Talk to Some Actual Riders
The sales guy at the bike shop is certainly an excellent source of information, but everything he or she tells you will at some level be with the intent to sell you a bike. A current motorcycle owner can (without ulterior motives) help you set some expectations in terms of maintenance, cost of equipment, best routes to ride, and ways to hook up with other riders.
Test Ride a Variety of Bikes
Once you've taken the MSF course and gotten your motorcycle license, try out some different types of bikes. Sure, you've always thought "crotch rockets" were cool, or maybe had your heart set on a cruiser, but until you ride one, you won't know if it will fit your needs. If you test ride, there's a decent chance what you wind up buying will be different than what you had in your mind, and you'll wind up happier with your bike s a result.
Start Out Cautiously
Trust us on this, when you're sitting at a stoplight on a motorcycle, there will be no shortage of people yelling out of car windows, trying to talk you into doing a wheelie or to show them "what it can do." Resist the urge. Take it easy, especially in the first year, so you can get a feel for the bike, as well as the flow of car traffic. If you want to go fast, invest in a track riding course like the California Superbike School or the American Supercamp.
There you have it. Motorcycle riding probably is for you.
So stop kicking tires already.