Recently a friend ask if he should consider purchasing a motorcycle… It is my firm belief that once we reach the age of adult, we must make our own decisions. If someone summarily tells you no or yes than you have given that responsibility over to someone else hence you are not really acting as an adult now are you? Having said that, I shared my decision making process with him and a few others. Because it is germane for today I thought that I would share it with you as well. Why is it salient for this day and time, people often rationalize getting one because of the gas prices. So, this is my take on this topic…
There was a time that I wanted a motorcycle. My father, who had lost his best friend on a motorcycle; VETOED my decision,. Without incurring any more wrath on the subject; I decided I would wait until I moved out, and get it then.
When you move out of the house a few things happen. You have less time for folly, and you have less disposable income. The motorcycle took a back seat as eating and keeping a roof over my head, and keeping my cars running took priority.
Cars back in the 70’s were not like cars today. Older cars took regular messing with to keep them running. Between points and plugs and oil and hoses and the list could go on, today’s cars are much better than they were.
About that time I transferred to Houston where I worked in the Texas Medical Center. While there I saw many different types of things including folks rushed to the ER for different reasons. The majority of the more gruesome reasons were the results of “motorcycle accidents.” When human flesh comes into contact with anything at 60 odd miles and hour, there is little left for the doctors to do but pronounce “TOD” or time of death.
Missing knees from accidents were another frequent cause of visits to ER. That was a long time ago and I had all but forgotten those reasons and truthfully, I would really like to have forgotten all of those memories as there were more that went to the morgue than the operating table.
Commercials on TV, billboards and magazine ads try to get you interested in some sort of motorcycle like the CAN AM, Harley or pick your poison. They in fact glorify it in such a way that it appeals to your sense of adventure vs. your common sense. I mentioned to one of my motorcycle riding friends how I would like to get one, it looked fun. My friend who rides daily told me flat out, “no, you really don’t!” What a good friend…
He worked for me for some time and would ride to work most days, even when it was crappy outside, he enjoyed it that much. Why would someone ride to work in the rain, cold rain at that?
I think it is “habit-forming” much like smoking, once you get it into your system, you really can’t give it up easily. How can I make the claim that it is habit forming? Easy….
When you do something exhilarating what happens? Adrenaline is released into your blood stream and you what? You feel good! It is all about chemicals. Your body is a cornucopia of hormones and chemicals and different things cause different types of them to be released. That is why drugs are so addictive; not only are you putting chemicals into your body but, your body releases “feel good” stuff as well, so it is like a double dose! Why do you think people “cut themselves?” The body releases endorphins, which are to counteract the pain but, they make you “feel good.” This stuff is addicting and that is how I think riding a motorcycle, or flying a jet at Mach1, or even riding a roller coaster can be addictive.
Bottom line here is that you are an adult, when you move out of the house; you can do what you can afford. To quote one of my favorite all time celebrities… “Do you feel lucky?”
Unfortunately It has less to do with your skill level than it has to do the other eggheads around you. You know the kind; the kind that are texting while driving. It maybe the kind that are screwing around with some sort of radio; while driving. I was hit once by a women who was turned around while driving, slapping her child! They are some how more adept at messing with something while driving than the other guy, until they run over something or someone. Driving requires all of your attention, not just some small part of it.
I used to think, I will just wait until I can move out into the country where there are less people and than I will get some sort of motorcycle. Sounds good right? Nice two lane road, no one around but you and the open road and fields… That too was shattered as well; a friend of mine was riding home after an event which he took part in. There he was in a “perfect” environment, nobody around, clear day and so forth. Everything was good until, yep, farmer Joe pulled out right in front of him. He was doing 60 at the point of impact, killed instantly. The bike was unrecognizable. I went to his funeral. He left a wife and children, siblings, friends and a church family behind.
By the way, I did end up with two motorcycles. Someone could not pay me for the computer services rendered so they offered me two motorcycles as payment. One was a Suzuki dirt bike, yellow; kind of cool looking and the other was a Green Honda 700 street bike; huge heavy thing. I had never ridden or taken lessons so they simply sat on the back porch until I was going to decide what to do with them, learn to ride, or get rid of them.
I decided to move them away from the center of the back door so I could still see into the back yard when my decision was made. Knowing nothing about them, I moved the dirt bike first, no problem, it moved much like a bicycle. The Honda was a different story. I stood beside it, pushed on it to get it centered on its wheels as I had with the dirt bike to then move it forward and guess what happened? It did not stop moving as I got perpendicular to the ground; as it is very top heavy. Bottom line, it went over on its other side with me on top of it trying to stop it! I got hurt on the damned thing without ever riding it an inch! Lesson learned, sit on it and use your legs to keep it centered while moving it. That however was enough for me, I sold them and that was it. Never rode either of them and, I am still around to tell that story.
All through my life there have been subtle reminders, why it is not a good idea, but maybe your “luck” might be different. Hope this helps in the decision process for you or at the very least; maybe someone else who is also contemplating a bike. Here is the thing; no one can make the decision for you. No-One! You are the adult, you have to make the decision; it is your responsibility, it comes with the territory.