I took my first ride way back in January. January 2nd, actually. It was a 10 minute ride around a parking lot and to the Home Depot. It was cold, damp and miserable out. But I loved every shivery second of it. I had been wanting a motorcycle for a long time, and never thought I would actually get one. I always had a reason not to get one. This year, to hell with it, I decided to finally pull the trigger. It has been a ride ever since – pun intended.
Since that first ride, I have put just short of 8000 miles. Nearly 1000 miles a month. I have the first major service scheduled in a couple weeks, and will be well past the 8000 mile mark. When I got the bike, I thought that 8000 mile service was more than a year away. Until I started riding regularly, that is. I ride ever chance I get, but there are a few things I have come to realize are not as much fun on a bike, and forgotten about in a car.
- Heat – Man, it is hard to deal with the heat without taking extreme measures. Especially with all the gear on for protection. Sure, the jacket and pants are vented, but that only works when in motion. And water intake increases tenfold, but so do the bathroom breaks. So, in the dead of summer, I have started riding early in the mornings on the weekends, and getting home before the hottest part of the day hits. Shorter rides, but still riding.
- Cold – In the opposite effect of the heat, the cold plays havoc as well. Especially on my hands and fingers. The rest of me I can layer the warmth in, but need to look at getting some heated gloves. I have also found out my limit for how cold I ride is 15 degrees, but there has to be no snow or ice or have just rained.
- Rain – I just don’t like being wet. Now, I have the gear to stay dry, and it works well (especially when one remembers to zip the pockets). But I still don’t like being pelted by the rain drops at speed.
- Insects – June bug in the throat at 55 mph will almost knock one off the saddle. And looking through a haze of green and yellow guts on the face shield is nasty, as is stopping to clean it every few miles (it seems). One big reason I got a full face helmet. Also makes me like riding in colder weather a lot more.
OK, so it isn’t a huge list, and there are ways around all of them, but they are new experiences for me as this is my first bike and first year riding. The list for the things I love about it would be too long to list here, but here are some of the big ones.
- Freedom – No, not like the Scots, but like the ability to go more and different places easily. To just pick up and ride off to roads unknown, or rediscover familiar roads. I have gotten on the bike and suddenly found myself half way across the state before even blinking.
- Seeing the country – going to new and different places I have never been. And not needing an excuse to go.
- New Friends – I have met some of the greatest people because of the motorcycle. It doesn’t matter what you ride, so long as you ride.
- New Experiences – From gatherings to races to swap meets to bike nights. Each offers a new experience and fun time.
- Wind – Some call it therapy, I call it exhilaration. Hearing and feeling the wind as you cut through it is something else. Nearly indescribable. It really ties into #1, freedom.
In final thoughts, I never thought getting a motorcycle would change my whole lifestyle, but it really has. And in a very good way. First thing, I am getting out of the house very often – as often as I can. Second, I have a new sphere of friends and experiences to draw upon and have fun with. Not that my old group is less valuable or fun. There is something to be said for changing out experiences and adding new activities as time passes to keep the mind sharp. Buying the bike when I did was probably the best thing I could have done. It was the best present I could have gotten myself. I look forward to the next 8000, 16000, 32000, 100000 miles. Bring it on!