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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm a 23-year-old looking to start riding once my local MSF program starts up again in about six months. I have a few questions I'd like to ask experienced riders.

For a little background info, I don't have a car or driver's license but I have been behind the wheel enough to know that I don't like the overall feeling of doing it. I've been riding a bicycle eight miles a day, five days a week, hot or cold, rain or shine, for the past few years to get to work and back, and I'm thinking about motorcycles as a way to have much more freedom, with much less cost and anxiety about controlling two tons of metal.

With that in mind, here are my questions:

- What should I expect in terms of cost, for the bike itself (I find sport bikes more appealing), for the protective gear, for gas, and for insurance? I'm working on getting a second part-time job to cover it, and should have about $4000 saved up by the time I would complete the training classes.

- I've heard riding in the winter can be grueling, but I've already experienced a thirty-minute bike ride through weather that was twenty below. I'm used to dealing with cold. Obviously snow would still be a no-go, but what about just a really cold day? What effects do wind and rain have on riding?

- How well should I expect my experience on a bicycle to transfer over to a motorcycle? Are things like leaning into turns and braking going to function more or less the same?
 

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Very Famous Person
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I'll just respond to two items you've mentioned. First, why is it you don't like driving a car? If it's that you don't like traffic or the speed, then motorcycling is probably going to give you much more anxiety. Imagine riding your bicycle down the middle of the highway at 60 mph with cars all around you. That's what it's like on a motorcycle.

You must realize the importance of the anxiety or you will never manage the inherent dangers of motorcycling. It's true that you could learn to manage road riding, but it's a large step. Learning to control your bike in slow speed maneuvers in a parking lot, and highway practice on back roads are good ways to get more confident--if you are not too freaked out!

The main similarity between the bicycle and a motorcycle is the hand brake control for the front brake on the mc. While the balancing is the same, controlling the turning and moving is different.

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Hi, I'm a 23-year-old looking to start riding once my local MSF program starts up again in about six months. I have a few questions I'd like to ask experienced riders.

For a little background info, I don't have a car or driver's license but I have been behind the wheel enough to know that I don't like the overall feeling of doing it. I've been riding a bicycle eight miles a day, five days a week, hot or cold, rain or shine, for the past few years to get to work and back, and I'm thinking about motorcycles as a way to have much more freedom, with much less cost and anxiety about controlling two tons of metal.

With that in mind, here are my questions:

- What should I expect in terms of cost, for the bike itself (I find sport bikes more appealing), for the protective gear, for gas, and for insurance? I'm working on getting a second part-time job to cover it, and should have about $4000 saved up by the time I would complete the training classes.

- I've heard riding in the winter can be grueling, but I've already experienced a thirty-minute bike ride through weather that was twenty below. I'm used to dealing with cold. Obviously snow would still be a no-go, but what about just a really cold day? What effects do wind and rain have on riding?

- How well should I expect my experience on a bicycle to transfer over to a motorcycle? Are things like leaning into turns and braking going to function more or less the same?
I think $4000 would be plenty to get a decent bike as well as the other stuff. Keep in mind, sport bikes cost significantly more for both insurance and maintenance. My ZX9R costs me $40 a month, whereas my XV1000 costs me $10 a month for the same coverage. Newer crotch rockets will cost exponentially more.

- As for cold weather, I've ridden down to 10F, and while it is f***ing cold! it's doable if you have enough cold weather gear on. I ended up with frostbite on my hands, but my gloves weren't good enough for those temps (10F at 60mph feels something like -30F).

-A few weeks ago, I tried riding a bicycle for the first time in 10 years. I instinctively kept trying to ride it like I ride my motorcycles, and it just wasn't going well. So, in my opinion, not a whole lot transfers from one to the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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I'll just respond to two items you've mentioned. First, why is it you don't like driving a car? If it's that you don't like traffic or the speed, then motorcycling is probably going to give you much more anxiety. Imagine riding your bicycle down the middle of the highway at 60 mph with cars all around you. That's what it's like on a motorcycle.

You must realize the importance of the anxiety or you will never manage the inherent dangers of motorcycling. It's true that you could learn to manage road riding, but it's a large step. Learning to control your bike in slow speed maneuvers in a parking lot, and highway practice on back roads are good ways to get more confident--if you are not too freaked out!

The main similarity between the bicycle and a motorcycle is the hand brake control for the front brake on the mc. While the balancing is the same, controlling the turning and moving is different.

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It's not about the speed or traffic. It's about the complete lack of feeling, of knowing where the corners are. Those are what I don't like about driving. It feels like I'm in a giant boat that eventually responds to my command. I'd like something more responsive.
 

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23 and never got your license.
I'm with Ronk.
I think this goes deeper and you will not like the "lack of control" you get from the throttle.

Sugarcoat it all you want, but if you are not confident enough to drive a car, I do not want you on the roads on a motorcycle.
 

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Left. No, the other left.
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Keep saving the money, but wait until after you've taken the MSF course to commit yourself to anything. It will tell you whether you have control over a motorcycle, and more importantly, if you're comfortable on one.
 

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Nightfly
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I have to agree with RonK and goalie. You're from my neck of the woods and I'd rather not meet someone like you in my travels. Get yourself a beater car and learn to drive it on the highways and byways before thinking about handling a motorcycle. You scare the hell out of me...
 

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You know, being a motorcycle forum, we tend to look down on scooters (which is kind of a bad thing I think)...but I think a small scooter for you to start on may help you see if riding a bike would be good for you...a small 49cc scooter (most places you don't even need a license for under 50cc's) now of course with only a small 49cc scooter you are very restricted on where you can ride it.....but they can be found pretty cheap, and will give you a small indication of what you may experience on a motorcycle
 

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What kind of car was you trying to drive? I have to agree with you that some are huge and you just don't maneuver them the same as others. Have you looked at some of the very small electric cars or even an old VW Beatle?

A scooter like goliath suggests is also good. A scooter is just another motorcycle to me that is easier to mount as far as I'm concerned. Motorcyclists should not look down their nose at these riders because they are taking the same risks for the most part as they are. The only one a scooter doesn't quite get to is going 90 mph but some can do highway speeds too. They are the larger scooters is all.

Take the training course though. You may or may not like riding ANY two wheeled machine. I know one guy that wants desperately to ride with us on PGR missions. But he's taken the training class twice and failed both times. He's now saving up to buy a trike and take a trike specific training class. You might consider that as an option as well.

You may have to finally get honest with yourself though in the end. You may just have a mental block when it comes to driving. You don't just up and do it. You have too practice. And there is where you may have a problem. You have to practice with motorcycles, scooters or trikes as well.

I like how they let other motorist in some European countries know you are new to riding or driving with a big "Learner" license on the vehicle. I think it helps myself. People tend to steer wide of you but at some point you still have to get into the mix. Are you really really ready for that?
 

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Some things about riding a bicycle will transfer over to a motorcycle. There are a lot of new things to learn as well. The MSF course is the best way to get started.

Motorcycle insurance is cheap compared to auto insurance. Motorcycles get better fuel economy than cars as well. Maintenance costs will be about the same as a car.

Protective gear varies in price. You can buy good helmets and jackets for anywhere from under $100 on sale to several hundred dollars each. It really depends on how much you are willing to spend. You may want to set aside at least $400 and look for sales to get a good set of protective gear. Boots, jacket, gloves, helmet, overpants/chaps.

If you are riding in cold weather, you have to dress for it. Layers are important. Heated gear can keep you warmer, but that costs of course. If your commute will be fairly short you probably won't need heated gear.
 

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Although I applaud you for wanting to learn to ride. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Go for it!!! But, a car is so much easier to drive than a motorcycle and I'm afraid that you'll find its alot more than you bargained for. It took me a while to be comfortable driving a car. My biggest problem was solved when someone told me to look forward more than I was, looking farther down the road actually helps you control the car so much better. When I'm driving my big truck, I still have to use the old center line down the hood trick to know where my right tire is. And yesterday I had to suck down my pride and ask for help backing out of a tight parking spot. It looked like I was going to back into the car behind me, but I couldn't see that there was still a few inches to go, all I needed to make it.

Riding a motorcycle to me is so much different than riding a ten speed. I grew up on a ten speed. It was how kids got around in my day. I don't feel like it's the same as a motorcycle. The fun is the same, but the danger is alot higher.

My advice would be to use these few months of waiting for the course to open up to get more accustomed to driving a cage. You need to know what a car's limitations are so you can apply it to your defensive driving techniques on a motorcycle. Bikes stop quicker than most cars, so you need to know not to slam your brakes on in front of a big rig, cause he will run your buttinski over....
 

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You should find a driving instructor now and learn how to drive a car properly, and get your drivers license. The mental load of operating a motorcycle in traffic is 10 times that of driving a car. You need to learn and build your self-confidence.
As for riding in winter, it is absolutely no fun. You have to factor in wind chill, so the faster you go, the colder it gets...frostbite city, here you come. Add to that snow on the road, and your traction is reduced significantly, making winter riding a real risky proposition. If you hit ice, you likely will crash.
 

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I'll be the *******... YOU DO NOT BELONG ON A MOTORCYCLE. If you would like me to spell out the reasons for you, I'll be glad too. Or you could just read most of the above comments...
 

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So long
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23 is a good age to start riding. You won't know if it's for you until you give it a try. Here's some suggestions:

  • grow some facial hair
  • get some tats
  • avoid using big words
  • get a chain for your wallet
  • buy a used biker jacket with road grime and dead bugs on it
  • practice walking with a swagger
  • always say Babe or Sweetheart when talking to women
  • go down to your local Harley dealer and sign up for the Riding Academy New Rider Course. Sure there are cheaper alternatives, but don't you want to start off learning about accessories?
 

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23 is a good age to start riding. You won't know if it's for you until you give it a try. Here's some suggestions:

  • grow some facial hair
  • get some tats
  • avoid using big words
  • get a chain for your wallet
  • buy a used biker jacket with road grime and dead bugs on it
  • practice walking with a swagger
  • always say Babe or Sweetheart when talking to women
  • go down to your local Harley dealer and sign up for the Riding Academy New Rider Course. Sure there are cheaper alternatives, but don't you want to start off learning about accessories?
I sure hope you don't want us women growing facial hair........
 

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Good, cause I can accept just about everything else on the list, but I draw the line at having to keep the facial hair.....Bearded men, yes, the bearded lady? Nah, that's alright........


Just me trying to poke some humor in....it's hard to hear my sarcasm in print.......
 

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Nightfly
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:S
The "S" represents a joking smile and may also be short for "sarcastic." It is used to express sarcasm and may be used after a sarcastic or joking comment that should not be taken seriously.

:-7
Represents a tongue-in-check expression. Can be used after a sarcastic comment, since it can be hard to convey sarcasm in a text message.
 

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here's an alternative ... get a motor scooter first.

they come in a range of sizes and power ratings - there ought to be something that works for you. PLUS they are very handy for commuting into the town or city. you can always move to a motorcycle once you get a fair bit of riding experience with the scooter.

dT
 
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