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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

I'm René, 45 yo, Dutch, married only once and never again (still married and still happy :icon_cool:) and got my motorcycle license in 1996. I started to hire every month a motorcycle for a day or a weekend, just to maintain "the feeling" and to improve my riding skills. I did this for two years and "had" in that time 18 bikes, the first one was a Suzuki VX800 Highlander which was a very nice one. Choppers, sport bikes, some racers and some very expensive cruising bikes, nothing gave me the smile I got on the VX.

Meantime, in 1997 I joined a local MC and felt right at home, still do today. As a club we ride from March to October, each month a ride of 100-170 miles. Once per year a multi-day-event abroad in (mostly) Germany, and put an extra 600-1500 miles on the dial. Since 2002 I introduced the GPS-system into the club and since that year, I got the title GPS Guru. Advise on purchase, technical problems of even a complete course in learning to create ones routes, I enjoy helping others. When riding, I try to be an example in riding safe & sensible. Some members need constant attention... :wink:

In 1999 I bought a second hand VX800, maroon red, beautiful easy-going bike for short or longer journeys on low, moderate or higher cruising speeds.

In May 2005 I took an additional course to improve my riding skills even more, which emptied my wallet by 200 Euros but it was worth it, it made me a more confident rider once I knew that the limit of what a motorcycle is capable of, lies much further that my own limit, and this knowledge keeps me safe. Well, most of the time...
In September 2005 I had my first experience with asphalt in close-up. In short, I wanted to take over some cars and a truck and the oncoming traffic lane was all clear. The last car had the same idea and did not check his mirrors first, he just went where I was. My anti-collision reaction was the right one but due to some hardly visible fine sand, my front wheel lost grip and I thought "not good" and "My bike!" :icon_cool:. Sliding at 70 mph was my first and will hopefully be the last experience, and thanks to my full body protection clothing, only my knees were bruised. Yeah, and some of my ego.

In 2010 I decided that I needed something bigger and more powerful. The VX was a great bike but after almost 11 years, the 60 bhp were no longer sufficient. I knew already what I needed and wanted: a Yamaha FJR1300A, built in 2003. Twice the torque and almost triple the power, but handles with ease (even better that the VX). Now I still own this allrounder. Slow rides on narrow and twisty roads or 130+ mph long distance highway rides.

In the more recent years I had some bad luck with my former two employers (went both bankrupt) so I'm unemployed the last year and getting into a new job is not an easy task when you're 40 and over, despite having the right papers.
As the Dutch saying goes "Keeping our heads above the water line", last year I made the decision to sell my second biggest hobby (model railroading) so that gave some peace of mind for the mortgage.

These days I only ride once every one/two months to save some cash. Selling the bike is ofcourse never an option, only "over my dead body".

I hope someday to be able to make a grand tour through the USA. As I enjoy creating GPS-routes, right now I'm creating beautiful twisty and scenic routes for all states. I use mainly BaseCamp and Google Maps/Earth to search and check for start/finish and the paved roads. When I'm done I try to sell the packs (West, Central and East) to generate enough money for the grand tour. Don't know if this might work, but at least I can try.

Well... I initially thought to write a short intro about myself, but... Sorry guys & girls. On the other hand, you almost know everything about me there is to know. :)
 

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Female Rider
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Welcome to the Forum. Glad you survived that asphalt slide. Hopefully your luck will turn around and you will get to come on and ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all!

As I read elsewhere on this forum, getting ones motorcycle license is quite easy and cheap. And a Basic Course is not mandatory?

In most European countries, one must take lessons at a driving school (usually 15~20 one-hour classes as a minimal) and an official driving test. Sets you back a whopping 1200 Euros (1500 Dollars).
Here in The Netherlands, the government is really insane to state that riding a motorcycle is very dangerous and that most accidents happen due to the lack of knowledge. Therefore Dutch law requires that 3 separate tests must be accomplished: theory, general vehicle control and special operating skills. This will set you back 2000 Euros (2500 Dollars).
Also, when 18/19 yo, one can only get a A1-license for a light motorcycle of max 125cc (8ci) and 15bhp. When 20-23 yo, a A2-license can be obtained (max 47 bhp). Anyone older gets the full A-license and may ride any bike.
Though... The number of motorcycle accidents are not linked to the engine power whatsoever.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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It is impossible to to answer your question because each of the states have different regulations and requirements.

Generally it is a lot cheaper than Europe to get a motorcycle license. In some states the course is free, others there is a fee.

Depending on the state you can take a written test and get a learners permit. Once again depending on the state you can ride alone or in some you have to have a licensed driver over a certain age ridding behind you. When you feel you are ready you can take the test.

In Maryland were I am from you can do the above and get your license. The other option is to take the BRC from the state (cheapest) or from a licensed instruction facility. It consists of 6 hours classroom instruction and roughly 16 hours of riding instruction. The final part of the riding instruction is a proficiency test. If you pass that you can then take the written test. Pass both test and you get a certificate that you take to the motor vehicle center and you pay a fee and get a motorcycle endorsement.

Hope that helps but it is only 1 of 50 solutions depending on where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Critter,

Thank you, that was what I was hoping for.
That the regulations/requirements differs per state, I guess that's acceptable. Just imagine, your smallest state is probably larger than the whole of The Netherlands. :)
 

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Our smallest state is Rhode Island at 2,678 square kilometers. but the second most populated (101 per square km)

Netherlands is 41,543 sq km with a population of 407 per sq km. 500 if you remove the water mass.

Wikipedia is your friend :)
 

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Welcome from Pennsylvania.

Here the deal on licensing is that it's about as cheap and easy as possible. Get a permit (less than $50), this allows you to ride any size motorcycle, without supervision, to 'practice', about the only stipulation is that it's only during daylight hours..of course that's ignored anyway. Many people didn't even bother getting a license, just kept renewing permits every year, but now there is a limit on how many renewals one can have in a 3 years period so they are pushing people to actually get their license.

It's still TOO easy...the state supplies the basic riding course free, which is 2 evening classroom sessions and 2 1/2 days of riding on their little 250 bikes and you ride away with a full license at any age over 17, to ride anything, almost everyone passes. I think your system of training and graduated licensing is a lot better, the cost is a bit high but worth it, it would save a LOT of lives and bikes, there is no way a person can ride 2 days on a 250 and then buy a litre sportsbike on the way home and be ready to ride it.But people do, and they have problems.

Pennsylvania has some great, very varied scenery and roads, don't miss it if you ever get to ride here.
 

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I forgot.. Pennsylvania IS quite a bit bigger than the Netherlands..
Pennsylvania 119,281 km Netherlands 41,543
It's about a 5-6 hour ride from one side to the other the long dimension at highway speeds.

Hi Critter,

Thank you, that was what I was hoping for.
That the regulations/requirements differs per state, I guess that's acceptable. Just imagine, your smallest state is probably larger than the whole of The Netherlands. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Mike721,

Crossing my country (NW to SE, approx. 250km / 120mi) would not take much more than 3 hours on quiet days on the "interstates".

I would LOVE to get a chance riding the USA coast to coast and therefore I started some weeks ago by creating GPS Biker Routes in all states, just to scout your country. So far I've completed 11 states with a total of 117 round trips of 1 day each. When I'm done, I hope it can generate enough to finance such a trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just a "small" update on my project I'm working on since September.

It's quite a time consuming job and to be honest, I would be very happy and satisfied once all the routes in all 50 states are completed. It's like a "I hate it, I love it" thing.

So far the counter displays 459 routes in 46 states. Only MS, AL, GA and FL remain to be digitally explored the next two weeks.

I discovered many wonderful smaller roads which suprised me with it's beauty. I really can't say that I have a favorite state, it seems I love them all. Every one has it's charm which makes me even more enthousiastic about riding in the USA.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi all!

A lot has changed since my former message in February 2016. Yes, I finished all my plotted routes in the USA, in total 515 masterpieces. :thumbsup:

However, in April I was diagnosed with acute Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) :(. High doses of self-injected DMARDs and Corticosteroids are getting the inflammation under control (slowly). Unfortunately the acute RA triggered scars forming in both lungs which resulted in a lung capacity reduced to 52% and serious breathing problems. After some more tests, in September I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) :(:(. Special therapy strengthens the respiratory muscles which should improve the exchange of oxygen/carbon dioxide and makes daily activities somewhat easier.

To be able to enjoy riding the motorcycle as long as possible, I sold some stuff to generate some cash and swapped mid 2016 my 145bhp 630lbs Yamaha FJR1300 for a lighter and easier to handle 55bhp 500lbs HONDA NC750XD. It has a comfortable semi-automatic DCT gearbox and without a clutch lever and shift pedal, it's perfect to limit the joint pains. I improved handling, comfort and maintainance by changing the springs and tires, and by adding a Madstad screen, Pro-Oiler chain lubrication system, central stand, folding mirrors and radiator guard. Life ain't so bad after all... :cool:

So... You're all updated now.
 

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Glad to know you're still hanging around the motorcycle world. I hope you continue to get better.
 

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Good to hear from you and that you are managing to continue ridding.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys! Yes, I was very glad that Honda makes a relatively cheap priced bike with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which still gives me full control during ac-/decelerations instead of a CVT. Thanks to the two clutches, shifting up and down is done in a split second and because traction is never paused, shifting while flat cornering is no problem. I even dare to say that on twisty backroads I ride faster than I ever did on the much more powerful Yamaha.

Fuel consumption was/is never a point of interest, but the Honda is crazy fuel efficient also without holding back, 60mpg easy (Yamaha never more than 40mpg). There is a catch of course and that is top speed capability, where the Honda topped at 110mph, the Yamaha did 155mph in less time. Hardly an issue as the max speed limit is 80mph in Europe generally. Only quick take over's need a little more time than I was used to. No problems encoutered yet BTW.

I created a photo album with my bikes for anyone who's interested.

My current bike is in winter mode attached to life support aka battery conditioner. For insurance reasons I can't ride from December 15 to February 15, which is fine by me. I like riding from 50F upwards anyway, more buddies on the roads also :)

Should I not return here before the happy days to come...

Merry Christmas and Enjoy your Family & Friends!
 
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