- Life in The Fast Lane

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My Motorcycle Riding History

Please do not be discouraged by the amount of text below.
There is a bountiful amount of information contained within.

I'd have to start this section out not by talking about myself, but by talking about the individual who got me interested in riding around on two wheels, my father.

My father rode around as a kid on a little dirt bike. I am not that sure of the specifics as to what kind it was but from what I imagine, it was small. Nothing like today's traditional dirt bikes. He would take it through the woods and fields of Pennslyvania while growing up and as a young boy.

Fast forward to modern day and any adult male who stumbles into his mid-life crisis has to buy something cool or do something drastic. So why not do both in one swoop? Dad went out and bought a Honda Magna. He's practically obsessed with this make and model of bike. Before he was deployed to Korea, he had a 1997 Honda Magna. That was eventually sold and now he has two 1984 V65 Honda Magnas. One is in Arizona where he is at now and the other sits in the garage of his true home.

When we moved down to this state (Georgia). There was a requirement placed upon those who are working on getting their drivers license. You had to have your permit for a year and a day before you could get your car license. This restriction did not exist for a motorcycle permit and license. I do not know if it is still the same today.

Leave it up to good ol' Dad to find a loophole in the system! I went up to the DMV and took my written for both cars and motorcycles. Got my permit for both of them. The only restrictions I had with a learners permit for my motorcycle was that I could not drive at night time hours and that I was not allowed to carry a passenger. Those restrictions in my opinion are perfectly legit.

It wasn't much longer that Dad had encouraged me to go through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. It's a beginner's class to learning about motorcycles and you can also gain your motorcycle license through the program. The MSF is a national organization. The beginner's course consisted of half a day classroom instruction (friday evening) followed by two days of motorcycle parking lot exercises designed to take the absolute beginner and turn them into being qualified to go in circles in a parking lot. The cost was roughly $250.00 for in state (GA). I am not sure if I paid for it or if dad paid for it. Here is a little link to a video that was done by MSF regarding their basic safety course.

Anyway, to anyone who is interested in riding motorcycles, just starting out, or if you have not taken it yet, I would highly recommend taking the course.

Now, with all motorcycle stories, you will most likely hear that if you haven't gone down, you will. It's kinda the inevitable. Whether it's while learning how to ride your motorcycle or out on the road. I was on an uphill curve going away from my house at the time and took it too quickly, got too close to the edge of the road, and went off the road as it was gravel at that point and into a ditch. I had already hit maximum lean on my bike as I was dragging the pegs into the road. Off I went into the ditch. I not only hurt my pride but learned a valuable lesson. My bike, A 2001 Honda Rebel 250 was totalled and instead of being afraid, I got another bike. A '96 or '97 Kawasaki Vulcan 750. Which is a much bigger bike. After a while of riding around on this one from school and to work (I was still in high school) I sold it and got myself a truck. At that point in time I couldn't deal with the winters due to not having the gear.

Fast forward to June 2006, after having not been on a motorcycle for six years. I rationalized myself back into purchasing and riding around again. I decided to start small again and got another Honda Rebel. These bikes are AWESOME. They MSRP new for about $3,000.00 USD. I bough a 2001, with 3,004 miles on it, for a mere $1775.00. I spent about $500 or so on gear and accessories for the bike.

I am a big fan of ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). You will not catch me out on my motorcycle wearing flip flops, shorts, and a t-shirt. It's helmet, leather jacket, jeans or leather chaps over my jeans, and my joe rocket boots or military combat boots on. I also think it's foolish that some states allow riders to chose to wear a helmet or not. If you've got a cheap head, get a cheap helmet or wear no helmet at all.

Since my motorcycle purchase, I have ridden my motorcycle as much as I possibly can. I am probably in the small percentage of motorcycle riders and when I say that, I mean simply that I ride in all weather. I have rain gear, it gets used. My bike goes out every day, not just the weekends like so many road warriors. I am typing this up now with 10,999 miles on my bike. When I take it to the university tomorrow morning, I will hit 11,000 mi. I'm averaging about 1,000mi a month on my bike. That's pretty much all commuting. No special road trips.

A lot of people ask me why I got a bike. Let me share a bit of my rationalization with you. My (used to be) primary vehicle is a 2005 white Ford Ranger. With a v6, mp3 player and air conditioning, it is a nice ride. However, it's also a very expensive one for me to insure. I have seven speeding tickets to my name. However, I am now one year free of a speeding ticket and I hope to avoid acquiring anymore. I will not say I have 100% tamed the speed demon inside of me, but let's just say he comes out every once in a blue moon.

Now, full coverage on my truck was $266/mo full coverage insurance. It also gets 20 mpg highway and 18 mpg city. Compared that to dropping it down to liability which is $76 bucks a month and hardly taking it out (It sits on the side of the road). My motorcycle insurance at 23 years of age, with a 250 cc motorcycle, is a mere $190.......a year. Gas mileage is like night and day. While gas prices rise and SUV owners cry, I am merely laughing on the inside every time I pull into a gas station. $2.43/gal? That's not a big deal for my 2.6 gal tank. I am getting 70mpg, some riders with my make/model report almost up to 80mpg. Am I saving money? Ab-so-lute-ly!

A few weeks ago, I got into what is called Video Logging. It's a lot like blogging except you do it via video and you talk. Some vloggers do it in front of a white screen that never changes. Others, like mordeth13 and 88hawaii and now myself, we do it all while riding around on our motorcycles. Check out youtube sometime if you are interested in watching people ride around. You can also click my videos link on the left hand side to see what I've got uploaded. The collection is growing.

I'll update this as time continues and the future becomes history.

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